The 2008 Nissan Versa scores surprisingly well in both National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests.
The government's testing agency, the NHTSA, subjected the 2008 Nissan Versa to its full battery of tests and, in the end, awarded four out of a possible five stars to the Versa in every category. Those categories included front impact protection and side impact protection, for both the passenger and driver sides. The IIHS, meanwhile, rates the Nissan Versa even higher, bestowing its highest rating of "good" in both frontal offset and side impact tests. The ratings from these agencies apply to both the sedan and hatchback versions of Nissan's 2008 Versa.
While the crash-test ratings are commendable on the Nissan Versa, some of Nissan's decisions regarding safety features are questioned by reviewers. Edmunds writes that "the 2008 Nissan Versa comes standard with front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a tire-pressure monitor," but it's the conspicuously absent standard features that draw criticism. Cars.com writes that "antilock brakes are optional, but an electronic stability system is not" offered at all on the Nissan's 2008 Versa. Both of these are disappointing, with Mother Proof chiming in that, as far as ABS is concerned, "for the $250 it costs to add it, couldn't Nissan have just made it standard?" In terms of the absent stability system, Cars.com says that since "the government will require it be standard in all models by 2009," they would "like to see automakers add it to even their most affordable models now."
One characteristic that aids safety in the 2008 Nissan Versa is driver visibility, which ConsumerGuide writes is "good in all directions." Mother Proof adds that perhaps their "favorite feature on the Versa was the small triangular windows up front where the front doors and windshield intersect," as they "help visibility a lot."