Nissan Versa Cold Weather & Snow Driving

robandjeannerobandjeanne Member Posts: 19
How do we get world wide information on how well the Versa or Tiida handles in snow? Some small station wagons like the Toyota Matrix are reported to be horrible in the snow, with owners having to change to the absolute best winter tires for adequate traction.


  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    I find it hard to believe the Matrix is horrible in snow. My much lighter Corolla wagon was amazing in the snow.
  • robandjeannerobandjeanne Member Posts: 19
    I know! This is what many Matrix owners reported on the Yahoo groups message board. I also have heard that Corollas are pretty good in the snow. It's scary to think that a seemingly minor change to the Corolla to turn it into a Matrix would mess up the traction so badly.
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    The stock tires might have something to do with lousey snow performance.

  • smartsallysmartsally Member Posts: 9
    I'll be getting my Versa SL in the Dealer's next shipment. I will have to wait at least 3, 4, or more weeks. This is my first Nissan product and I am starting to think about winter. I had looked at the Matrix and liked the idea of the additional rear heat vents but kept being drawn back to the Versa. Just thought the Versa looked like a more comfortable ride and loved the steering wheel audio controls and intelli key features. I'm live in ND and winters can be brutal. Does anyone have any idea how the Versa will handle the cold? I drive a Grand Prix. On colder winter days I can start the engine, leave it running for 1/2 hour and it still takes 5 or more miles of driving before I get real heat from the engine. I also would have like ABS brakes but my dealer told me that if I wanted to order a Versa, it could take 3-4 months before I would receive it.
  • doromachidoromachi Member Posts: 21
    Winter will make a difference but so far the heater begins to blow warm air before the blue light to indicate the motor temp. Afterward it blows extremely hot air. I have a thermometer in one vent and the air was at 145 degrees. I think you will find that the temp will rise faster than the vehicle you mentioned above. Will have to wait until the really cold day to verify that.

    I'm guessing that 5 minutes of running will have very hot air blowing. Hope so as you will be more satisfied with it.
  • smartsallysmartsally Member Posts: 9
    I'd like to know the answer to that question also.
  • 74apollo74apollo Member Posts: 22
    I live in Minnesota and had a Versa SL with ABS brakes on order for two months. Last week I was told by my dealer that Nissan isn't building the SL right now - with or w/o ABS brakes. They refunded my deposit and pulled my order out of their system. After checking with the Nissan hotline, I was told the same thing. I'm curious as to whether you will really get yours or not. In what state do you live?
  • versa07versa07 Member Posts: 8
    I've had my Versa for about a month now. I hate the tires. It seems as if they don't stick to the road and they have a tendency to slide. I had Coopers on my Altima and I never worried about driving in the snow. Now that I have the Versa and I'm reading it may be bad in the snow, I'm a bit worried. So I'm going to spend the extra money and get Blizzaks (sp?). Any input??
  • bayoujaybayoujay Member Posts: 24
    I was very interested to read your post, 74apollo, because I ordered my Versa SL manual with ABS here in Illinois in mid-August and got a confirmation e-mail from my dealer earlier this month saying that it'll be in at the beginning of Nov. After hearing what you had to say, though, I'm starting to worry. Did you order a manual or CVT? Also, did you try to get the convenience pkg. with ABS? I'd be interested to hear.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    What OEM tires do you have on the Versa?
  • flightnurseflightnurse Member Posts: 2,217
    Currently all Versa have Continental tires on them.

  • versa07versa07 Member Posts: 8
    I have no idea what tires are one there now. I do know I don't like them at all. Is anyone else having this problem?
  • flightnurseflightnurse Member Posts: 2,217
    Why not tell us what problems you are having with them to make you not like them?

    The stock tirs are excellent tires, I don't understand why Nissan choose a narrow tire, my replacements well be 195-60-15s not the 185's that are on there now...
  • w9cww9cw Member Posts: 888
    Narrower tires are actually generally better in the wet and in snow. Of course, this statement depends on the type of tire and tread pattern.
  • garandmangarandman Member Posts: 524
    I've had my Versa for about a month now. I hate the tires. It seems as if they don't stick to the road and they have a tendency to slide. I had Coopers on my Altima and I never worried about driving in the snow. Now that I have the Versa and I'm reading it may be bad in the snow, I'm a bit worried. So I'm going to spend the extra money and get Blizzaks (sp?). Any input??
    Most OEM tires are designed to be cheap, have low rolling resistance, and ride quietly. You'll find most OEM tires have poor customer ratings compared to aftermarket tires - even those from the same manufacturer.

    Winter tires make a huger difference - I even put them on our AWD Subaru. If you drive enough in snow and ice to make two sets of wheels and tires worthwhile, you can buy dedicated Winter tires. They wear relatively fast(most don't have a UTQG wear rating) so are winter only. Popular tires include the Nokian RSI, Michelin X-Ice, Goodyear UltraGrip, and several Blizzak models.

    If you don't want to hassle with two sets of tires, the Nokian WR is a passenger all season with the Severe Duty Snow rating - the mountain/snowflake icon. BTW, Nokians are not sold mail order but you can go to to find local dealers. We have them on our Mazda MPV.
  • cathy8cathy8 Member Posts: 37
    I've had my Versa now for just over 2 months. I live in central Canada where there are extreme cold temps and lots of snow and ice. I have been very pleased with the tires on my Versa SL. Prior to this I had an Acura EL that slid so much on ice that I had no choice but to get new tires. in contrast this car hold the road well at speeds suitable for the conditions.
  • f111df111d Member Posts: 114
    Precautionary note changing tire sizes on todays cars with computers! Not only that the engineers have designed caliper clearances, fender clearances lock to lock turning, rpm per mile/overall diameter, tires weight(un-sprung weight the suspension and the rim width so closely and have done ump-teen hours of R&D. Been there done that experiences. Ie:89 Probe ATX tranny rebuild at 35K miles because one size larger.
    195/60-15 is as close you get but the tire would perform better on 6". My car for example has 205/60-15 but in winter would be 185/65-15. Of course this is summer to winter tire sizing. Living in Ohio winter specific especially studded my wife and grandson are so much safer.
    I'm might suggest a better very affordable tire I've tried and just love? (I've been buying tires for 45 years )Grand Touring category Kumho Solus (called now) quiet, awesome wet control (hydroplaning nill even above speed limit toll road OOPS) and price is hard to beat.
    What ever talk to someone ie: Tire Rack but I'd stick with 185/65-15. It's more about tire than size.
    Continentals (OEM) well I wouldn't want them if someone gave them to me.
    My son has a Versa very good bang for the buck transportation and he can't to put Kumho's on his. He the one--try'em dad!
    Impressive ergonomic interior packaging (absolute breeze to get in a out of especially for us leading edge baby boomer's and also recent crash protection results.
    And for those of us that grew up with muscle cars/etc. -- they're fun but today's economics problems we need more vehicles like this.
    Early forced retired YORF
  • flightnurseflightnurse Member Posts: 2,217
    Paul, why dont you like Contintental Tires ? I have owned MB as well other Asian cars and have always used them. Never had a problem with them, they ride nice, handle well, and have a good tread life.


    P.S. The reason why you talk about the Versa is why I bought mine, ergonomic Interior, love how the seats feel and getting in and out is breeze...
  • lemonhaterlemonhater Member Posts: 110
    Well I have had a versa SL sedan with the CVT for a week now. No abs (ugh), but still love it.

    As for snow driving, well so far just a week, not a lot of experience, but it is a little worse than the old Trecel in the snow probably for several reasons. The wider tires and longer wheel base tend to make the car want to ride over slick snow rather than cut into it (and hit ground for traction).

    In addition I suspect the transmission gearing may play a role too. It seems to move best in snow with the overdrive off and it seems to do better when you don’t drive it aggressively (unlike the trecel which needed a little uph to get through). Otherwise it will tend to spin it’s tires.

    On a whole while the snow driving is a little worse, it is still very deal able and I wouldn’t call it bad. It just isn’t amazing like the trecel.
  • matrixowner3matrixowner3 Member Posts: 1
    Hello! I own a 2005 Toyota Matrix, and it is not good in the snow. I live in Canada, where snow is a reality 6 months of the year. I ended up having to put better tires on my leased Matrix (basic model) and it still slides, while everybody passes me by! Even in smaller cars they zip past me.

    Incidentally, I've owned many cars and driven front and rear wheel drive and have never had as many problems as with this car. In other ways it's a great car, just not in snow. And I've heard all the jokes about it being my 'heavy foot' but since I've driven a ton of other cars and it's never been a problem till this one, I have to wonder if it isn't the car. At the very least, test this car in snow and ice conditions.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    We had a fair amount of snow recently and the Versa has handled very nicely in the slippery conditions. One thing I've noticed is that the snow REALLY tends to build up in the wheel wells.
    This morning it was a bit of a problem since it had really built up one day when the temp was right around freezing so the packed snow was very wet. Then the temp dropped a lot and the stuf turned into a very lagre solid block that pretty much was touching all four tires for the entire length of the wheel wells. The ice block also extended down behind the wheels as well. There really was no room for any suspension travel. Going over a small bump would REALLY make a noise as the tire hit the ice. Took about a half hour to chip enough of it out to feel safe from having the ice cause problems.

    First time we had the Versa out in the snow, I noticed the designof the wheel wells tended to cath a bit more snow than my other vehicles. This time was probably a unique set of circumstances
  • clonedcloned Member Posts: 4
    We've only had our Versa for about 1000 miles but part of that was through the Midwest blizzard. Didn't do much driving in the snow; probably would have bottomed out most of the time. But it handled well and all is well.

    But, I agree with you in that the fender wells almost seem to be designed to hold as much slush, snow and mud as possible. I usually try to knock it off before driving into the garage but it's impossible to get it all. I can see that it could build up to being a solid mess.
  • factionfaction Member Posts: 9
    The only problem I had with my V in the winter was getting it stuck in drifts 2 or 3 times before I figured out that it wasn't as much of a bull as my old Taurus.
    Otherwise I didn't have any problems driving.
  • cphcph Member Posts: 2
    So we are thinking about a Versa but we live in rural Massachusetts. We are also looking at the Vibe. We've heard the Vibe/ Matrix is very bad in snow, but haven't heard much about Versa. Mostly we drive in slush and 1-2". For heavy snow, we've got a Forester. What do you think? Better than Vibe/ Matrix?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    We've been driving nothing but manual transmission Dastun/Nissans since 1979 and the 6 speed Versa handled as well in the snow for me as any of my Sentras or Altimas have. OEM Continentals seemed to handle things OK, although I'll be changing to the Kelly all-seasons when time comes for a tire change.

    I'd actually say the Versa handled a bit better in snow than my '96 Sentra as it is 300# heavier than that Sentra was.

    Only got the Versa in February, but we did have a solid week of driving in snow with it. Will have a little more to say once I get through a full winter, but I'm not expecting any real issues.
  • blueversablueversa Member Posts: 2
    I live in Montreal Qc. and frequently drove my versa around town and to ski hills last winter. Snow performance was quite acceptaple with the winterforce (firestone) winter tires I had installed. I braved quite a few snowstorms and the car was still predictable in slippery conditions with the understeer remaining manageable. A limited slip differential would be nice, but those things are not usual in this category.
  • cphcph Member Posts: 2
    Well, we bought the Versa with ABS, based in part on some of the comments here. We have absolutely loved it. We put great snow tires on it, not studded, and the thing has been performing much better than we expected. We live in a pretty rural part of the Northeast and this winter has been very snowy. With the exception of my old Subaru Legacy wagon, this might be the best car I have driven in the snow - including our AWD Forester!

    I agree about the wheel wells, though, they really plug up.

    So, 5 stars, Nissan!
  • versa7versa7 Member Posts: 3
    What brand/model of tires did you buy? Also, what transmission do you have? I have the 6 manual and am looking for a snow tire.
  • crown5crown5 Member Posts: 24
    Do you have continental tires on yours?
    By checking on the web, they are well rated and expensive enough to buy.
    How is it for starting in cold temperatures and heater defroster performance?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    I really don't like the Continentals that came on the Versa. I've always driven with all-seasons (been years since we bought snow tires) and when we bought our 2007 Versa I really noticed a difference in traction. If it got any kind of wet on the road at all, it was time to be very careful. I rotate my tires religiously, and those Continentals were shot after 30,000 miles when I've typically been getting 45-50,000 out of a set of tires. I replaced the tires on the 2007 with Cooper CS4's and got 55,000 out of them with improved traction. First thing I did on the 2010 Versa was to put on a set of CS4's
  • crown5crown5 Member Posts: 24
    Your comments are not strange to me.
    Service staff at dealer mentioning Continental tires not being what they are advertised thus not rendering after sale service as expected.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    The Continentals were OK on dry pavement, but they started to show unusual wear rather quickly. Since the Coopers lasted not quite twice as long on the same vehicle with the same alignment, I'm going to chalk it up to the Contis not being the greatest tire since sliced bread... at least that model of tire
  • crown5crown5 Member Posts: 24
    Had to go to dealer due to vehicle wandering left
    All they did was to switch front tires.
    So yes, may be something with those tires.
  • joconnor09joconnor09 Member Posts: 1
    I'm looking at the 2012 Versa hatchback, and I live in Buffalo, NY. How does the Versa perform in areas with quite a lot of snow? I currently have a Subaru Outback with AWD and it drives wonderfully in even the worst snowy weather. The Versa doesn't have AWD (and I've never owned a car without it) and I'm concerned it won't drive as well through the snow and ice.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Well I have a 2007 and 2011 Versa, both 6 speed manuals, live in State College, PA (winters, but only occasionally Buffalo-like) and I've run all-season tires and been just fine. Having said that, I'd definitely do dedicated snow tires if I were in Buffalo. I know I would know my limitations facing lake effect snows, even with snow tires. By no means should you expect AWD performance
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    For the first time in a long time we got snow tires for the wife's Versa given the amount of driving she has to do. I was VERY impressed with the Nokians we put on. Very quiet, and not much of a hit on gas mileage when the roads are clear.

    We're putting them back on at the end of the week, and I might even get a set for my Versa
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