Nissan Versa 6MT Under Investigation for Going Into Limp Mode After an Engine Stall

Nissan Versa 14 photos
Photo: Nissan / edited
The 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan VersaThe 2023 Nissan Versa
Nissan has been hit with a preliminary evaluation for no fewer than 20 complaints and multiple field reports alleging reduced power after an engine stall in the manual-equipped Versa. The NHTSA believes that 2,000 vehicles produced for model years 2022 through 2024 may be potentially affected stateside.
As per the Office of Defects Investigation, the complaints allege that vehicles enter limp mode for any reason that causes the engine to stall, including from releasing the clutch pedal too quickly. The reduced power mode can occur while driving in city traffic or on the highway. Several complaints allege not being able to maintain speed above 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour) due to said condition.

Limp mode has an effect on acceleration as well, which also increases the risk of a crash. As per the owner who filed complaint number 11514801 with the federal watchdog, the car has to be turned off for at least 15 seconds in order to reset the computer.

Said owner talked to a Nissan corporate regional representative, a specialist, and engineer about the problem, with all three acknowledging a programming issue that makes the engine control unit think that the car isn't functioning properly in the event of an engine stall. The cited owner claims that Nissan has no time frame for deploying a software update, which is a bit concerning because the owner in question filed the complaint back in March 2023.

What in the name of all things holy is keeping the safety boffins at Nissan North America Inc. from tasking an employee to rewrite a few lines of code? The Office of Defects Investigation will find an answer to said question, but at this point, it remains unclear when the investigation will be concluded.

The 2023 Nissan Versa
Photo: Nissan
The Versa isn’t only the most affordable brand-new car from Nissan in the US market (starting at $16,390 for MY24), but it's a rare breed as well. In addition to the sedan's achingly slow death in favor of crossovers and trucks, the Versa can be had with the best anti-theft device in the automotive world. Indeed, that would be a good ol' manual tranny.

Jokes aside, increasingly fewer cars are offered with standard transmissions. Even fewer are within the reach of many, with notable examples being the Mazda MX-5 Miata and RF, Toyota Tacoma, and Subaru WRX. At the other end of the spectrum, the 911 and 718 series from Porsche come to mind.

Manual-equipped vehicles might be more engaging than their two-pedal counterparts, but looking at the bigger picture, two pedals make a whole lot more sense. From emission and fuel economy regulations to quicker downshifts and less effort in a congested traffic area, it's hard to make a case for the manual over the auto, dual-clutch gearbox, and the CVT.

Ever wondered how big of a difference a torque-converter automatic makes over a manual in terms of gas mileage? As per the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2024 Jeep Wrangler Two-Door with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 returns up to 20 miles per gallon (11.7 liters per 100 kilometers) with the Torqueflite 850RE as opposed to 19 mpg (12.4 l/100 km) with the Aisin AL6 manual box.
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 Download: Nissan Versa limp mode investigation (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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