Are Nissans Reliable? A Complete Breakdown

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When it comes to buying a new car, no one wants to end up with a lemon. As you’re researching options for your next vehicle, one of the questions you’re likely asking is whether or not your top pick is both safe and reliable. Nissans are one of the most popular car choices on the market today and offer a solid variety of sedans, SUVs, and trucks.

But are Nissans reliable? Can their safety ratings be trusted? And will they last you for many miles before breaking down? We’ll cover all of this and more below.

Nissan Reliability by Model & Year

Reliability is an essential factor when purchasing because an unreliable car will drive your cost ownership all the way up. In general, Nissans are known for being very reliable cars that are easy and inexpensive to fix. But some Nissan vehicles are going to be more reliable than others. A few models fall below the desired standard you would probably want in your next car.

According to Consumer Reports, here are the most reliable Nissan models for the 2021 year:

  • Nissan Murano – This popular crossover SUV is the perfect size for growing families.
  • Nissan Altima – The classic Altima sedan is a reliable, basic family car.
  • Nissan Maxima – Compared to the Altima, the Maxima sedan is built for performance.

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A full breakdown of each Nissan model’s most recent reliability rating according to Consumer Reports is below:

  • 2021 Nissan Altima – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Murano – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Maxima – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan GT-R – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Kicks – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Leaf – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Versa – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Z – 3 out of 5
  • 2022 Nissan Frontier – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan NV – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan NV200 – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue – 3 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Armada – 2 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport – 2 out of 5
  • 2022 Nissan Pathfinder – 2 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Titan – 2 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Titan XD – 2 out of 5

Despite a few stragglers, most Nissan models achieve at least an average rating, with a few top models rated as above average. Best of all, Nissan vehicles are relatively easy to fix if they break down. Unlike other car manufacturers, such as BMW, that require specialized parts and specially trained mechanics, Nissan parts are relatively inexpensive, and knowledgeable mechanics are affordable and easy to find.

If you’re in the market for a used Nissan, you are still in luck. Most Nissan makes, and models are known for being reasonably reliable and lasting for a very long time. To determine the reliability rating of a specific year and model, you can double-check the vehicle’s reliability rating and reviews at ConsumerReports.org.

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Nissan Vehicle Safety

In addition to being easy to fix, reliable, and a good value, are Nissan vehicles safe, and do they have long lifespans on the road? The short answer is yes.

Nissan vehicles can run safely and reliably for many years, often with minimal repairs. Regular maintenance can help sustain the life of your vehicle even further than you can imagine. In fact, a 2007 Nissan Frontier once achieved the coveted 1 million mile mark!

Nissan has a commitment to driver and passenger safety, and all Nissan vehicles receive excellent NHTSA ratings of either 4 or 5 stars. NHTSA ratings are based on multiple crash tests which measure the safety of the vehicle during front, rear, and side-impact collisions.

A full breakdown of each Nissan model’s most recent NHTSA safety rating is below:

  • 2021 Nissan Altima – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Murano – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Maxima – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Leaf – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Versa – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Armada – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport – 5 out of 5
  • 2022 Nissan Pathfinder – 5 out of 5
  • 2022 Nissan Frontier – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Titan – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Titan XD – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Kicks – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Z – N/A
  • 2021 Nissan NV – N/A
  • 2021 Nissan NV200 – N/A
  • 2021 Nissan GT-R – N/A

Nissan Vehicle Reputation

Nissans have a very good reputation within the industry, second only to automotive giants Toyota and Honda. All 3 Japanese brands are known for their reliability, longevity, dependability, and affordability. The brands are often compared to one another to determine whose vehicles are the best ones.

Consumer surveys and anecdotal evidence shows that Nissan cars are very popular, last their owners for very many years, and are generally inexpensive

Nissan Vehicle Safety

In addition to being easy to fix, reliable, and a good value, are Nissan vehicles safe, and do they have long lifespans on the road? The short answer is yes.

Nissan vehicles can run safely and reliably for many years, often with minimal repairs. Regular maintenance can help sustain the life of your car even further than you can imagine. In fact, a 2007 Nissan Frontier once achieved the coveted 1 million mile mark!

Nissan commits to driver and passenger safety, and all Nissan vehicles receive excellent NHTSA ratings of either 4 or 5 stars. NHTSA ratings are based on multiple crash tests that measure the car’s safety during the front, rear, and side-impact collisions.

A full breakdown of each Nissan model’s most recent NHTSA safety rating is below:

  • 2021 Nissan Altima – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Murano – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Maxima – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Leaf – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Versa – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Armada – 5 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport – 5 out of 5
  • 2022 Nissan Pathfinder – 5 out of 5
  • 2022 Nissan Frontier – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Titan – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Titan XD – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Kicks – 4 out of 5
  • 2021 Nissan Z – N/A
  • 2021 Nissan NV – N/A
  • 2021 Nissan NV200 – N/A
  • 2021 Nissan GT-R – N/A

Common Nissan Problems

Although Nissan is known for building quality Japanese automobiles, its fleet of vehicles is not without its problems. Below are some of the most common Nissan problems buyers may encounter:

  • Faulty Transmission – Many Nissan models from 2012 to 2018 were equipped with continuously variable transmission (CVT) for smoother shifting. However, they were determined to be quite problematic. Reported problems include transmission jerking, coolant leaks, loss of power, CVT error message, and more.
  • Oil Leaks – Issues about leaking oil come with the territory of owning a car. However, it’s a cause for concern if they happen to be a relatively new vehicle. In 2011, Nissan recalled about 15,000 cars affected by excessive oil leaks.
  • Faulty Takata Airbags – These airbags were responsible for one of the worst controversies in the auto industry. Defective Takata airbags were installed in several Nissan models between 2002 to 2015, and many companies had to issue a recall notice – including Nissan.
  • Steering Wheel Lock Failure – This problem was particularly prevalent with the Nissan Altima. Affected vehicles won’t start or lock out, leaving drivers stranded and having to be towed. Over at CarComplaints, this issue had over 400 written complaints from frustrated owners.

Nissan Vehicle Reputation

The brands are often compared to one another to determine whose vehicles are the best. Nissans have an excellent reputation, second only to automotive giants Toyota and Honda. All 3 Japanese brands are known for their reliability, longevity, dependability, and affordability.

Consumer surveys and anecdotal evidence show that Nissan cars are top-rated, last their owners for many years, and are generally inexpensive to maintain. Nissan owners enjoy good gas mileage, a smooth ride, superior interior features, modern design, and good performance. For all of these reasons, they are some of the most sought-after vehicles on the market. In general, your resale value will be very good with any Nissan car, SUV, or truck.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, Nissan vehicles are an excellent choice for anyone in the market for a new vehicle, particularly the most popular Altima, Murano, and Maxima models. Nissans set safety, value, and reliability standards like other Japanese car manufacturers.

While they may not be as impressive as their closest competitors, Toyota and Honda, Nissan vehicles still have plenty to offer their proud owners. Whether you are looking for a 2021 model to drive off the lot or an older Nissan for sale, any Nissan should serve your family well for many years to come.

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