The tale of the terrible Nissan Versa
I just traded out this car. This is my experience with it.
Versa was a car I had for a little over 2 years. I bought it originally for three reasons. It was cheap. It was a hardtop (meaning there was no sunroof that would ever leak), and it wasn't a big stupid truck.
Said honestly, I could have - and I say this loosely - probably gotten another 50K miles out of this car. Mine was one of the better Versas out there because it had an automatic transmission and not the dreaded CVT. Any Versa that has the manual gearbox or AT is typically a good runner - if you can deal with the car's quirks, which I couldn't.
A short list of the quirks:
- Geared too short - The transmission was a 4-speed automatic. For traveling at 60mph or less, no problems. But for highway speeds over that, the revs go over 3000 RPM and stay there. This car desperately needed a 5-speed auto transmission but there were only 4 gears. Lots of high-rev droning noise at highway speeds because of that.
- Subframe bushings - I never got these replaced because of the crap involved to get the job done. These are the subframe bushings. You'll notice they're not expensive at all. The problem is getting the old bushings out. There is a video showing the crapola involved with this job right here. It's not an impossible job and could be done over a weekend, but I just couldn't be bothered with it.
- Really cheap interior vinyl - I, like many other people, like to clean my car's interior to keep it smelling good and looking nice. Well, I noticed something whenever I tried to use a safe-for-vinyl-interior cleaner. The coloring actually started to come off the vinyl, right on to the towel. Fortunately, I didn't wreck the interior because I figured out what was going on quickly. But after discovering this, I only lightly wiped the vinyl surfaces dry with a polish cloth after that. The factory vinyl from Nissan was just of a very poor quality.
- Poor gas mileage for what it was - The 1.8 motor averaged about 27 MPG. If the transmission gears weren't so short I could have easily achieved a 32 average. I did try hypermiling the car for one fill-up and did eke out a 40 average, but that involved a lot of coasting in neutral and no A/C use. So yes, the 1.8 can get 40 but you really have to work to get it.
- Bad highway manners - I felt myself fighting with the car whenever on the interstate with it. There was nothing wrong going on, but the driving character of the car on highways just wasn't good.
- Speedometer 3mph too slow - From what I understand this is a standard thing Nissan does.
- Seat recliner levers on the inside of the seat - Not a problem, just weird. Both recliner levers face the middle of the car instead of the doors.
Published 2019 Jul 5
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