When our aging Chevy started to have more serious problems, we looked into buying a new car, and settled on a 2010 Nissan Versa sedan. Now that I’ve driven it for a few months, I offer these first hand observations since taking a car for a test drive is different than taking it home for keeps.
Pros of the 2010 Nissan Versa Sedan
Cornering: I love the way the Nissan Versa corners. In my small town, there are a few places I frequent where parking can some times be tight. I have no trouble maneuvering the Versa into tight parking spots and making a U-turn is easy as pie. It’s smaller size makes parallel parking easy too.
Gas Mileage: The Versa is a gas sipper. I have no trouble getting the advertised mpg of 30-34 mpg city/highway.
Size: It is comparable in size to the car I replaced, a Chevrolet Cavalier. While I wouldn’t call the back seat overly roomy, there is enough room to fit two adults comfortably. The trunk is huge for its size, something you wouldn’t expect looking at the car from the outside. There are also several cup holders, which is a nice feature. They accommodate various sizes, so having a larger sized cup or bottled soda is not a problem.
Horsepower: It is a smaller car, but the 1.8L engine model that I selected is more than adequate since I have had no problems having the get-up-and-go to pass others on the highway.
Price: The Nissan Versa sedan is a cheap date. Base models start out around $10,000; however, don’t expect many frills (such as power windows) at that price. Expect to pay closer to $12,000-$14,000 to get a Versa equipped with the things that you want and need in a new car.
Key fob: If you accidentally hit the panic button shoving your keys into your pocket, any button you hit on the key fob will turn it off. This is an especially nice feature since I have had key fobs in the past that require you to push and hold the panic button for several seconds before it turns off.
Auxiliary Input: The Versa we chose has auxiliary inputs for those electronics such as satellite radios and iPods. Cruising to your own tunes fun and easy and there’s no need to unplug them when you get out of the car since when you turn off your engine, the object no longer draws power so there’s no worry about draining your battery while you are at work.
Cons of the 2010 Nissan Versa Sedan
Gas Gauge: There is no real visible warning that you are running out of gas. In the Nissan Versa sedan, a small, orange, round light turns on when you are running low or nearly empty. The small warning light is not very apparent and there have been a few times when I and my husband have been afraid that we would be left on the side of the road, making a call to AAA, before we found the next gas station. An audio cue when you turn on the engine would have been a nice feature.
Speedometer: I am not a fan of the speedometer. Each line is 2 miles per hour and it is hard to tell at a glance how fast you are going since there is only numerical markings for 20, 40, 60, etc. A quick glance down to check your speed, particularly in school zones, means that you need to get used to not having the needle pegged on a dark line, thus a number to let you know exactly how fast you are going. This is distracting at first, but once you get used to the odd way that the speedometer is laid out, it isn’t as much of an issue.
Trunk Latch: Missing! If you want to get into the trunk, you had better have your key handy. There is no inside trunk latch and this is a feature that I sorely wish the Versa had for convenience sake since trying to get your key into the trunk in the dark isn’t very easy. You risk keying up the shiny metal trim before you get the trunk open.
Horn: The horn is another disappointment. The horn itself is quite weak and if you tap it twice, it sounds like the Roadrunner as he ‘beep, beeps’ Wile E. Coyote. This weak horn makes it hard to take the Versa seriously. We are looking into an after-market horn since using the keyless remote in a parking lot is nothing short of a hearing test. It is very faint and lacks the bite of other models, like our Quest, that loudly proclaim “I’m locked!”
Keyless Remote Range: Don’t expect a long range for your keyless remote. I have found that you need to be rather close to get your car locked or unlocked via remote. Don’t expect it to work if other cars are in the way either. By contrast, our Nissan Quest has a much longer range. Getting used to the shorter range has been an adjustment and I often find myself turning to walk back toward the Versa to get into range to lock the car.
Small Gas Tank: Sure, it won’t bust your budget to fill it up, but the gas tank is a bit on the small side at 13.2 gallons, which is on the high side of a typical gas tank size for a compact car. By comparison, our Nissan Quest has a 20 gallon tank and the Cavalier we replaced had a 15.2 gallon tank. A smaller tank does mean more frequent fill ups, especially for longer trips.
Final analysis of the Nissan Versa Sedan
I am pleased with our purchase of our 2010 Nissan Versa Sedan. It is easy and fun to drive and easy on gas. It doesn’t have the frills of other more expensive cars, but we weren’t expecting that. We were specifically shopping for a small car with high fuel economy that came with a car payment that we could afford. To that extent, the Nissan Versa Sedan fit the bill perfectly.
Personal experience with vehicles referenced