Nissan Versa Review

A car for the ones seeking to do the more mileage

Overall fine, but not comfortable enough and handle well

Nissan’s history in North America goes early as very first muscular American cars. Nowadays, in almost every street, toll road, parking lot you may see a Nissan in North America. It is not because Nissans are the best cars in the world but one of the most reliable. It will be better to enlarge this reliable car group with all other Japanese car brands. Indeed, Japanese engineers produce cars that are so reliable and comparatively cheap, they unwillingly force other brands leave North American market. Today, our test car is Nissan Versa. Although Nissan is mostly known SUVs in North American market, it also manufactures lots of small size cars which are so economic and just created for the people who want to do more mileage with same amount of gasoline. Nissan Versa is definitely one of them. Through on my way to Branson, Missouri to Oklahoma City, OK I stopped three or four times not for fill out my tank but to do stretching my legs. Actually, only once I stopped for filling out and it was just fun. Someone could say what can be fun filling the gas tank, answer is simple, with Versa you amazed that how less it consumes.

For the North American market high consumption rate of the car may not be problem like it does on other markets. Main reason for it is, in USA gasoline is cheap, and people got used to drive big block V8s or V6s to go nearest supermarket. However, for folks that care about environment and don’t like to consume a lot, this is the dream car. Let’s start more detailed review see how Versa did it.

Design and Comfort

Exterior design of the car cries that this car small, cheap B segment sedan and Indeed, Versa looks cheap. Hence, if you are kind of person who think car shows your level of charisma, Versa it not a kind of car you are willing to drive. Interior design and comfort level like exterior. Numerous black hard plastic materials are everywhere. Dashboard feels somewhat awkward and old fashion. My expectation with the car was not high from very beginning, however, ones drives decent B segment car would expect more than what you get with Versa. For instance, with new Honda Jazz you can get big video screen that enable you to use satellite navigation. On the other hand, I used my iPhone as my navigator in Versa and got maybe more pleasure.

Handling

In terms of handling, Versa is a kind of car that would want at the end of your possible choices. There are some reasons that we need to cover to explain why Versa handle so bad. First reason for it is weight distribution of the car.  Since, the 2.0 liters engine, transmission and all other heavy parts of the in the frontend of the car, backend of the car is extremely too light. I did not look the official figures, it feels like 65:35. Secondly, and most importantly, its too high chassis and soft suspension make handling of Versa terrible. Although soft ride could be good for travelling with 60 mph on the highway like I44, it is bad on the back-mountain roads. Especially, with Versa they could be even dangerous.

Folks let me give some tips about motoring journalism. When you drive so expensive, luxurious car you became nervous for first five minutes. And that’s all. After some time like an hour later you drive it like your own car. Of course, finding limits of the car takes time but it also gradually improves every time you handle faster. However, with the cheap cars like Versa there is almost no adaption time because there is nothing to adapt. After I took Versa from Car dealer to go Oklahoma, I needed to enter the back roads in Branson, MO and in the one of corners I consciously did not brake to see how the car will handle. The result was not the one I have got used to, I felt like I was flying on the corner and after that I drove Nissan Versa very carefully. It happened in that way, because I did not expect that bad handling performance from Versa. As a result, although one easily thinks expensive car took some time to find its limits, cheap car also requires some time to be patient and see how bad it goes, like in my example.

Engine and Ride Quality

Engine work smooth and has enough performance for Versa. It goes up to 100 mph without having any problems but after that you really need to be crazy to keep your foot down. “Since road and wind noise is too low and car is not aerodynamically good on Versa, after 70 mph, you feel like you will fly.”

I did more than 400 miles on I44 from Springfield, MO to Oklahoma City, OK and saw that all the bad handling issues or low-quality interior does not bother me like in the town. Versa is pretty good car for long and cheap cruises. Versa got plus point for my review thanks that comfortable high way performance. Also, it is astonishing that cheap car like this has cruise control which makes cruising easy and comfortable in Versa.

Moreover, just like in the Cherokee, I slept two nights in the Versa and seats were comfortable. I could even stay one more night but that does not need.

Verdict

Nissan Versa is beautifully designed small B segment hatchback. Although it has some issues like general quality and handling, it does its job well on the highway with more than 40 mpg that helps to get big smile on your face. I hope next generation Versa will solve its problems and maybe get hybrid engine will make you even happier by taking care of your budget.

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Mert SANER
Car enthusiast and industrial engineer student in Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

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