A compact economy car has never been so big and comfortable, at such a bargain price!
The tether on the gas cap broke off the fuel door at 19,000 miles, which is surprising considering how little use it gets.
To start with the good:
The fuel economy is outstanding. My commute is about 30% mountain and city, the rest is 2 lane highway, and I get an average fuel mileage of 38 MPG. This is consistent with the fuel computer.
The interior room is astounding. There is more leg room and head space in the back seat of this car than in my grandparents '13 Malibu, and my trunk is larger as well. Everyone who has been in my car can't get over how such a small car is so big on the inside.
The 5 speed manual is fun and easy to shift. The clutch can be a little tricky, but once I learned it, it was not a problem.
This is my first car with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and it's great. The TPMS light came on while I was crossing a mountain, allowing me time to pull off in a safe place. I discovered a hole in a sidewall and changed the tire before it went flat, possibly saving me from a blowout and/or crash on the very crooked, steep road.
For such an inexpensive car, it's quiet and smooth riding. The traction and vehicle dynamic control systems are good features, and I'm glad they came standard.
I love the electronic power steering. It never drags on the engine, and it's speed sensitive, making it easy to maneuver in tight spaces, yet not over sensitive at highway speeds.
I got the most basic Versa available, only because I wanted a manual transmission. There were literally no options available on it. No power windows or locks, no cruise control, only 2 speakers, no chrome... you get the idea. In fact the only package that doesn't come with a tachometer is the one with the manual tranny. Makes no sense at all.
The seats are comfortable, but the fabric is bad. On the base model it only comes in black with no texture, so it shows every bit of lint and pet hair, not to mention stains and crumbs from my 4 year old.
The engine offers enough power most of the time, but taking off, especially on hills, can be a pain in the manual because you really have to ease the clutch to avoid bogging the engine down. Makes me worry about future clutch life. It's also too small to offer much slowing ability on steep grades when downshifted, so I still have to use the brakes a lot.
The air conditioning is good, but again the small engine is mated with a small compressor, so you have to be driving to get much out of it.
Overall, this is the biggest feeling compact car out there. I bought it because it was the cheapest car in America, and so far the quality of the ride and style don't show its price.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th July, 2013