Behind the Wheel in a Nissan Versa: Proof That Crap Comes in Many Colors

Crap looks good in sliver.

A silver Versa is proof that crap comes in more colors than brown.

I like to believe that every dog has its day. As an automobile enthusiast, I sincerely want to believe that no vehicle- regardless of design, engineering or country of origin is inherently bad. Taking all of that into account, I am still finding it quite difficult to accept that the Nissan Versa is by any stretch, a good vehicle. I will admit that from an aesthetics standpoint, the clean lines of the sedan variant is somewhat handsome, but then again, even Jay Cutler looks good in photos.

Pure Drive? Pure BS!

Pure Drive? Pure BS!

When commuting around an urban landscape, the 109hp 1.6 litre motor feels adequate. Up to 30mph, the power comes on in an almost linear fashion, which can be attributed to the CVT transmission. Steering feels relatively lively and considering its under 15ft in length, it is almost chuckable when it comes to neatly fitting into tight parking spots and squeezing past oncoming vehicles in a snug alleyway. However, driving any substantial distance can become quite unnerving.

Like Viagra, the Nissan Versa (or Latio elsewhere in the world) was clearly designed to be used in moderation, and from my experience- only for about 25 minutes at a time. Needless to say, my 365 mile trek to Minneapolis clearly stretched the limits of this vehicle’s engineering. The seats caused posterior numbness within 45 minutes, the front end became light and “darty” at speeds over 70mph and merging was a test of both patience and guilt. Luckily, growing up Italian-Catholic prepared for the guilt trip played upon me by the groaning transmission and sloppy suspension.
Is that a "power bulge" in the hood? Nope, just very thin steel.

Is that a “power bulge” in the hood? Nope, just very thin steel.

Granted, my test example had approximately 30,000 miles on the odometer, but never in all of my years of driving have a experienced a vehicle that seemed so “used up” as the Nissan Versa. Considering that Nissan brought forth such great vehicles like the Z coupe and the Ferrari slaying GT-R, I am a bit let down in the overall build quality. The Nissan Versa is not just an embarrassment to the Nissan marque, but it is an insult to the Japanese car culture as a whole.

Unlike the Nissan Versa, this delicious tuna roll from Masu is "good" Japanese.

Unlike the Nissan Versa, this delicious tuna roll from Masu Sushi in Minneapolis is what “good” Japanese looks like.

With such solidly built vehicles rolling out of Korea, Nissan has some serious catching up to do… and fast. Yes, the absolute base model Versa carries might carry an MSRP of $13,695, but I simply can not recommend this as a viable option to most people. For that amount of money, you are better off snatching a used Kia Rio or Ford Fiesta. Even in it’s second generation in the states, the Nissan Versa still has some growing up to do.

Leave a comment