We bought new for our son who decided to go to HS a 45 minute drive away. Price and safety features were the reasons for our choice. He put 60K miles on it in 2.5 years. We bought 1 new set of tires and changed the oil. The car was perfect every day and never a minutes trouble and that's with a teenager driving it.
This car should be a "top ten pick" for an entry level car. My 2012 Versa Hatchback is a "bang for the buck" with CVT (smooth shifting), Bluetooth & Navigation, 16" wheels, ample trunk space w/fold down seats. Thus far, I recorded 28-29+ mph. I do a moderate amount of around town driving. It has ample pickup & power on freeway. Seat height makes getting in and out easy. Cons - rt knee patella can hit drver side dash (however, my 5' 10" husband is fine w it) - passenger dash is lower decreasing vertical leg room. A happy ex-Murano owner (Nissan makes good cars) I have no regrets buying this car (almost bought an Outback Subaru). Bought 2010 Versa Sedan for my 86 yr old Auntie. She loves it!
My husband and I bought this car new in 2012, for around $14,000. We have put 97,319 miles on it, and commute out of state monthly. We change the oil religiously, every 4,000, and it averages about $60 for that service. We replaced the battery about a year ago (at roughly 60,000miles), and other than that have NEVER had to do any other maintanence on this vehicle apart from regular tire replacement (every 6-8mos at the rate we drive it). The car is light weight, so even at this mileage we are only halfway through our break pads...and it stops on a dime! The windows are large and virtually panoramic, so there is little-to-no blind spots, and as a hatchback, the seats lay down and can fit and hold an alarming amount of things. (When we got married, we were able to lay the seats down and move my things into his house in only two trips, minus furniture....note-I had lived on my own for several years so it was a Small apartment that we managed to fit into this car with only two trips...not simply a bedroom). We average about 35mpg, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on how conservatively you drive it. My only major gripes about this vehicle, are its lack of a key fob to unlock and lock the car from a distance, there is no cruise control, and...oddly....the front seat cupholders sit BENEATH the stereo column and many "large" size drink containers simply do not fit under it without bemding and sometimes breaking the straw...and you have to tip most cups sideways a bit to get it in...which results in a spill, or having to hold the drink and sip it down far enough to tip it before you can put it in. Overall, its an incredible car for a young person, or young couple, we hope to keep it long enough for our son to use as his first car due to its easy maneuverability and lack of blind spots. But with two car seats now we have to shop for something else. It DOES fit two carseats...surprisingly...but the front seats have to be scooted up pretty far in order to accomodate, which means the driver has to be either as tall as me or shorter (5'5") to fit their legs under the steering wheel to drive in that position...its tight. My husband (6'0") is cramped in the passenger seat with his knees against the dash if the carseats are in it. Overall, it is a terrific little car, harder than hell to break into when youve locked the keys in the car, so that could be a plus or a negative depending on how you look at it (haha!) And having been in three minor collisions in it, you would never know, it brushes off small accidents like nothing...no scratches, dents or anything.
When I purchased my 2012 Versa hatchback, it was the least expensive new car available in North America. And the car is what it is. On the positive side, the car always started. I consider that a big plus. Also, the interior, which is naturally cheap and flimsy, is designed to feel deceptively roomy. On the negative side, right after my warranty expired, the keyless entry stopped working on the front doors and the hatchback. The front passenger door and the hatchback wouldn't open at all. A part in all the doors had to be replaced, and it was a very expensive repair. The dealership decided to do the work free, due to the car had only been out of warranty for a few weeks. I traded the Versa in for a Honda Accord after owning the Versa about 18 months.
Electric, mechanical, and body integrity no better--and far more costly to repair--that the 20-YO Ford Escorts (sedan and wagon) I formerly drove: ELECTRICAL: nobody in service at the dealership where I purchased the car can figure out why I periodically get shrieking warning blasts from somewhere in (?) the center console: they "never heard" of this (although 5 mins of online research show this reaction is not uncommon); brake, fluid, & all else that should be indicated by warning lights (and inspections) revealed nothing wrong. A/C noisy and barely adequate when the outside temp is over 90 degrees (it;s a roomy interior and would benefit, I think, from a bigger compressor. Had to replace the behind-the-dash fan (for both heating and A/C ) at 55K. Heating: the car's "cool" temp setting on the dash really mean just degrees of very hot air unless the A/C is turned on. The car lacks a temp gauge and oil pressure gauge. MECHANICAL: $250 wanted by the dealer to replace rear brake shoes (drum brakes in 2012? I didn't even think to look). Cracked control arm bushings seems reasonable on a car with 60K, but using parts ordered online, I had OEM struts, rear shocks, all of the control arms, bushings, an alignment, and rear brakes replaced and installed for less than than the dealer wanted to replace the cracked bushings and install new rear brake shoes. Mileage is worse than my auto-transmission Ford Escort STATION WAGON: lucky to get 30 mpg in the Versa at 55 MPH (with cruise control) on a 300-mile flattish stretch of open highway (the wagon routinely got 33-34, and the sedan, at that speed, 34-36). City mileage is horrifying: I'm a "gentle" driver and am not stuck in stop-and-go traffic, but Nissan in "city" driving gets a remarkably low 17-18 MPG. Interesting: there is a two-mile stretch of road I can coast down, and the Escorts reached 55-60 MPH on that mild decline, but the Versa is apparently not as aerodynamic, as it settles in at about 47-48 MPH. The Versa is tall and noticeably easier to get into and out of, however. BODY INTEGRITY and TRIM: laughable. I bought the car when it was two years old, but did not expect the "rubber" window seals to crack and turn brown nor come away and hang down, nor the trim at the front door to come away, nor the metal panel on the body (which the door slips over) to come off. Had none of these problems with the old Escorts. The Versa is noticeably more peppy than the old Escorts, but it's not going to win many races. Factor in the depreciation . . . Ouch! Note that I opt for Mobil 1 synthetic oil, which, I would think, ups MPG a little. Also, I very rarely have a passenger so there is little "extra" weight.