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To all my fellow 50+ years drivers, what have we learned that lets us be comfortable driving a Versa, the least expensive car on the market? I'm guessing that it's not economic necessity, though for the price of three Versas you could have a fairly nice Camaro. Dollar value or low tech? Perhaps it is the readable owners manual...
 

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I fit the demographics you outlined

As for why I bought 2 2011 Versa Hatchbacks... it was probably more having to do with them having timing chains rather than belts. Didn't know at the time they were the least expensive cars. I hope to get 200k+ miles out of both of them.

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To all my fellow 50+ years drivers, what have we learned that lets us be comfortable driving a Versa, the least expensive car on the market? I'm guessing that it's not economic necessity, though for the price of three Versas you could have a fairly nice Camaro. Dollar value or low tech? Perhaps it is the readable owners manual...
I used to rebuild sports cars along with other fine cars. 1960 Alfa Giula, MGA1600, Datsun SPL310, Austin Healy 3000 "four seater", Sterling (imported by Cadillac). Refurbished, repainted , and then I found myself acting like a mother hen over an egg. When I went somewhere, I would park in the furthest spot in the lot so the car would not get dinged by another vehicle. Tried never to drive it in the rain and get it all wet and messy. In the end, the cars I rebuilt OWNED me rather than the other way around. Not so with my 2012 Versa sedan. not too complicated, and I keep it clean, well maintained, and do not obsess over where to park it or if the weather is bad. It has been dependable, gets me from point A to point B, and I am not obsessed with taking care of it. The thought of plunking down 30-60 grand for a new anything does not appeal to me from a standpoint of once again obsessing over where to park it, having people wipe their feet before getting into the car, and a host of other "concerns"!!!
 

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Many of us 50+ have started putting our eye on retirement. Because we are unsure of future economic conditions(soc. sec., pension, etc.), it just seems unrealistic to buy an expensive car when we don't need it(although if I traveled extensively, I would consider a car with better seats). Many people think they have enough to retire on and often outlive their resources, especially since many of us will live into our 80's and 90's. As for the readable owners manual, I .uh.., well .,hmm.. yes, I've been meaning to get around to that(as soon as I can find it).
 

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I purchased my 2007 Versa hatchback because it has the biggest cargo space when compared with other hatchback back in 2007. I was replacing my an old van with my Versa hatchback. It is cheaper to own. But is more expensive to maintain because Nissan wants to generate more income for the dealer shop after sale.
 

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They started doing that back in the '90s with all OEMs going to 'unitized assemblies' to make you buy far more parts than you needed. I drove Fords back then, the counter guy told me Ford wanted to hit a $50 per each sale average on parts, they no longer wanted sales under that if possible. They then swept through the parts books to move all single parts into bigger subassemblies and the only way you could get them.

I am similar to post #3 , but I built drag cars instead and obsessive/compulsive perfectionism ruled me then as now. After getting married I turned it all inward to do all work myself as no dealer could ever satisfy me. I as well leaned toward cheaper cars as I simply loathe wasted money (people do not value their own effort enough) and my view of others as throwing it away for nothing. That warped then into trying to do everything possible to fix even the broken parts the cheap cars have and quite a bit of success at that as well as spending so little to begin with that one car saves as much as several thousand dollars over its' life in money not spent the average American spends all day long. Cheap cars are actual money generators to me, the cash I save I do other things with. Odd as I could have afforded much more expensive cars all along. When something breaks I grouse at first then the learning high kicks in and I enjoy figuring out how to get around what most shell out big $$$$ for.

Itching to at some point drill down into a CVT to repair it. Normal ATX was a piece of cake.

Timing belts are actually cheaper than chains and easy enough to get back right. The chains last longer but not every single one of them do, the Japanese issue there is the same it always has been, or how long do the various plastic coated slippers and tensioner blades go before wearing off the friction surface to then be metal-to-metal to then break. Get an engine type that doesn't hit valve to piston when belt breaks and then timing belt could actually be better. BTDT, the belts last 120K miles now.

Versa is a rattletrap hard riding car not to mention ugly but it goes just fine and the mileage adds to that cash making I spoke of. The dealers will never see mine just like I said when I bought it. Speaking of which, when I turned down the new car warranty they looked at me like I was crazy, then they asked some pointed maintenance problem questions ('What do you do if your automatic transmission breaks?'....'Well, I fix it of course, that's not hard at all.') and next they tried to hire me for the shop. Funny, boys, I said.............you don't pay enough for what I can do. It's actually more that I simply would not be able to abide by their rules now of throwing the most expensive parts they can at the cars to make profit the number one goal there rather than satisfying the customer at a reasonable price.
 

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Another reason............the world is not the place it once was, people hit you now left and right and you cannot keep a nice car at all. Why I buy small cheap cars, the loss will be low if something happens to it. The last 4 cars I bought were all damaged in some way by people hitting them, one of them was hit 4 times in the first 6 months I owned it, but I got back enough to pay the car off with what happened next................another story for another day.

The new Altima has already been damaged twice in a year.
 

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I have been doing repair on my cars (Versa, Accord and Civic) over 5 years.

About 5 years ago, I took my Versa for a oil change at a Nissan dealer shop. They called me and wanted me to change the front brake pads and rear drum brake shoes for a total of over $1000. I said I will make another appointment for that service. I checked my brake pads and shoes when I got home. The pads and shoes had lots of materials left for another 2 years before I changed them. Since then, I do all the maintenance work myself and saved lot of money to buy tools.
 

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Like others I do lots of my own work on my vehicles and have for the last 25-30 years. I too could afford to to have a bigger, nicer, more expensive car but it's going to wear out just like the cheap ones. I'd rather wear out a $10K car than a $50K one. I too drove Fords for years before buying this Versa. I had an '88 Escort that I bought in '93 with 146K miles when I finally retired it a few years years ago it had 518K miles, was still running and had never had the head off of it. It just needed more work done to it than I wanted to put into it to keep it dependable so I finally decided to retire it. Over the past several years it has became a hobby with me to see just how many MPG I can get out of a gallon of gas and I know that's not going to be big number with a luxury car with a V8 although they do much better than they did in my younger days when I used to drive cars with V8's.
 

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Ugliest car I ever owned..............paid $100....................Looked like the car in the Pink Panther movies.............positive ground electrical system...............a real Frankenstein!!!!!





Simca, an acronym for Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile, was originally set up as Fiat’s French affiliate in the mid Thirties. Ford became part owner in 1954 when Simca took over Ford’s French operations, including the plant at Poissy. In 1958, Chrysler purchased a 25-percent interest in Simca in a deal that included Ford’s stake. By 1963, Chrysler owned 63 percent of Simca.

The Simca 1000 was a small rear-engine, rear-drive, four-door sedan with an upright three-box shape. It was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1961, but U.S. sales commenced in 1963. Front and rear styling recalled Chevrolet’s Corvair, but the smaller-scale Simca only had two headlights and taillights rather than the Chevy’s four of each.

The little Simca used unitized construction, ran on an 88-inch wheelbase, was 149.5 inches long, and weighed 1610 pounds. By comparison, a 1963 Plymouth Valiant was nearly 40 inches longer and 900 pounds heavier.

More Cheap Wheels

The 1000’s water-cooled four-cylinder engine displaced 944cc, or 57.6 cubic inches. It was initially rated at 50 horsepower and 54 pound-feet of torque, but later was boosted to 52, then 55 horses. It was an ohv design with a cast-iron block and an aluminum head, and was mounted longitudinally with a 15-degree incline to the driver’s side. The four-speed manual transmission had a floor shift and Porsche-style synchronization in all forward gears.
1964 Simca Brochure

1964 Simca Brochure

In a June 1963 Car and Driver comparison test, a 1000 ran 0-30 mph in 6.5 seconds. But 0-60 mph took a considerable 24.6 seconds—longer than the car’s 22.9-second quarter-mile time. Top speed was 81 mph. Relatively, though, that wasn’t bad: The 36-bhp NSU Prinz-4 against which it was tested turned in a 0-60 time of 46.5 seconds! In a May 1966 test, Motor Trend’s 52-horse top-trim 1000 GLS reached 60 mph in 20.6 seconds and averaged 34.5 mpg over about 1000 miles.
 

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Citroen...that's very common in Europe, my sister has one..... (it can be barely called a car in my opinion)

do they sell it here in the US? never seen it before.
 

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I'm 56. I bought a base model 2018 Versa because I wanted a reliable vehicle with low cost.

I drove across the country 3 times in 2017, before I got my Versa. My 1987 Subaru GL died on my way from Oregon to New Jersey. Okay, can't blame Subaru for that because the car was 30 years old. I had to rent a car from Ogden UT to NJ. The good thing was that I was stuck in Ogden, which is a nice place to be stuck in. Bad thing was the trip cost me about $1500 more than I planned on AND I had no vehicle of my own after that.

Then I had another Subaru, 2002 Outback, die on me just after I got back to Oregon. I thought Subaru was a good brand, but found out the 2002 Outback was designed to last 100k miles before needing new head gaskets, and that's exactly what happened, and the body rust made it not worth saving. No more Subarus for me. At least it got me back to Oregon, but not good enough for me to buy another Subaru.

Reliability is very important to me right now, and historically Nissan delivers. A relatively uncomplicated car is great. I don't care whether it looks impressive or not, so that permits a Versa :^) Good gas mileage. I'll spend my money on other things and enjoy my low-cost Versa. Happy to have a vehicle I can count on, and peace of mind.
 

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16 SV Note: It's our 'Town Car'. Easy to park, get around in traffic, haul junk, good on gas, cheap to insure. We have taken a couple of 2 or 3 hour trips in it but as people have mentioned it is a bit noisy at hwy speeds and gets blown about by the wind some.

at 53,000 miles have changed oil, one set of tires and that's it. With the original purchase price and the daily driving cost it really is an inexpensive vehicle to own.
 

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At that price you could fly to NJ and still have some money left.
Yes, but everything I owned was in my Subaru wagon. I had already given away or thrown out almost everything I owned. I wasn't about to throw away the rest of it. This was the 1/10th of my things that were most valuable to me. So I rented a car to keep my things. Plus I don't know where I could have dumped my last few remaining possessions.

Plus, driving across the country is something I dream of, even if I have done it a few times before. It never gets old. It's a passion :^)
 

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Seems maybe this site is dominated by people cutting costs. There's definitely value in that and I bought my Versa for the low cost of initial purchase and low cost of maintenance, and reliability. But that's not the only thing that's important to me. If people snicker at things I paid for that they wouldn't have, oh well. It doesn't mean you're smarter than I am. This is getting old.
 

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It DOES get old but if you quit worrying about cost cutting this planet will swallow you whole in minutes.

Rule #2 is that there is NO good car company any longer, the modern computer controlled car showed the world that a car could go 300K+ miles if basic enough to not be brought down by the frills options on it. The OEMs figured out pretty quick that that lowers car sales whoppingly and then began to design all things to bring the cars down much faster under the guise of 'better' tech and lighter weights for mileage.

Now we are in a world of cars that end up in junkyards over the early fail of plastic motor parts and some end up there simply due to nuisance breakage, or things left unfixed until owner gets tired enough of them to get rid of the car even though it still runs. The plastic parts issue alone will make sure it is much harder to keep long life collector cars when the plastic parts disappear to keep the cars from ever running.

The more you pay for a car now the more of that you will be getting.

It all boils down to what you think your own personal output or work is worth to YOU. If not so much then buy the more expensive car which nowadays practically guarantees you more grief.

I for one having worked on enough varied brands learned to NEVER EVER 'trust' a car in and of itself, rather, I put the trust in my knowing that what I personally have put into that vehicle is what would carry me across the country, NOT the company that made the car. That means being 100% up on everything affecting the long term running of it, there is a judgement made on virtually every part in it. They ALL have flaws, it is up to YOU to determine if those are going to bring you down. That better be after you have pursued working on the flaws to bring them up to par. if not you already know what will likely bring you down.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, thanks guys. It's good to know that some actual "car guys" feel that the Versa is a good deal. I got my license in 1962, took care my cars for twenty years, or so, then decided that a botched brake job would kill me faster than my EDM machine. I turned the maintenance over to the dealer that sold the car. It's worked out fairly well, for me. Come to think of it, the last time I touched an engine it had a carburetor.
 

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It seems to me the ideal car is one without the extra stuff on it to break. Power window motors, locks and switches, radio touch screens that pivot out and up, power hatch and trunk releases, transmissions with way too much extra complexity for the sake of one more mpg city, turbochargers that get so hot that oil cooks inside them and it turns into ash and coke...and so on. All that stuff is more likely to break and it's expensive to fix. A base Versa with a 5 speed stick fits that bill. I bet those will last longer than the ones with the CVT. I just wish Nissan made it possible for them to have cruise control.

A basic car with nothing extra will cost less to buy and won't be retired until those aforementioned plastic parts begin to go. Ford and GM already have trouble with plastic intake manifolds going bad, how in the hell did they figure that would be better?

I swear a late 60s VW Beetle with the safer double swing arm rear axle and a 12 volt battery is the ideal car. Albert Klein drive his Beetle 1.63 million miles before he retired it to a museum.
 
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