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Test drove a Versa S today and a Kia Soul

9586 Views 12 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  scwinn
And it was really a nice drive.

I am still in the range of looking around at various cars and comparing at the moment, but it's come down to two cars: Nissan Versa (manual, because it is much cheaper and more fun) and Kia Soul.

Although I'm leaning heavily towards the Versa, which is why I'm here. :)
But, when I research on the interwebs, I find that the Versa has considerably more "bad" reviews than the Soul does. Why is that? When I compare the test drives, the Versa wins, hands down. And then the Soul is the one that has all these glowing reviews and I seriously was let down by that car when I drove it. When I compare the two side by side I see this:

2012 Kia Soul:
- Slippery steering, overboosted feeling
- sensitive braking
- has a lot of bad blind spots
- cargo space really isn't that big...
- very noisy engine and cabin
- is actually bigger than it looks
- nice dash and controls
- cheap seat materials, when you pinch it with your hands, it's like play dough

2012 Versa:
- firmer seats
- much quieter ride and smoother
- better visibility
- horrible echo if you drive over 40mph with a window rolled down...
- overall tighter-fit (construction)

How is the reliability for the Versa? In a lot of reviews I've read, it got a pretty bad rating. Has it ever broken down on you?

Also - for the Versa base model with the iPod thingy in the dash standard or does that cost extra?
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My Versa is over 4 years old now, 65K, and only issue was a leaking sunroof (within the first year of ownership), and multiple issues of the car not starting. I've had my Fuel Pressure Regulator replaced twice under warranty. Other than that, love the car :)
I've had mine(1.6 base model) for a little over 2 years and love it. 5speed manual of course. :D

Only issue was a small paint chip, which Nissan said was "normal wear and tear", other than that, 22K well enjoyed miles. 1st Nissan as well. :thumbsup:
Have had mine since 2009 and it's been very reliable. Only issue I've had was a Cold Start Ignition sensor malfunction (This controls how much extra fuel the engine uses during start up when it is very cold in winter).
I have a 2012 sedan (base model 5 spd manual) and so far I'm really happy with it.
I was using my Duramax diesel for commuting, but eventually I realized how much it was costing me in fuel costs, maintenance and mileage depreciation.
My wife and I have had lots of Nissans (this is our 8th), and I do most maintenance myself so I'm familiar with them, plus they've ALL been super reliable. That's why I looked at the Versa as an inexpensive econo commuter.
I had to get the gauge cluster replaced as it had a sticky speedo when I drove it off the lot (warranty), but otherwise it's been perfect. I put in full synthetic oil at the first oil change and the mileage seems to be getting better the more miles I put on it (must be the break in).
I tested a Mazda 2 hatch and am thankful that I didn't get it. NO POWER!
The only thing that I'll try to improve is the crosswind stability. Planning to get 16" wheels with better tires soon. It's nothing uncharacteristic for a tiny car to get tossed around in the wind, I just have to spend a lot of time on the hiway so I'm looking to improve it.
My advice-in hindsight...I got the BASE model, no AC, no power locks or windows, etc-which is fine except.... If you can get the power locks, that would be nice as there is only 1 key lock and it's on the driver's side. So when you need to unlock the passenger rear ya gotta walk around to the driver's door, get the key, open it up, crawl in and over.... you get the idea (I have 2 kids to load up).
Good luck in whatever you decide!! And welcome to the forums!
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My 2011 Versa S 1.8 hatch I got since Jan 2011 has been reliable so far, about 8000 miles, and I don't drive it like grandpa style, I kinda thrash it a lil bit, might explain my 18-20 mpg (4 speed auto). The only issue was a rubber bushing that fell off, and create loud clicking noise when the AC was on, their warranty pretty much covers everything, except wear and tear. Mind you, a car this cheap, the paint ain't that resilient, unless you take the time to prepare it for the outside world LOL. My car's paint is suffering right now, no garage, under trees and birds, rain everyday cause of the mountains, and hot sun during the afternoon. The only chance to wax it is after a car wash at 76, (cause I have no hose or water tap or facility to use my NXT wash :/...) and I hang out at the station and wax cause they got cover. Suspension could be better, especially on bus lanes and bumpy roads, but highway driving and mountain driving are fun, a lil bit of roll, but it feels sturdy. The engine has been reliable so far, and it can handle good speed and acceleration, feels quicker than it is, I usually drive 70-80 mph on the highways, as long as the road is smooth, no issues with stability, engine noise is a bit loud, but it's a cheap car. The interior is VERY roomy, I had to move recently, and I figured out that the front passenger seat can fold flat backwards, I was able to fit 2 100lb duffle bags of clothes, 2 37" HDTVs, 3 desktop towers, 4 file boxes of stuff, and other small items. Also, with the front seat flat, you can sit in the back and relax with your feet up.

Also, you need to splurge onto the Versa SL for the Ipod connector, if I'm not mistaken, not sure if2012 has the connector for the S, but 2011 didn't have it. Not sure if dealer can install, don't think so.
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I just bought a 2012 Versa SL. Before that I was considering the Soul. However, I drove the soul and gave up that idea quickly. The steering was way too hard and it overcompensated when in a turn and hitting a bump. There was no road feel. Also, the cvt in it felt like a 6 speed. It kicked up and down like crazy.

The base Versa does not get the ipod port unless you upgrade the stereo. The upgraded stereo (not navigation system) comes with the ipod port. The navigation system upgrade gets you a USB connector (what I wish I had but was not willing to spend the extra $700).

So far, I love my Versa. Only 800 miles so far. It is a cheap car but it feels sturdy. The electric assist steering works great and gives you some road feel. I am averaging 39mpg in the Ozark hills. The design is very good for space and engineering. I know others that have been on the road for many miles. The 2012 is a totally different animal though. The CVT in it has an oil pump and they raised the pulleys out of the oil to reduce drag. I like the body style better than previous years but it looks too close to an Altima to me.

The seats are comfy but the material scares me. We are covering all seats to protect them.

My complaints...
* No trunk button on the fob
* ipod port instead of usb (I dont use apple products)
* Service techs know less than my 14 year old daughter.
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I have a 2012 Versa Hatch SL CVT, minus the crappy experiences with our dealership - overall I'm quite happy with the car. The horn is pooping out and will get that looked at next service. Other than that, you just cannot beat this car. The room inside is just the best. No real complaints here.

We had test driven a focus with the DCT tranny, glad we dodged that bullet. I think the versa is a pretty popular car and your more likely to see complaints the more there are.

I haven't tried the Kia Soul, so I can't compare. But we tried - Ford Focus/Toyata Matrix/Mazda only looked at the Honda Fit (they didn't have one to test drive).

Versa beat all of them.
when I research on the interwebs, I find that the Versa has considerably more "bad" reviews than the Soul does. Why is that?
because car reviews rate each car on a scale 1 to 10 based on the writters opinion and not on what the car was designed for or what other buyers are looking for :thumb2:
I bought a 2012 Versa SV last OCt and I'm still lovin it. Haven't had any problems at all to speak of. I'm getting 38.1 mpg with the AC on. Only issue is that the rear brakes occasionally squeak. De-badged the rear and found some nice centerconsole cup holders at Auto Zone. Made my own armrest out of two chair cushions from Wally World. Posted pics of all my mods in this forum back in November. I'd recommend this car to my friends and relatives.
2012 Versa:
- firmer seats
- much quieter ride and smoother
- better visibility
- horrible echo if you drive over 40mph with a window rolled down...
- overall tighter-fit (construction)
How is the reliability for the Versa? In a lot of reviews I've read, it got a pretty bad rating. Has it ever broken down on you?
I did have to replace my fuel pressure regulator, but fortunately it didn't leave me stranded cuz i pumped the gas pedal madly while starting the engine:) no fpr issue after starting engine. That was at about 150000km.
Replaced a front wheel bearing a couple months ago and a rear wheel bearing a few months before that. Mechanic said he does many wheel bearings on many different models over the winter cuz the salty water gets inside the bearing itself.
And i had a flat tire a couple weeks ago.
Versa doesn't have the road feel of a VW [excepting the new floppy Jetta] but it sounds like it's better than the Soul anyway
Long live the manual:thumb2:
Welcome to NVF!
Mine is a 2008 HB 1.8 SL sport PKG i have the 1/8 jack for using my iphone as a music player got the Boosted up sound system with tweeters and subwoofer from rockford fostgate (optionnal stuff in the tech package). I am now over 82k kms and not much troubles with the car.... had to replace link kits after 3 years wasnt bad and replaced brakes too (resolved the problem with overheating disc brakes that is causing some vibrations in the steering wheel when braking. Then i had a trouble with my hatch ketch.... cost me 150$ to replace. Overall, i put some money on maintenance for the usual stuff, put some oil, anti rust every year and some gas. When i changed my exhaust for my DC catback i think i damaged one of my o2 sensors i have the code P2A00 on my OBD2 Scanner... but doesn't cause any trouble the car is doin fine!
I also tested the SOul and found its handling rather tentative. I love my Versa SV 2012. I am very hard on a car and the Versa has handled my driving style like a champ thus far. I have done trips in all weather conditions and in all types of driving (city, highway, etc) and I think the Versa has everything else beat. As for the critics..... they are entitled to their opinions but let's face it to own one is to love one.....
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