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My wife once complaint that the Versa was barely driveable. This got me thinking about my first car, an Acura Integra 1st gen (80's). It was considered a preppy car back then, but it had only 113 hp for a car about the same size as the Versa. My memory of the handling were hazy, I don't recall if the handling was comparable to the Versa these days. It did require way more maintenance. I think I needed to replace the spark plug every 15K. Nowadays, it's more like 100K.

Back in the 80's, my parent owned several Chevrolet. The first was a Chevette. This was followed by a Citation. I think there may have been a Ford Pinto somewhere. All the cars were terrible, drove like crap, and turned us off toward American cars for a while, since the next couple of cars were Toyota's.

Nowadays, even entry level cars have about 130 hp or higher. They often appear to faster and handles better than the sport coupe of yesteryear. They are also much safer, and more reliable. How things have improved!

Paul
 

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Yes in every way except for more reliable, being it can mean more than one thing.

The engines and transmissions last about forever unless you got CVT in Nissan and other brands can have major trans and engine problems that nobody including the dealers can fix. Almost every maker has one millstone model now.

If you get one of the ones that doesn't break then the issue begins to be one of nuisance more than anything else, the everyday bits and pieces tend to break a LOT more than they used as commonly made of plastic now and often past that made intentionally to fail after a certain period of time. You have great swaths of parts that now break that never used to through the entire life of cars in the past.

I don't have much time with Nissan yet but so far I see electrics as a problem as they are heavily unitized to make you buy big subassemblies to get one small $5 part. Like the IPDMs. Ridiculous prices on them and commonly all you need is a relay. Light fixtures on Nissan are crap too, they commonly let bulbs fall right out of them, or bulb does not work due to heated contacts warping to not touch. Plastic parts that snap on and then the snaps cease to hold the part firmly in place, part then falls off. The typical now parts made to snap on new but as soon as they get older they break tabs to no longer go on without flopping loose. In all reality the maker there intended those parts to be installed one time only and anything past that you lucked out.

Why I left Ford after 40 years, they were even worse with plastic valve covers and major cooling system parts that turned into dust in 10 years and cannot seal even with new gaskets. So many of their parts are designed to break early it's not funny, I came up with a list of 50 things that broke on Focus cars within 100K miles and the list is still growing past that. Many of the parts you can look at to guess where they fail and surprise then later they do it. If the part barely breaks the engineer then redesigns it again to break faster, it's all about parts sales throughput now, it is as important as new car sales are now. Why you typically can no longer get nuts or bolts without now buying the more major part that gets bolted down in many cases. Or, a single bolt costs $20. I've paid $20 for a one inch snap ring before.

I am convince that these issues are contrived to make owners give up on the cars quicker, the engine/trans keeps working but the minor nuisance issues that most will not fix then add up to annoy one enough to begin to cave into the idea of the new car. Myself, I keep them fixed and keep on driving.

The full development of the modern computer that controls all now has resulted in cars that can go 300K miles if halfway taken care of and that sells less cars so the makers have gone to other more clandestine methods to coerce people into buying a new car. If not that then they try to force you to buy much more expensive parts than were before.
 

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My wife once complaint that the Versa was barely driveable. This got me thinking about my first car, an Acura Integra 1st gen (80's). It was considered a preppy car back then, but it had only 113 hp for a car about the same size as the Versa. My memory of the handling were hazy, I don't recall if the handling was comparable to the Versa these days. It did require way more maintenance. I think I needed to replace the spark plug every 15K. Nowadays, it's more like 100K.

Back in the 80's, my parent owned several Chevrolet. The first was a Chevette. This was followed by a Citation. I think there may have been a Ford Pinto somewhere. All the cars were terrible, drove like crap, and turned us off toward American cars for a while, since the next couple of cars were Toyota's.

Nowadays, even entry level cars have about 130 hp or higher. They often appear to faster and handles better than the sport coupe of yesteryear. They are also much safer, and more reliable. How things have improved!

Paul
My wife complained the same thing. Cheap, hard plastics everywhere. No insulation. Tin can feel; she teases that it can be picked up by the slightest breeze. Bone-jarring ride (although I'm sure that's largely due to the rock-hard Ecopias). It is slow/no power. I just laugh it off; I paid only $15k for my Versa Note.

Cars now have much larger exterior dimensions than in the 80's or 90's. The 2020 Versa is considered a "subcompact" car but it is larger than the 80's or early 90's Camry and Accord. Unfortunately, they are not much larger in terms of interior space, if at all. This could be due to added features like airbags, steel reinforcement beams, etc. I understand it's for safety but it eats up interior space and adds weight. I'm sure one reason new cars have so much more power/torque than old cars is because of the additional weight (and worse aerodynamics due to pedestrian safety laws, which raised car beltlines, which made windows smaller, but that's another topic).

On the bright side, I agree that maintenance is better than before. Less frequent oil changes, transmission fluid/coolant changes, etc. Sweet.

Yes in every way except for more reliable, being it can mean more than one thing.

The engines and transmissions last about forever unless you got CVT in Nissan and other brands can have major trans and engine problems that nobody including the dealers can fix. Almost every maker has one millstone model now.

If you get one of the ones that doesn't break then the issue begins to be one of nuisance more than anything else, the everyday bits and pieces tend to break a LOT more than they used as commonly made of plastic now and often past that made intentionally to fail after a certain period of time. You have great swaths of parts that now break that never used to through the entire life of cars in the past.

I don't have much time with Nissan yet but so far I see electrics as a problem as they are heavily unitized to make you buy big subassemblies to get one small $5 part. Like the IPDMs. Ridiculous prices on them and commonly all you need is a relay. Light fixtures on Nissan are crap too, they commonly let bulbs fall right out of them, or bulb does not work due to heated contacts warping to not touch. Plastic parts that snap on and then the snaps cease to hold the part firmly in place, part then falls off. The typical now parts made to snap on new but as soon as they get older they break tabs to no longer go on without flopping loose. In all reality the maker there intended those parts to be installed one time only and anything past that you lucked out.

Why I left Ford after 40 years, they were even worse with plastic valve covers and major cooling system parts that turned into dust in 10 years and cannot seal even with new gaskets. So many of their parts are designed to break early it's not funny, I came up with a list of 50 things that broke on Focus cars within 100K miles and the list is still growing past that. Many of the parts you can look at to guess where they fail and surprise then later they do it. If the part barely breaks the engineer then redesigns it again to break faster, it's all about parts sales throughput now, it is as important as new car sales are now. Why you typically can no longer get nuts or bolts without now buying the more major part that gets bolted down in many cases. Or, a single bolt costs $20. I've paid $20 for a one inch snap ring before.

I am convince that these issues are contrived to make owners give up on the cars quicker, the engine/trans keeps working but the minor nuisance issues that most will not fix then add up to annoy one enough to begin to cave into the idea of the new car. Myself, I keep them fixed and keep on driving.

The full development of the modern computer that controls all now has resulted in cars that can go 300K miles if halfway taken care of and that sells less cars so the makers have gone to other more clandestine methods to coerce people into buying a new car. If not that then they try to force you to buy much more expensive parts than were before.
I can't tell you how many plastic tabs/parts I have broken in the 6 years that I have owned my Versa Note. Door panel plastic tabs. Door handle tabs. Rear shock plastic cover tabs. Plus the front rubber air dam broke; blessing in disguise. Now that the front air dam is gone, more ground clearance and no more scraping the ground when I drive over dips, driveway entrances, etc.

I agree that parts are expensive. $30+ for the cabin air filter? I can buy a house air filter for a fraction of that price.
 

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Ahhh, the good old days. While it may not have been to everyones liking, I miss my Pinto!
It wasn't because of the '86 302 H.O. motor and T-5 5 speed out of a Mustang GT.... Or was it?

What killed me on Ford was the stupid decision to move the horn button to the turn signal stalk, not to mention the Escort. Seen quite a few eat timing belts.
I also held GM FWD cars, except the El Dorado, Toronado, Riviera platform with great contempt. They were utterly horrible,
until about '87/'88 when they finally started to get a clue.
Then you had Chrysler......(K-car or Omni anyone). The ONLY good thing about those cars is that they were easy to work on, and you worked on them frequently!

BTW the primary function of an automaker is not to sell cars, it is to sell PARTS.
 

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I hear that. I learned to drive in 1970s and some very early 80s cars. Even a bare bones base model Versa drives and rides much better than a bare bones small car from back then. There are situations that I didn't consider when buying our used 2015 Versa 1.6s primarily for my young driver age kids to drive.

Roll up windows, no power locks and no key FOB. They've never seen this before. LOL I do fear them locking the doors in the cold of winter and having the single driver's side door lock freeze. There's no pass-thru from the trunk to the backseat on base model 1.6 S's.

Pretty much every time they start it, they hold the ignition key too long. They've only driven keyless push button start, or how most all vehicles are today with 'bump start' where you just bump the ignition key and the starter will automatically crank itself only long enough to start the engine. They've never started anything else until the versa came along.

I think even the 4spd automatic freaks them out given you can just about eat a sandwich between gear changes. I notice my daughter kind of lets off the gas after a gear change, not really knowing what it was. I've owned several 5spd MTs since we've had kids. They had zero interest in me showing them what to do/what's happening with clutching/gear changing.
 

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'...the primary function of an automaker is not to sell cars, it is to sell PARTS.'

On my '17 Altima you have to remove a side cover behind the pass tire and a flap that is part of the underbelly cover, to get to the oil filter and drain plug on the pan. The fasteners there are the usual plastic pop rivets that you install by hand. Typically they are one time use parts, removing them to reinstall has them flop around much looser than the first time and the service manual says to change them at every service (they say to cut them in half to get them off quick). At the price the rivets will cost, you will spend an extra $20 bill simply getting those ready for every oil change beforehand. I cut the flap off that folded forward to get to the drain plug and I'm going to use jack nuts to replace the pop rivets on the side cover, then I can simply remove screws to them and screw the cover back on tight when done.

To have to come up with 15 or so new pop rivets every time I want to change the oil is just too much. And why I yanked the full underbelly cover on the Versa, to make oil changes 100% faster there too.

I remember the first time I heard of the parts unitizing thing and learned how to read the Ford parts books to figure out what previously separate parts had been combined with other bigger ones to create subassemblies that cost a lot more. Back then the counter guys said that Ford wanted all parts sales to be a minimum of $50, the era of $5 and $10 sales was done.
 

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Our 2016 Quest is similar. There's a plastic door/panel on the inside of the front right fender liner you can remove to gain access to the engine oil filter. The panel is held in place with plastic rivets. I removed it the first time I changed oil on this van, then figured out you can pry the bottom of wheel well liner from underneath to get to the filter, replace it and clean up. Oil drains directly onto the engine cradle/frame on that side too when you loosen the filter which is a really fun feature. Pathfinders and Muranos are exactly the same since the same basic chassis.

I've got one of those plastic rivet/push pin assortment kits with like 25 different sizes I mail ordered for cheap years ago. I can usually find one that will work, but not necessarily match the others which can make my OCD self crazy.

I saw a clip of I think the 2019 Altima, where the plastic belly pan under the engine is hinged at the bumper and the whole thing has to be swung down to access the oil filter and pan drain, basically making a lift or a pit to drive over a necessity for oil changes unless you want to modify it for home use. Shame too because I always like the altima, especially the newer ones I've driven. Super comfortable, excellent driving dynamics, good power, etc. Like driving a Lincoln vs a Versa.
 

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I have a bunch of pop rivets too but irritating to have to change them even if you can get them apart, they just let parts flop around loose. I tend to go to more permanent solutions that bolt or screw down tight and can be used forever in cases like things that have to come apart more than once. I did think of warping the entire fenderwell cover but didn't. I'd leave that smaller cover off but rain splash would be ducted right into the crankshaft interface with the serp belt, that would likely lead to trouble when small rocks and such get pitched into the resulting port there.

The pop fasteners do have one fantastic trait............used on bumper covers and external components they allow for a lot more give when bumping into things with the car, the covers become much less damaged due to the pops giving so much.
 

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Very true! Most of them were busted off the front and rear bumpers already on our 2015 Versa when I bought it. Some light manageable scuffs is all the damage.

Luckily this Versa has no underbelly covers at all. I think that's the case for all the later model Versa sedans. It does make for a nasty dirty engine bay though.
 

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My wife once complaint that the Versa was barely driveable. This got me thinking about my first car, an Acura Integra 1st gen (80's). It was considered a preppy car back then, but it had only 113 hp for a car about the same size as the Versa. My memory of the handling were hazy, I don't recall if the handling was comparable to the Versa these days. It did require way more maintenance. I think I needed to replace the spark plug every 15K. Nowadays, it's more like 100K.

Back in the 80's, my parent owned several Chevrolet. The first was a Chevette. This was followed by a Citation. I think there may have been a Ford Pinto somewhere. All the cars were terrible, drove like crap, and turned us off toward American cars for a while, since the next couple of cars were Toyota's.

Nowadays, even entry level cars have about 130 hp or higher. They often appear to faster and handles better than the sport coupe of yesteryear. They are also much safer, and more reliable. How things have improved!

Paul
Take it from someone who drove an '88 Ford Escort Pony for about 20 years, there's no doubt the Versa is more comfortable than economy cars of the '80's. The ride of the Versa is smoother, engine is more powerful, more interior room, larger trunk, etc. My Escort had a 1.9L engine with a whopping 88HP and a 0-60 time of about 3 minutes. The main advantages the Escort had over the Versa is the Escort had a non interference engine, the price, and the simplicity of working on it.
 

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Take it from someone who drove an '88 Ford Escort Pony for about 20 years..
20yrs?

You Sir deserve a medal for that!!

I had a 1985 Ford EXP. It was 2-seater "sporty" Escort if you remember them. 1.6L (I think?) and a 5spd MT. I bought it off my Sister back around 1989 and drove it for a few years. It was rusted badly at 4yrs old. I had body work done on it and other areas went such as the shock towers in the rear rusting through. The factory cylinder head cracked when it was about 2yrs old and I had one timing belt go out on me. It was actually the water pump seizing up and it sheared off all the little rubber teeth on the T-belt. My brother and I fixed it in the parking lot it came to rest in. LOL.

Still amazing to think of a 1985 model year vehicle only living until about 1991-92 before it was rotted to pieces. Lovely rust belt life.
 

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Don't you mean Fixed Or Repaired Daily?
Yes, and some more:

Fix Or Repair Daily; Fast Only Rolling Downhill; Fails On Race Day; Found On Road Dead; (from a mechanic`s point of view) Funding Our Retirement Daily; (spelled backwards) Driver Returning On Foot, F*ckin Owner Real Dumb;
 

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20yrs?

You Sir deserve a medal for that!!
I bought it from my brother in '93 for $500. He bought it new in '88 and decided to buy a new Escort in '93 and said he was going to sell the '88 to the first person with $500. When I bought it it had 146K miles. When I finally quit driving it it had 518K miles and had never been rebuilt. Do you recon I got my moneys worth. I was driving the '88 for years after my brother wore out the '93. Its life was spent in the NC Piedmont area until 2010 when we moved to KY so rust wasn't an issue. As I said in my other post it had an 88HP 1.9L coupled to a 4 speed with really tall gearing. One other good thing about the Escort was the gas mileage. Very seldom did the mileage drop below 40 mpg and when it did if it was more than a tank or two I knew to be looking for a problem. I worked construction and used it as my work "truck" sometimes driving 150-200 miles a day. I could run it on the interstate with the speedometer needle buried past the max speed of 85 on the speedometer (guessing 90-95 MPH and still usually get 42-45 mpg. I wanted to find out how good of mileage I could get out of it once and drove it on a trip and didn't exceed 55 MPH unless I was coasting downhill, I got over 54 MPG on that tank. It's still sitting here in my yard and the largest rust spot on it is about the size of a baseball on the corner of the trunk lid. The rest of the body is still solid. Although it wasn't the best car on the market as far as comfort it was the best car mechanically I've ever owned in 42 years of car ownership. I do my own mechanical work most of the time so when something would wear out I'd replace it with parts with lifetime warranty so if it wore out again all it cost me was a little bit of time replacing it.
 

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^ That is cool. I love to hear longevity stories like that. Did that 4spd AT make it that whole time too? Half a million miles on an Escort should go in the Henry Ford museum!
 

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'...the primary function of an automaker is not to sell cars, it is to sell PARTS.'

On my '17 Altima you have to remove a side cover behind the pass tire and a flap that is part of the underbelly cover, to get to the oil filter and drain plug on the pan. The fasteners there are the usual plastic pop rivets that you install by hand. Typically they are one time use parts, removing them to reinstall has them flop around much looser than the first time and the service manual says to change them at every service (they say to cut them in half to get them off quick). At the price the rivets will cost, you will spend an extra $20 bill simply getting those ready for every oil change beforehand. I cut the flap off that folded forward to get to the drain plug and I'm going to use jack nuts to replace the pop rivets on the side cover, then I can simply remove screws to them and screw the cover back on tight when done.

To have to come up with 15 or so new pop rivets every time I want to change the oil is just too much. And why I yanked the full underbelly cover on the Versa, to make oil changes 100% faster there too.

I remember the first time I heard of the parts unitizing thing and learned how to read the Ford parts books to figure out what previously separate parts had been combined with other bigger ones to create subassemblies that cost a lot more. Back then the counter guys said that Ford wanted all parts sales to be a minimum of $50, the era of $5 and $10 sales was done.
Car companies' primary purpose is to sell parts and, to an even greater extent, get you to their dealer service departments where you pay more money for them to do a shoddy job "fixing" your car. It costs less to fix our car ourselves AND we do a better job on top of that.

I didn't realize what a pain it is just to change the oil in the Altima. As others have mentioned in this thread, I think it's an awesome car. Having to replace the plastic pop rivets every time is annoying, expensive, a waste of time, and harmful to the environment.

Very true! Most of them were busted off the front and rear bumpers already on our 2015 Versa when I bought it. Some light manageable scuffs is all the damage.

Luckily this Versa has no underbelly covers at all. I think that's the case for all the later model Versa sedans. It does make for a nasty dirty engine bay though.
I'm glad that the Versa is so simple to fix and maintain. Low-maintenance vehicle. Oil changes are so easy.

My wife's 2015 Kia Soul has an engine undercover/underbelly. It has tiny little cutouts for the oil drain plug and oil filter. Unfortunately, those cutouts are so small that I was unable to get enough torque to turn the oil filter and remove it. Even worse, I had already drained the oil because I hadn't known that I wouldn't be able to remove the oil filter. I had to pour new oil into the engine and then take it to the dealer to have the filter removed.

One day, the Soul's undercover went missing. I don't know which dealer took it off and failed to put it back on; I called every dealer that I took that car to and none of them took any responsibility for it. Unfortunately I did not check to confirm that the undercover was put back on after each dealer visit; I guess I have to take this cumbersome step every time because dealerships apparently are thieves or just incompetent.

For what it's worth, Kia sells a replacement undercover for ~$400 just for the part; who knows how much extra it costs for the dealer service department to install it. Blessing in disguise; at least oil changes are easy now that the undercover no longer is in my way.

Yes, and some more: (spelled backwards) Driver Returning On Foot
Hahahaha:rofl: this made my day.
 

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TKO, good point on that. I've not had it happen to me because I've always done my own engine oil changes, but lots of people I know have had belly pans not be reinstalled after a dealer oil change. Stuff like that is inexcusable to me. Figure half the population would never even notice. Maybe more.
 

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They won't notice the under cover missing until they start worrying about the extra 1/10 mile/gallon they think it costs them. Me, it's like the first part I yank as soon as I buy the car. Engine top covers come in there pretty quick too, as well as battery covers. I do it for versatility and ease of maintenance since I do it all myself. Whether or not the engine bay looks cool is not on my radar. 100% function is what I'm after. Redundant covers that have to come off and go back on when they shouldn't even be there is a lowering of the amount of dollar/hour you pay yourself doing the work.

I tend to yank under covers for front end and valance too, they often let the radiator exchange more air, contrary to belief. All under covers come off to be able to see leaks much faster too. The big reason why they use them to begin with, to lower warranty claims, as well as convince the DIYer not to try to take it off, let the dealer do the work instead.
 

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^ That is cool. I love to hear longevity stories like that. Did that 4spd AT make it that whole time too? Half a million miles on an Escort should go in the Henry Ford museum!
It was a 4 speed manual transmission. The clutch was replaced 2 times. Once while my brother had it at around 50K miles. I think one of my nieces that didn't know how to drive a manual transmission drove it a couple time which probably caused excessive wear. The next time it was changed was after I bought it when it had about 310K miles. That clutch was still in it when I quit driving it at 518K miles. I was never hard on clutches. Once I was having a friend replace some bearings in a Mazda pickup transmission and told him to go ahead and replace the clutch/pressure plate/throw out bearing while he had it apart. Later he told me he changed the clutch like I'd requested but said the clutch still looked new at 80K miles.
 
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