2015 Mirage vs 2013 Versa - a side-by-side review.
For the last month or so, a longtime friend of mine, a woman who changed my life for the better, has been working with me at a massive facility that manufactures and distributes paper products for a well-known name in the paper industry.
It's a great job for me - 12 miles to work. Very short commute for someone who lives 15 miles from the nearest grocery store.
But for her, it's a different story. 40 miles one way, driving a '05 GMC Envoy which is a nice vehicle, but only manages 16 mpg highway. So she has looked high and low for a small car. She wanted a Mirage, due to the attributes mine has - small, fuel efficient, easy maintenance, reliable as a stone axe.
Sadly, we couldn't find a used one with a CVT in her price range. She DID find a 2013 Nissan Versa SV sedan, 60,000 miles, to the tune of $7,500. After a drive from Collinsville, OK to Pryor, OK (google maps says 33 miles) we are standing in front of a silver Versa with the same stock number - and a big sticker on the windshield that says $9,350. We show the salesman the price shown on the internet, and he says yup, he'd sell it for that price, once he adds on the document fee ($395) and prep fee. ($595) Friend of mine has a cashier's check in the amount of $7,000. We check the car out, and it seems just fine. Great shape for a car with 10,000 miles, and it has 60,000 on it.
The dealer really wants those fees, and our hero stays adamant that she has exactly $7,000, and not a dime more. They keep pushing. Say they'll drop the prep fee which, five minutes ago, they said they couldn't budge on. We leave. She gets a phone call down the road, saying we could get the car for the $7500 OTD price. She says I have $7k. And they'd better decide soon, we are heading home. Another call two minutes later, and she gets the car for $7,000 OTD. Can't budge, indeed. They'd had the car sitting for 133 days.
I was selected to drive the little car home. I'm used to my mirage, of course, and I've never even heard a Nissan Versa run before this one. It also has a CVT which acted strangely similar to the Mirage CVT, with the two speeds. The little car is less responsive than my 5 speed Mirage when you hit the throttle, and I'm positive it's not as fast. The engine in the Mirage sounds much, much better. I much prefer the Mirage's hate-filled industrial growl to the soulless whir of the Versa.
While It doesn't sway as much as a stock Mirage in corners, I am not sure the Versa could beat a Mirage around a corner. It certainly wouldn't stay with mine, but I have better springs than stock. The Versa does ride very nice, and it's much quieter on the inside.
It's a larger car than the Mirage, of course, with a truly massive trunk, decent back seat, big glovebox, and unlike my Mirage, there is cruise control. Fuel mileage was 40-42 according to the display. No automatic heater/ac controls in the Versa. The Versa, being an SV model, has power windows and locks, and I think it has a keyless entry - but we don't have the remote for it. Even the ignition key is strange - just a flat metal key like a 30 year old car. No transponder, and no built in keyless entry remote like the Mirage.
Under the hood, the car is much busier and more cluttered than the Mirage. There is a timing chain, so they got that right, but the accessory belt looks like it will be nigh upon impossible to replace, and the spark plugs look like they are under part of the intake manifold - meaning the intake manifold will have to come all the way off of the car to change the spark plugs - BAD Nissan. Bad. As anyone with a wrench and five minutes can tell you, the Mirage's belt comes off in no time at all, and once you remove the air box (Which involves two 10mm bolts, if I recall) the plugs are easily changed. The Versa's oil filter looks easy to get to, but there isn't the handy little chute beneath it to catch the oil - it just sloshes against the block.
Overall, I can see why the Versa is popular. It's a basic, sad car.
A four wheeled appliance, for those who see driving as a chore.
A conveyance of repressed hopes, devoid of soul.
And that's what many people seem to want.
Boring, not quirky.
A muted whir when they step on the gas, not an angry, wild snarl at the sky and all the humanity that dares live beneath it.
Seamless acceleration, without the mechanical snicking sound of the Mirage's mechanism as it twists out of the way, and pulls back to select the next gear. No positive clicking felt through the palm of your hand. No sound of the clutch cable vibrating when you shift during hard acceleration.
Your experience with the dealer sounds like an experience I had buying a '93 4-Runner from a guy off of Craigslist. We hemmed and hawed, and finally were within $200 of each other. He refused to go any lower. I said, "Well, okay...thanks for your time." I turned to leave. He said to me, "Wait, are you really going to leave over $200??" I smiled and politely retorted, "Are you really going to LET me leave for $200?" And with that, I got in my car and left. I said to my girlfriend, "Just wait...in a couple minutes he will call and say we have a deal." Three minutes later he did just that. I turned around, paid him, and drove it home.
If a dealership lets you leave and doesn't call you back, then you know they really are as low as they can go. Good on your friend for 'turning the screws' and sticking to her guns.
The Versa sounds like the 2015 Corolla S my girlfriend just had as a rental car while her Mirage was in the body shop. I am pretty sure the 'S' stands for 'sport', but this car was about as sporty as a Winnebago.
Just a 3,200 pound scoop of plain vanilla ice cream on wheels. But, as you say, that is what some people want.
The Mirage has character. Some people may not LIKE it's character, but it is on full display when you drive one!