*Author's note: I am in no way, shape or form, getting paid to write this but wish I was. Maybe someone from Car and Driver or even Nissan will happen upon this and learn something from an actual customer.*
I will never go back to owning any car with an automatic transmission, especially one that is a CVT. Antique vehicles would be the only exception. Lesson learned the hard way. A few months back I did a post about the 2014 Nissan Versa Note I had recently bought. You can read that HERE if you want to. Car and Driver had it right when they stated that "you could do worse than having a 5-speed manual in this car...you could buy the one that was CVT equipped." Unfortunately, the article did not come out until the winter and I had bought the first Note in July of 2013. It wasn't until December that I found out about not one, but two recalls on the early models. Both problems were minor and eventually fixed. A couple other foibles of the CVT-based model: The front seat belts had an irritating way of knocking against the b-pillar when not in use. Also, if your front seat isn't adjusted properly (in my case to far forward), you have to be a contortionist to get at the belt. I noted all the problems areas in my J.D. Power survey.
|It only took one test drive to get back into gear.|
What I can't believe is how bad these things (CVTs) really are. The "acclaimed" mileage is a joke. As one who has owned both the CVT and 5-speed models, I can attest to the 5-speed being the better choice. I've driven both cars as far as Lower Virginia (from Massachusetts), along the I-81 corridor. Lots of nice hills to climb.
Let's compare: The CVT-based car can't get out of its own way, literally. You can forget about merging into traffic unless your foot is to the floor. And only then you'd be lucky not to get crunched by that fast-approaching semi. Climbing hills? Yeah. Right. The CVT caused the engine to go into warp drive when getting anywhere near a hill, much less a mountain. The tach ran anywhere from 4,000-5,100 RPM just to keep up to the speed limit. The end result for this trip is that I averaged 29.2 MPG. A bit better than the guys at C&D did but then they were driving the manual. After seven months my over-all mileage was 37.2 combined. Meh.
End result? My money's on the 5 speed. Better acceleration, better mileage and a whole lot more fun to drive. No more complaints.