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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Coming from econo cars that got highs of 50MPG highway, I first looked at the Nissan Versa w/CVT. Three months ago, bot(bought) the SE Caliber 2 liter w/CVT for $14,000 when Nissan only marketed their CVT in their expensive Versa models. But recently test drove a Versa & here's my comparison uptake.

Caliber weighs about 250 lbs more than Versa & is nearly a foot longer. However, because of Caliber's lack of space efficiency between the firewall & the instrument panel facing & its rear exterior, the Versa has better rear seat foot & leg room. Also, the Caliber & Versa have similiar frontseat & rear seat down cargo room.

Caliber vs. Versa HP is 158 & 122, a large difference. Caliber vs. Versa torque is: 141 at 5000rpm & 127 at 4800rpm, somewhat less of a difference.

Both engines w/CVTs are computer controlled & give each car weak acceleration from 0 to 20mph. This fact may be because the Jatco CVTs in both cars, despite having strong carbon graphite fiber pulleys, are being given an extra measure of surety of long life. Past CVTs with rubberized pulleys were not reliable. On my test drive I felt the Versa began feeding full engine power to the CVT above 20mph quicker than the Caliber. But the higher HP of the Caliber causes it to have better passing ability at higher speed. But neither car is meant for performance.

For smaller cars, engine & wind noise are low on both cars. Road & tire noise is much higher in the Caliber to the extent that it decreases radio & CD player enjoyment.

There is an L position on each CVT which helps in slowing each car without the use of brakes. The Versa L has more effective engine braking than the Caliber. People with lots of hills in their area would find the Versa better at saving brakes.

For my aging eyes I love the Caliber's white instrument backgrounds far more than the Versa's black instrument backgrounds. Also, the Caliber's soft electric blue lighting at nite is more restful. Again, the Caliber's middle gray & beige interior plastics as opposed to the Versa's dark to black interior plastics lend the Caliber's interior a lighter airier presence. The effect is quite dramatic between the 2 cars. I've also noticed one silver Honda Fit & its interior has very dark plastics like the Versa.

Since I'm a featherfooter, my Caliber has reached nearly 35MPG on flat backcountry highways despite Caliber's EPA highway rating of 30MPG. To be happy with the Versa, I would have to get 40+MPG highway. Both cars have 13+gallon gastanks. My Caliber should be able to reach 400miles on a tank of gas on careful highway driving. A well tuned Versa may approach 500miles per tankful.

The standard Caliber radio w/single CD player has better speakers than even the Versa's extra cost radio with 6 CD player. However, the standard Caliber antenna is not good & you need a replacement if you have marginal radio reception.

Since my Caliber seems to have avoided a number of problems other Caliber owners have had & also gets very nice mileage, I would not want a Versa now. And that's saying a lot with my past experience with very high gas mileage.
 
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