Yes I know it’s not the most exciting thing talking about an econo-box vehicle. But I thought just maybe it could be jazzed up a little bit and made interesting – we will see how it goes.
The econo-box in question is a brand new 2014 Nissan Versa Hatchback that my wife just picked up. There are a couple of different versions, plus a sedan. We do not think the sedan is very good and apparently not too many other people think much of it either. So, this car is the middle version, the higher end job was another $1700 and besides some foglights and wheels, there wasn’t much there for the additional money. We got this one in a nice pewter grey color with the cloth interior. It has all of the normal basic options, a motor that puts out just over a 100 hp and it is supposed to get 40 mpg. Driving the car is fun, it has enough power to move quickly, the noise level is decent and the basic layout of the car suits us. Out the door for $17k, I think we could have done just a little better but that included all of the taxes and fees that car dealers swindle you with today. Almost a thousand in garbage fees on this little car – and most of which I would have fought them on but the wife had already agreed to the price and wanted the car.
My wife believes that her driving style will get about 44 mpg out of it on the highway – so that is a challenge right there for starters. I actually think the car could go 46-48 but you would really have to pay attention and drive it on the moderate side. Right now, we need to get it broken in and take some readings to see where we stand with it. One of the tools I am going to use to get accurate information is a Scan Gauge. I bought this one a few years ago, and once you learn how to use it, you can really improve your mileage. It can store 4 vehicles and their information and since it plugs directly into the OBDII service port on the car, it is easy to move from vehicle to vehicle.
Our first chore with the new ride was to seal and wax the paint job. This car has a decent paint job on it, very little orange peel in the paint (take a look at some of the new Cadillacs – I would be embarrassed) so I proceeded to give it a good wash job for starters. My normal wash routine is Meguiars wash mix, followed by a really good rinse, then using a small leaf blower to get most of the water off and finishing with an Absorber chamois cloth – nothing beats it. Next we moved the car into the garage and since it was a bit on the warm side, let the car cool down for a couple of hours. I next started the paint sealant job with a product from Surf City Garage in Huntington Beach called Nano Seal. This is applied liberally to the entire painted surface of the car with a microfiber wax applicator and then you allow it to set at least 20 minutes but I like to leave it on for an hour or so to get the most benefit out of it. Taking it off is rather easy using a microfiber towel. Next, I go for Mother’s 100% Carnauba wax. I just don’t think there is anything better on the market. Again, this is applied and removed with microfiber applicator and towel. One of the funny things that I have noticed over the years is that you have a brand new car sitting there and if you drag you finger over the paint, there is not the first bit of wax on it but I bet they try to sell you a 3-500 hundred dollar sealant job before you leave the dealership!
Next on the list is coating the interior with 3m Scotchgard to give it some protection from spills and messes. Once again this is something that can be done at home for a few dollars and will add a lot to your car. You want to make sure that the seats, carpeting, door panel fabric and headliner all get a good even coat. Just make sure you do not need to use the car for 6-8 hours; 24 hours is even better. The longer it has to dry out the better it does.
The last two things for now will be a oil and filter change at the 500 mile mark and a search for some decent wheels to replace the stock steelies and plastic hubcaps. We of course will go with a decent filter, either Wix or Purolator with the factory recommended viscosity in a 100% synthetic. Not sure if it will help mileage but it certainly won’t hurt it either. The replacement of the steel wheels might actually help the mileage a bit by reducing the weight but I really just do not like plastic hubcaps.
Each month, I will be posting any changes made to the car along with it’s MPG number for the month – should be interesting to see how close we get to our predictions.