Nissan Versa Note 2014 with Mike

Hybrids are all the rage, but how about a more affordable traditional gas vehicle that gets 40 mpg? Daytripping Dad,  Mike was down in San Diego recently to check out the all new Nissan Versa Note, which not only gets great gas mileage but is also fun to drive.  Mike tells us about his adventure.

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Mike here.  I always like when I get the chance to test drive a brand new car. I’m also a big Nissan fan. My first new car purchase was the 2001 Nissan Frontier. I loved that truck and I miss it. I ended up trading it after two years for a smaller fuel efficient car due to having a longer commute to work.  Had Nissan had something like the new Versa Note, I very likely would have chosen this vehicle.

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The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is an all new, small compact car that competes in a very tight market segment with other small cars like the Honda Fit, the Toyota Yaris and the Chevy Sonic.  It is subcompact hatchback sedan that achieves 40 MPG on the highway and starts at around $14,000 and goes up to just over $19,000 to get all the nice bells and whistles.  The car handles really well and has amazing headroom and comfortable seats. I got to take it for a drive around some San Diego back roads. It’s very smooth and the new 2nd generation CVT transmission makes for a quick acceleration. CVT is constant variable transmission. It does not shift gears in the way that you are used to in a typical car. Our Nissan Rogue has the older version of the CVT and this new one is even slicker.

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Shaper Studios, San Diego

Along the way, Nissan had us make some stops along the way. One of the places was Shaper Studios. It’s a unique business where you can take a class and learn to make your own surfboards. Once you have taken a class and made one, you can come back whenever you want to make more. It’s quite a fascinating process and the people there were very excited to show us how it all works.

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My first car was a Hyundai Excel hatchback. Ever since that time, I’ve always been fond of the 3rd or 5th door on a car. It provides easy access for storing of cargo, especially things like groceries. There is also the Versa sedan with a traditional trunk, but it does not feature the new styling of the Versa Note which is a hatchback.

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Things that really impressed me with this vehicle include the fact that the Versa Note is 302 pounds lighter than the previous generation. That’s not an easy task for car makers but it really adds to the great fuel economy on this car.  The tech package includes the around view monitor, which uses cameras to see around all parts of the car making it even easier to park safely. The tech package also includes the NissanConnect which provides navigation, and BlueTooth integration for things like Pandora and hands free text messaging. All this new technology on cars is just fun. I want a new car just to have these features. This car has lots of room. Adults fit comfortably in the back seats which means getting three kids back there would be a breeze.

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 The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is on sale at dealerships now.  We were not compensated for this post. Nissan invited us for a media preview of the new car. The opinions are all Mike’s.

 

Ford Focus preview and Idol chat

Memorial day weekend is a popular time for people to test-drive and buy new cars.  Before you go out, you might want to read a bit about my experience previewing the latest technology from Ford.  This past week, I was invited up to Los Angeles to test drive the new Ford Focus.

You might have seen other cars that can parallel park themselves, but until you actually try it in a Ford, you have no idea how cool this is!  We drove up to Dodger Stadium, using the Ford Sync Touch system in the car (which is also the simplest voice activated GPS/radio/hands-free phone technology to date).  Once there we got to actually use the built in system that allows the car to park itself.  You do still have to control the gas and brakes, but the steering is all done by the car.

No hands, it steers itself into place

 

Additionally, we also were given demonstrations of the latest version of the Microsoft and Ford Sync program.  It comes in two versions, Sync and Sync Touch.  Sync also easily connects to you cell phone via Bluetooth to access all your contacts and even apps like Pandora which then will stream through the audio system and respond to voice command.  Sync also allows you to plug in an air card/wireless usb modem and turn your vehicle into a mobile hotspot.  I could go on and on with the amazing device.

The newly redesigned Focus is green-conscious and even uses a soy-based foam interior for the seats.  This is not the same old Ford you used to know. Many of these features can also be found in the new Fiesta, Explorer and Escape vehicles too.

 

After the drive we were invited by Ford to the American Idol Finale and After Party. It was an incredible experience! Seeing all those performers in one night was amazing.  We also were able to go to the after party and rub shoulders with Idols of the past.  Yes, even Sanjaya.

Disclaimer: This is not a compensated post. I was invited by Ford  to attend the American Idol finale and after party. However, all of the opinions are my own.