Like other Japanese manufacturers, Nissan makes such a large variety of high-quality daily drivers that it is hard to decide which one to pick for new buyers. The Nissan brand is a premier choice for new car buyers because the vehicles have universal appeal and proven durability. The leading car rental agencies always have a large variety of Nissan vehicles in stock because they provide the full range of virtues needed to serve a diverse consumer base. If national rental corporations are willing to invest in large fleets of Nissan vehicles and keep those cars in the hands of strangers without worrying about the risk, it is evident why Nissan is considered to be among the safest investments for any new driver.

Nissan Versa

The Nissan brand is hard to resist because models like the Versa sedan are priced at just over $12,000 brand-new. For most first-time buyers, however, they will want to spend the extra $2,000 for the Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission).

Xtronic CVT®

The CVT is a wonderful feat of engineering. Instead of dropping the engine through a limited set of gears to achieve better performance and fuel economy, the CVT continuously adjusts the virtual gear ratios by adapting a veritable belt driven pulley system. Many manufacturers have found it necessary to upgrade their vehicles with the CVT to meet tighter emissions standards and to increase fuel economy. The CVT provides smoother shifts and a very linear powerband because the transmission can be adjusted to maximize the powerband in any RPM range. The CVT makes the Nissan Versa fun to drive and great on gas: 39 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city.

Upgrading a Barebones Model

Even though the Nissan Versa S base model is considered barebones, for a thrifty first-time buyer who is reluctant to commit to large payments, it is very attractive. The beauty of a barebones vehicle is that you can upgrade it with the optional infotainment system when you have extra money. You can purchase inexpensive washable neoprene seat covers to protect your upholstery from spills, cigarette burns, fading, and staining. These seat covers will make your vehicle interior bulletproof. As a new car owner, you want to focus on value without getting over your head on car payments.

Nissan Sentra

The Nissan Sentra is another great option when it comes to the value and reliability sought after by first-time car buyers. Starting at just over 18,000 for the Xtronic CVT® version, the Nissan Sentra is still very affordable but with more technology. The Sentra comes with power windows and locks. But, most importantly, the Sentra features nearly double the horsepower. The Sentra also comes with ApplePlay and Android Auto matched with a 7″ infotainment display.
There are both great value vehicles. However, the Versa comes in a hatchback and the compact Nissan NOTE models. If you are just looking for an entry-level vehicle that you can upgrade and customize over time, the Versa is great.

Nissan Altima and Maxima

If you are a hard-working adult with a larger budget and really want something that will knock your socks off, the Nissan Maxima and Altima models are really spectacular. These vehicles have bright headlights that are ideal for long cross-country trips in dark rural areas. The engines are fast and come with an optional sports mode setting to juice performance out of the engines with higher shift points and more aggressive fuel-mapping. They handle exceptionally well and have luxurious interiors that may remind you of driving in a spaceship.


The Maxima V6 has nearly triple the horsepower of the Versa. The Maxima is loaded with the maximum number of luxury and safety features. You can get leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the numerous interior features below.
• Auto-Off Headlights
• Heated Steering Wheel
• Keyless Entry
• Keyless Start
• Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel
• Rain Sensing Wipers
• Rear Parking Aid
• Remote Engine Start
• Steering Wheel Controls
• Trip Computer
• Universal Garage Door Opener
• Vehicle Anti-Theft System
This is just scratching the surface. The Maxima and Altima have so many great features that it is difficult to digest them all. You have options within options. Even for something as basic as a speedometer, you have a number of computerized settings that will help you consider your speed from different angles. You may want to see how much fuel is being consumed or what your average speed is on the display. This is additional information to the clear reading of speed on the analog dash display.


First-time buyers come in all shapes and sizes. If your focus is on value, the Versa and Sentra are hard to beat. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck and have a higher budget, the Altima and Maxima are well-worth the upgrade if not for sheer performance power alone.