2016 Toyota Yaris vs Nissan Versa Note, Used College Car for 15K and Where is Porsche? [Ask Nathan]

Team TFL on the Road
Team TFL on the Road

In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • Toyota Yaris vs Nissan Versa Note?
  • Used College Car for 15K?
  • Where is Porsche?

Nissan Versa Note Color Studio | LA Auto Show

Today’s first question comes from a viewer who is comparing a Nissan Versa Note to a Toyota Yaris.

Q: Hello Big Nathan, I need your help!

Simple question: I am looking at spending exactly $17,000 on a new hatch back. I want something simple and reliable with a manual transmission. I have narrowed my choices to the Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa Note. I like the looks of the Nissan but I know that the Toyota has proven reliability.

If you had to choose one, which one would it be?

Thanks man, tell the boys I said hi!

Glenn C

2012 toyota yaris in the snow

A: Hi Glenn!

My answer is as simple; I would go with the 2016 Toyota Yaris. There is nothing new under the 2016 Toyota Yaris’ skin, it even carries over the ancient four-speed automatic transmission. The thing is: the 2016 Toyota Yaris is simple, solid and reliable. The new interior is pretty nice and its updated design is contemporary.

Both the Yaris and Versa Note make less than 110 hp and neither is about to dominate a drag-strip, but if you wanted power, you would have mentioned it (and I would have suggested a Korean car). As it stands, both vehicles handle well and are fairly comfortable to drive. The 2016 Toyota Yaris has a more secure driving feel and the seats are very comfortable for an entry-level car.

Don’t get me wrong, the Nissan Versa Note is a great economy car, but it’s not exactly in the same league.

Best of luck!


One more thing. If you are willing to stretch the budget a hair, please look at the Honda Fit. It is the best car in this class.


This next question comes from a fan who wants a good, used car for college that costs less than $15,000 – but there’s a catch.

Q: Hooray for The Fast Lane Car! I love you guys! Nathan, I am headed to college in Michigan (I’m from West Texas) and I need a good used car for under $15,000. My 2005 Suzuki Reno is half past dead and I need a good snow car. The other thing I need is space because I am in a wheelchair. It’s no big deal, I’m able to drive any car with an automatic transmission, but I want more space than I have with my current hatchback.

I know it’s a lot to ask, but I want something that has a little pizzazz too. I’ve seen the Subaru Outbacks, I know you would recommend it, but I am not into its looks. Is there something else out there? Everyone I ask (mostly my dad and uncles) act like experts and try to push me into a GMC Yukon. I’m not a big fan. I want something more enjoyable and smaller!

My stepmom wants to give me her Chrysler Atlantic, but it always seems to be in the shop.

I’m so frustrated.

Help me Nathan!


Andrea P

A: Hi Andrea!

Just say “NO” to the Chrysler Atlantic! There are a ton of choices out there, but I wanted to focus on two possibilities. The first one is the 2007 – 2012 Mazda CX-7. Great handling vehicle with available all-wheel drive (AWD) and an optional turbocharged engine. It’s a hoot to drive and the cargo area has good space for your wheelchair.

The next vehicle is Honda Element. This is one of the most utilitarian vehicles out there with a ton of space and multi-configurable seating. They are easy to drive, have a ton of personality and are available with AWD. Great vehicle for starting a new life as a college student.

Check out the comments section, I’m sure a few suggestions will follow this post.

Best of luck Andrea!


Porsche 911 Carrera GTS RSF

The last question comes from a text that questions our lack of Porsche reviews.

Q:Why don’t you review Porsche any more? You review Mercedes and Bentley, why not Porsche?

2016, porsche, 911, turbo, hybrid, electric

A: Hi. We don’t know.

Seriously, I have no idea why Porsche is avoiding the Rocky Mountains. This happened a few years back, then came back for a few years. Now, once again, they are withholding vehicles from the fleet in this region.

Hopefully, Porsche will return soon.

In the meantime, we have a special Porsche TFLcar just purchased for a new project series. Stay tuned!



Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com

nathan adlen Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.