Nissan's Versa Note: Versatile and thrifty
Nissan's small Versa hatchback, renamed the Versa Note for 2014, is a low-priced, high-utility car with an attractive, fresh exterior, notable fuel economy and a surprisingly roomy back seat that accommodates even 6-foot adults.
The five-seat Versa Note offers high-tech features not found in other hatchbacks, such as an all-around-view camera system that lets the driver see what is nearby the car on all four sides.
Drivers will appreciate that the Note with its 109-horsepower, four-cylinder engine is rated by the federal government at 31 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway. This top rating is for Notes equipped with a fuel-thrifty continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Unfortunately, though, the Versa Note's engine power is lower than many competitors'.
And while the Note is a new version of Nissan's Versa line, its safety rating in frontal crash testing isn't any better than the three out of five stars that the longer-running Versa sedan received.
Standard safety features on all Notes include frontal, side and curtain air bags, antilock brakes and electronic stability control.
People must experience the Note's back seat to believe it.
Less than 14 feet long and about the size of a rival Honda Fit hatchback, the Note has 38.3 inches of legroom back there. It's enough to allow 6-footers to extend their legs.
Front-seat passengers in the Versa Note aren't squeezed, either, as legroom up there totals 41.3 inches, on par with some sport utility vehicles.
Just keep in mind that while two adults in back do well, fitting three in the back is tight. Still, back windows are sizable and go down virtually the whole way.
The ride in the test model was noisy. Road and engine sounds were heard all the time, and the CVT kept the driver guessing when engine revving would quiet down.
The commendable fuel economy ratings are not far-fetched. In mostly city driving, the tester averaged 30 mpg, just 1 mpg off from the federal government number. And this was without the driver focusing on top mileage. Fuel mileage was 32 mpg with highway travel added.
Because the Note is 5 feet tall, it affords front-seat passengers a generous 40.8 inches of headroom, which is more than the 39.1 inches in the Fiesta hatchback and a tad more than the 40.4 inches in the front seats of the Fit.
Ann M. Job is an Associated Press contributor
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jobs report fails to provide clarity to investors
- Trimmer Pilot belies more room, power
- U.S. adds 173,000 jobs in August, dropping unemployment rate to 5.1 percent
- Alcoa putting $60M into Upper Burrell tech center expansion
- Fifth Third Bank selling Pittsburgh branches to First National
- Robust jobs report could force Federal Reserve to raise interest rates
- Stocks end roller-coaster day higher
- PPG’s new CEO to push organic growth with existing clients
- Shale gas violations down as DEP steps up inspections
- Judge rules against PPG in lawsuit over pollution
- Indian SUV maker Mahindra to debut electric scooter in U.S.