By Mike Hanley on February 6, 2014
Competes with: Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit
Looks like: The Versa Note you know, now with a sport-themed SR trim level
Drivetrain: 109-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder with five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2014
Nissan's value-oriented four-door hatchback gains two new trim levels for the 2015 model year: the performance-themed SR, which makes its debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, and a top-of-the-line SL version. In addition to the new SR and SL trims, all Versa Notes gain standard Bluetooth connectivity for 2015.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but expect the new trims to be priced higher than the 2014 Versa Note SV, which starts at $16,800 including destination. The 2015 Versa Note hits dealerships in spring 2014.
The new Versa Note SR gets a number of unique styling cues including a different grille, smoked headlights and fog lights with black and chrome trim. There's also a new rear spoiler, 16-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires and SR badges.
The SR's cabin gains a number of cosmetic changes, too, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel that Nissan says is inspired by the automaker's 370Z sports car, suedelike seats with orange accents, and piano-black and silver-colored trim. Standard SR features include six-way adjustable front seats and a CD stereo with an MP3 jack.
Nissan previously offered an SL Package for the 2014 Versa Note, but the new SL trim makes a number of otherwise-optional features standard. They include a 5-inch color screen, a backup camera, Bluetooth streaming audio, USB connectivity for portable devices, satellite radio, a height-adjustable cargo floor and NissanConnect Apps. NissanConnect Apps integrates smartphone-based apps like Facebook, Twitter and Pandora. Also standard are heated front seats, push-button start and Nissan's Easy-Fill Tire Alert system.
Despite the new SR trim level's sport-themed appearance it uses the same engine as all the other Versa Note models: a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder. Most versions of the hatchback team with a continuously variable automatic transmission, and with the CVT the Versa Note gets an EPA-estimated 31/40/35 mpg city/highway/combined.
Standard features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, traction control, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags.
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike