By Cars.com EditorsJuly 9, 2015
About the video
Editor's note: This review was done in August 2013 about the 2014 Nissan Versa Note. Little of substance has changed with this year's model.
This cars.com video shows a 2014 model that got very few changes for 2015. You can compare the two model years on cars.com. Thanks for watching and enjoy the video. (trunk slamming) (upbeat music) (brakes squealing) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com.
The Nissan Versa hatchback has always been an important part of the Versa lineup, but when Nissan redesigned the Versa sedan for 2013, it left the hatchback behind. Not to fear, Versa enthusiasts. All 15 of you. The Versa hatchback is back for 2014 now, as the Versa Note. It's been completely redesigned. It follows the styling inside of the Versa sedan. Actually looks a lot better on the outside than the Versa sedan, which had about as much visual appeal as a bowl of plain oatmeal. I guess that makes the Versa Note sorta like oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins or something. But it still has a lot of value, a lot of practicality, and a lot of room inside. We'll take you through it. Despite being about an inch taller and the same width as the Versa sedan, the Versa Note has a very planted appearance compared to it sedan sibling. A lot of that is because of the visual elements here up front. Check this out. These headlights, they extend inward here, right up next to the grill. A much shapelier grill. Same could be said about the lower opening here along the bumper and the fog light openings. You come around the side, the Versa Note, still a pretty long car, about 163 inches long. That's about a foot shorter than the Versa sedan, but still pretty long for this class. Longer than competitors like the Honda fit, the Ford Fiesta, the Chevy Sonic, the Hyundai Accent hatchbacks. That translates to the inside, which has plenty of headroom, plenty of leg room for you to stretch out here. The dashboard is very shelf like. There's not a lot of stuff here blocking some of your knee space. Interesting setup Nissan has for the height-adjustable driver's seat. It's got a jack style adjuster here. You can kind of ratchet the seat up and down. Typical height adjustable seats kind of move the whole seat forward with the seat back and the lower bottom cushion as you're adjusting the seat. This one only moves the lower bottom cushion. So as you come down, you actually get less thigh support. The lumbar or the seat back changes as well on you as you're kind of dialing it up or down. The advantage is that if you have the seat all the way up, plenty of space to move it back. So people above six feet tall who like to sit up high, will have plenty of space. That doesn't mean that you're necessarily gonna get the perfect fit up here because the Versa Note does not have a telescoping steering wheel. It's only tilt adjustable. And it seems like it's awfully close to the instrument panel. Speaking of panels, a lot of cheap materials here, even for this class. Hard kind of grainy plastics along the dash and doors. No padding here for your elbows to fall. Strangely enough, the Versa Note though, does offer a lot of very premium technology features. Things like a navigation system, Nissan's 360 degree around view monitor system here, heated cloth seats, a lot of technology, despite the fact that the cabin materials are kind of crappy. Passenger volume in the Versa Note, about 94 cubic feet. Excellent for this class. It actually beats all of those competitors we mentioned earlier. It's ahead of the Fiesta hatchback by nearly 10 cubic feet. And you can see it in the back seat here. That's where I'd sit to drive. Leg room here from the backseat is abundant. I've got tons of headroom as well. Let's take a look at the cargo area. Cargo room behind the rear seat's about 19 cubic feet. Pretty competitive with those other hatchbacks. Now the Versa Note has a new feature called divide and hide. It's a divide and hide cargo organizer, cargo floor divider. Nissan says, what it does is basically allows you to hide a few things under here and keep a flat load floor as you fold the seats down. Now, if you have the seats up and you wanted something that's a little taller to fit in back here, this thing kind of collapses into the floor here and allows you to put taller things in there. Maximum cargo room with all the seats down, close to 40 cubic feet. Not as competitive. Better than cars like the Fiesta. Smaller certainly than cars like the Honda Fit. So maximum cargo volume isn't exactly the Versa Note's strong suit. Neither really is drivability. The continuously variable automatic transmission that's optional, included on our test car, pairs with a very small four cylinder engine for adequate pep around town. Not a ton of passing power on the highway, but it does deliver an EPA estimated 31 miles per gallon city, 40 miles per gallon highway. Ride quality is soft, but clumsy, and handling is also clumsy. Cars like the Honda Fit, the Ford Fiesta deliver much better on this front. But chances are, you weren't looking at the Versa Note for any of those reasons. No, you were looking at it for its price tag. The Note starts at under $15,000, including the destination charge. That's around $600 to around $1,400 under competitors like the Fit, the Accent, the Fiesta, the Sonic hatchbacks. You get up to features like power windows, power door locks, Bluetooth, and automatic transmission. The Note can still be had for under $17,000, including the destination charge. Again, that's around $1,000 to as much as almost $4,000 under those competitors with similar features. Affordability remains the Note's calling card. I think lot of buyers are gonna take Note for that reason. (engine humming) (engine revving)