In this ever-growing subcompact segment, which sees 10 hatchbacks below $15,000 (there are more than 30 below $25K), the Nissan Versa Note ticks most of the necessary economy hatchback boxes. But there are several more refined and/or exciting choices out there for you.
PerformanceWith a meager 109-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, non-traditional transmission and uninspiring handling, the Versa Note offers little in terms of performance. Economy car seekers will care not, but driving enthusiasts will be left cold.
Nearly 18 seconds to run the quarter-mile isn't going to break any records, and neither will 0-60 in 10.4 sec. The SV model's continuously variable transmission (CVT) draws deserved criticism.
An uncharacteristically firm pedal and quick response for this econo segment. Still, in Edmunds testing the Versa Note required 125 feet to stop from 60 mph, slightly longer than average.
Perhaps the worst part of this car, the Versa's fuel-saving electric-assist power steering offers artificial, springy feedback and lackluster response.
Despite the lack of dynamic feedback, the Versa Note managed to show reasonable handling prowess. But we still wouldn't classify taking corners in the Versa as fun, nor confidence-inspiring.
In spite of its tepid performance, the Versa Note is a willing day-to-day driver. Its small size makes it a good grocery-getter and an easy parker. The high-winding CVT can be annoying.
ComfortBelow average seat comfort, a small-car ride, and seemingly little effort from Nissan to minimize wind, road and engine noise. Hence the lackluster scores in these categories.
A rare instance where the rear seats offer more room/comfort than the fronts. The lumpy buckets offer decent adjustment but little lateral support. And the driving position is awkward.
Typical small-car ride comfort. That means it feels busy over bumps, and it's susceptible to crosswinds. Others in the segment do a better job here.
Wind, tire and engine noise are noticeably evident most of the time, and will prove excessive for some.
InteriorA few clever and unexpected measures offset the usual subcompact interior qualities/liabilities. The Versa Note SV's materials are notably better than those on the lower trim levels.
Drivers of slightly above-average height will find the ergonomics challenging. The driving position, armrests and placement of window switches feel out of place.
Easy entry/exit both front and rear. Of note (no pun intended), the rear doors open approximately 90 degrees for unusually good access when your parking space allows for it.
Rear seat room is excellent, particularly leg room. The cabin feels open and airy for such a small car.
We found the sight lines above average for a hatchback, with no egregious blind spots. The optional rearview and around-view cameras are unusual for this segment.
The available trunk space seems smaller than the 21.4/38.3 cu-ft of claimed luggage capacity. But the rear seats do fold flat and there's a clever 2-tiered cargo floor (optional).
ValueDecent build quality, exceptional available options and good fuel economy contribute to the value of the Versa Note.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The overall build quality of the Versa Note is commensurate with the price point across the trim levels. But even our top-level SV test car reminds you that you're in an economy car.
The car's basic features are decent. But the optional pushbutton start, heated seats, touchscreen nav w/traffic, weather, satellite radio, around-view monitor, etc. are rare for this class.
While the Versa sedan starts at $12,800, the Versa Note hatchback begins at $14,800. Our loaded SV test car rang up at $19,300. Overall, the Versa Note is competitively priced.
We achieved 32 mpg over 300 miles of mixed driving, but that's not enough miles to confirm or deny the EPA's respectable rating of 35 mpg Combined (31 City/40 Highway).
The 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 5-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranties are equal to the industry average, but well below what the Hyundai Accent offers.
Edmunds owned and maintained a previous-generation Versa hatchback for a year without incident. For added peace of mind, roadside assistance is standard for 3 years/36,000 miles.
Fun To DriveIf you're looking to have fun while driving, look elsewhere. This is a commuter car, period.
Minimal driver involvement, numb steering, surging engine sound due to the stepless CVT transmission. It's not a bad driving experience, but it's certainly not a memorable one.
We appreciate the new styling and interesting options, but you'll never think of the Versa Note as anything but an econo-hatch.
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