June 2017 update: I grant that mileage driven on this car (purchased in 2014) is still quite low and that I am a conservative driver, but this car continues to impress. I am starting to resent the reviews of this vehicle in the leading consumer magazine to which I subscribe. They rate this car lower car than the Honda Fit and even the Chevy Sonic (!) but then say that the Fit is "unfit" for long trips and are below average in the "ride/noise" category. Also the Fit's rated reliability is lower than the Note's. As for the Sonic: the back seat is cramped, and the trunk with the seat backs put up, is like a shoebox; mpg's are considerably worse than the Note's and the Sonic's steering is described as "darty". So, for these and other reasons, the Note should be rated higher than the Fit and the Soncic--not lower! Add that steering is a joy, comfort is good, back seat is enormous, and great for trips because of, in part, relatively good "ride/noise". Another point: sales figures of Nissan Versa's (sedans and Notes) FAR outstrip the Fit and the Sonic (ref. www.subcompactculture.com blog). So where does CR come up with their opinions? (My take is that they don't much care for Nissans generally.) Original review: Purchased this SV Note in May 2014 and have over 5,000 miles on it. Went to Mobil 1 low friction oil (0W30) at 3500 miles and increased already excellent mileage by at least 1 mpg, so recommend. Car drives great, handles like a dream and is--for class--quiet from road and engine noise, and has a nice ride. Pump to pump mileage checks show consistently over 40 mpg in warm weather and this includes a wide variety of conditions (including hilly and mountainous) with usually two people aboard. Car looks good to my eye with upright stance (as compared to the Fit, for example.) So, looks good, rides and handles great with outstanding mileage and is enormous inside. Recommend. June 2016 addition to original review: Like this car more than ever. Great room inside, quiet and comfortable for class. Very good for long trips on highways as well as local driving. Excellent ingress and egress (wife and I are in 70's.) MPG's are outstanding. Very mixed driving and 40+ mpg's easily attainable in warm months. (We live in northeast). High/low range: 43 -- 36 depending on time of season. (Petroleum companies change their formulations in the cold months/areas of country so, partially as a result, cold weather driving drives mpg's down--a little known fact perhaps.) We have come to like the CVT; would not likely return to a conventional automatic tranny in any future car. Would buy this car again. Tips: reco the 15" (not 16") alloy wheels. There are a number of good reasons for this which won't go into here (except to say, e.g. looks, comfort, strength, mileage, cost, and so forth. Also recommend low friction oil such as Mobil l 0W30. My mpg's improved at least by 1 with this oil. Finally, please note that this car is now rated highest in category for reliability by CR. A winner!
The Note is an interesting piece in a sea of sameness. Even with only 600 miles on the clock, I've been averaging about 35 miles combined highway and city. I have the SV with the CVT and am very happy with it. It seems to gave enough scoot, but with only 600 miles on the clock, I'm not doing any hard driving yet. The Note is a car where reading the owners manual is a definite plus, though I found a few features on my own. I'll list them in the next section. It's a roomy, reasonably quiet, though the bluetooth and media volume buttons are not intuitive. The up and down button is the phone, while the button going across is the volume control.
This is an update on my previous review. After 26,190 miles, the Nissan Versa Note keeps on going with no complaints. The front seat are comfortable for my 5' 10" medium frame, especially when considering that some of my trips are 12 hours at a stretch. The back seats and leg room are huge. The A/c and heater work fine for the Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado environments. My driving characteristics are moderate, but I like driving to the legal limit, and taking it faster on mountain roads as the standard tires grip well, and the brakes are excellent in spite of deer and elk seem to have a death wish by Nissan Note proxy. It handles well in light snow and wet weather. The wipers are very good. While the power is certainly not its strong suit, it still makes it up Vail or Wolf Creek Pass in remarkable form, especially considering its small engine. The night driving lights are very adequate. I find the car quiet; as quiet as our Toyota Avalon [wife tends to disagree on the Note is not as comfortable, but then we are talking about a high end Toyota], which is again surprising when considering that the Note is essentially an entry level car. It was unfortunately so quiet, especially with an absence of wind noise, that I got caught in west Texas doing 78 in a 65 mile zone. Visibility is very good. A odd finding is that my gas mileage is amazing, particularly in the mountains of northern New Mexico and Colorado, my August and September monthly averages being 45.1 mpg by computer and calculations. This is also noteworthy when you consider that we were carrying a full load during our trips. In Texas, my monthly average is lower at 38.1 mpg, presumably due to the higher density of air [1,000 ft elevation vs. 8,400 ft]. We have had no service, mechanical, or electrical problems, just oil changes and tire rotation every 5,000 miles, and the people at Bates Nissan in Killeen, Tx have been most courteous and prompt in their servicing of this vehicle. Even the standard radio on the SV version is fairly good. The CVT transmission takes a little getting use to, but using both the "power" button on the transmission shifter and your right foot permitted us to pass some slow moving vehicles on mountain roads where forward visibility was limited. One more thing; It feels like you are driving a much bigger car than it is Cons: We wish that the car came with an outside temperature indicator, and the horn seems a bit tinny. Also, on some cold mountain mornings, the dashboard indicated "low tire pressure" but did not indicate which tire it was. There was never a problem once the outside temperature warmed up, but we spent needless time checking to see if we picked up a nail in any of the tires. Also, our previous car had a in-dash compass, which was handy when driving on mountain dirt roads, and hoping that you were going in the right direction. While we found the car essentially basic versus other more expensive "loaded" vehicles, it was user friendly in its relative simplicity. While I could afford a much more expensive vehicle, its excellent gas mileage and low maintenance cost of the Nissan Note, plus the above comments, why spend more on a vehicle that depreciates the instant you take it off the lot when this car seems to satisfy the needs for getting where you want to go in economical and quiet safety. If you need a vehicle to enhance your ego, or need the latest tech stuff, or air-conditioned/heated seats, or a car that tears up concrete, then don't get this car.
I was looking for an economical hatchback to perform chores around town--transporting the dog, carrying bulky items from Home Depot, etc. My first thought was the Honda Fit, but only the top trim level offered the option of in-dash navigation, and it came with leather upholstery, heated seats and other features that I didn't care about. Then I read a comparison article which included the Versa Note and checked it out. Less expensive than the Fit and navigation was available on a lower level trim, the SR. After test driving and shopping several Nissan dealerships, I found just the car I wanted. I've only got 500 miles on it, but I am very pleased so far. I like the looks of this car. The SR comes with sportier alloy wheels, turn signals on the exterior mirrors, a roof spoiler and fog lights. The upright stance means there is a ton of headroom, even for a 6 foot plus person like me. Its tiny engine seems spunky enough to me, as I generally accelerate quickly enough from stoplights. Noise in the cabin is moderate--probably normal for this class of cars. It is quite roomy inside--particularly legroom in the backseat. And I was pleasantly surprised by some of the features , such as automatic door locking, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, a rear center armrest, and trip computer in the instrument panel. The optional navigation screen is smaller than in most cars, but the system works fine and even offers a "birds-eye view". Aspects of the car that are less than satisfying are: 1. no center armrest for the front passenger 2. the door armrests are uncomfortable hard plastic 3. the rear headrests are positioned at a strange and uncomfortable angle 4. the driver's seat is lumpy and would not be comfortable for long-range driving (which I don't intend for this car anyway) 5. strangely, there is no temperature gauge in the instrument cluster for the SR trim only
It took me a while to warm up to my 2015 Nissan Versa Note SV Hatchback but after one year it feels like the CVT has broken in and adapted to my desires/driving style, and I am quite pleased with my new friend. It's not a status vehicle (not my gig), or a super power car (not my gig) - rather, it's a secret beauty delivering a smooth ride, great fuel economy, total cuteness that brings a smile every time I approach it, and strong value. My only complaints are the heating/cooling system which presents a level of frustration in colder months in Minnesota. It seems slow to warm and engages the AC feature for defrosting, therein diminishing fuel economy. Also there is opportunity for design improvement regarding water flow/drip management on door frames and hatchback during rain/snow.