The Nissan cheat-sheet on the Versa Note claims that it is currently the best selling compact hatchback in America and after a week with the car I can begin to see why. The starting price of the Versa Note is $13,990 and when optioned out it is still a decent deal at just above $19k as our tester was marked. The regular Versa sedan is still the reigning title holder for cheapest car in the US with a starting price around $11k and has always sold fairly well due to the value it offered. The Note offers much more space with the hatch and gives the rather dull looking Versa sedan a dash of style to stand out.
The hatchback styling of the Note looks streamlined and similar to a Honda Fit with large headlights and a nice beltline accentuated by the windows from the side view. The interior is archetypal Nissan with plain grays and blacks but offers decent comfort for the price and nice materials all around. I have a few automotive pet-peeves that the Note set off and the first was that the $19k car didn’t have automatic headlights or bluetooth audio. Those items aside the stereo and navigation were also just acceptable and the navigation could not find 3 locations I entered while travelling throughout the week. The interior leg and head room is fantastic and seemed bigger, at least in headroom, to the newer Nissan Sentra sedan in the rear seats due to the hatchback design.
The rear cargo area is of good size and allows for 18 cubic feet of cargo to load in while the back seats are up. This is about 4 more cubit feet than the normal Versa sedan trunk and seemingly much taller and easier entry. With the rear seats down flat the interior space is seemingly endless with over 38 cubic feet or room and both seats fold down with a quick lever on each side.
The 1.6L engine performed admirably and returned 36 MPG on average with a heavy mix of traffic on the highway. The CVT transmission will always be a pain point for me with any Nissan or Infiniti product but this one gets the job done 80% of the time with little fuss. The other 20% of the time you get an endless revving, running through sand, from of acceleration that is dreadful.
Overall, the Note offers a decent car with great space and great mileage in an affordable and somewhat stylish package. I would love to see the Nissan in base trim as most people will buy it for the value without the fancy backup/overhead camera and sub-par navigation system.[Editor’s Note : My cat was a huge fan of the Versa and can be seen in every photo I took of the car, enjoy spotting him in the photos above]