It doesn’t seem like the Nissan Versa has been around for nine years. What might be the confusion (at least for me) is the Nissan Versa Note (the hatchback version). It debuted in the summer of 2013 as a 2014 model to replace the Nissan Versa hatcback.
And with the 2015 Nissan Versa Note, the subcompact already has changes. It’s now also available in SR and SV trims, increasing consumers’ options to five trims.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
As an entry-level sub-compact, what exactly can a consumer expect for a vehicle with a base price of $17,530.00? That’s less than half of the average price of new car in the United States.
The answer, depending upon trim and option packages, is a lot. The Nissan Versa Note is among nearly a dozen vehicles priced between $15,000-$20,000 that offer value pricing (read: cheap) but don’t drive cheaply and don’t give the appearances as vehicles to completely avoid.
My test car for week was the Nissan Versa Note’s SR trim. The sporty-looking model adds 16-inch alloys, foglights, unique front and rear fascias, a unique grille, a dark headlight treatment, body-color side sill spoilers, a rear spoiler, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a sport steering wheel, suede upholstery, sport front seats and a rear-seat center armrest with cupholders.
The optional Convenience package was also included, and it featured: A five-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, satellite radio, and a USB/iPod interface. Bluetooth audio connectivity, smartphone application integration and a rear cargo area divider.
It’s hard to imagine driving the Note without its optional packages — with the exception of its strong entry level MSRP.
Like I experienced driving last year’s model, the navigation system, heated mirrors, Bluetooth, parking camera, etc., made me feel like I was driving far more than a basic transportation vehicle.
I liked the exterior design and open feel of the Nissan Versa Note. It has 10 windows and the seating capacity is surprisingly spacious. There’s plenty of headroom and legroom for front and backseat occupants.
Like any competent sub-compact, the Nissan Versa Note is at its best in tight places and for urban responsibilities. Its 1.6-liter engine bears only 109 horsepower and that’s not much.
It may not be an issue for some potential buyers, but others need the comfort of knowing they have adequate power when needed. With the Nissan Versa Note, that could be a question mark.
Great base price.
Great fuel economy with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Noisy at high speeds.
Facts & Figures: 2015 Nissan Versa Note
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 9.6 seconds.
Fuel economy: 31 mpg (city), 40 mpg (highway), 34 mpg (combined). CVT automatic transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $17,530.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.nissanusa.com.
Price As tested: $19,180.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/unlimited miles.
What Others Say:
“Although visually unremarkable, what makes the Versa so attractive is that it doesn’t cost much, holds its value fairly well, delivers excellent fuel economy and has an abundance of space for both passengers and cargo. In fact, the Versa features 90 cu ft. of interior volume. Impressively, there is more rear legroom than in a BMW 5 Series or a Mercedes-Benz E-Class.” — AutoTrader.
“The 2015 Nissan Versa sedan provides comfortable, spacious and inexpensive transportation, and comes with a generous choice of available amenities. Just don’t expect much in terms of personality or driver engagement.” — Edmunds.
“Rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Honda Fit are more fun to drive, but none can touch the Versa’s starting price.” — Kelley Blue Book.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“The Nissan Versa Note provides further proof that the sub-compact segment features a lot of quality vehicles that all help redefine the term ‘entry level’ for the better.”