The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is a subcompact, five-door hatchback. Nissan’s smallest model is a best seller, redesigned in 2014 and distinguished from its sedan counterpart with its own styling.
The best selling subcompact in the United States is Nissan’s Versa. Sold in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles, the hatchback was redesigned in 2014 and given the additional “Note” appellation to distinguish it from the sedan. It is a cute, affordable model worthy of its own attention.
No doubt, the Nissan Versa is a low-cost model. It operates in a competitive segment where prices usually begin under $15,000. Clearly, at this price point style is usually not a top priority.
Nissan, however, decided that staying with the status quo isn’t what consumers want. With stylish new hatchbacks from Ford, Chevrolet and Honda now in the mix, the Versa Note provides a look that is closer to what other Nissan products feature including oversized headlamps, optional fog lights and oversized wrap around taillights.
The Versa Note represents Nissan’s version of the typical small, hatchback design, but with a rakish hood, a wide windshield and a tapered roof line. This model comes with color-keyed outside mirrors, available alloy wheels and a liftgate that opens high.
With nearly every car made, you get what you pay for. As far as subcompacts go, you get lots of plastic and the Nissan Versa Note is right in the game. The Versa Note is trimmed with plastic on the dashboard, around the center stack and surrounding the instrument panel.
The driver’s seat is fairly comfortable, offering good support. What you don’t get is a tilt and telescopic steering wheel column, a much desired feature that enhances driver comfort.
There are several important pluses for this model that must be mentioned. First, the interior is roomy. Not too many vehicles in this class can seat five people — two people in the back is ideal, but you can make room for one more in the middle, if desired. Second, this vehicle also comes with standard cloth seating, four-way adjustable bucket seats, front door pockets with bottle holders, front and rear cup holders and front seatback pockets.
Also available are heated front seats with improved upholstery and stitching, steering wheel mounted controls, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port. Every model comes equipped with a four-speaker audio system. Also available is a 4.3-inch display and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Cruise control is offered, but not with the standard model. Where available it comes with steering wheel mounted controls. Power windows and power door locks are included with the SV edition. A cargo area light, rear tie down hooks and a rear defroster are standard. The Versa Note offers 18.8 cubic feet of standard storage space, which expands to nearly 40 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down.
The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. Choose the standard “S” edition and it is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is included elsewhere.
The engine is loud and stays that way when it is on. It provides adequate power off the mark as well as when passing on the highway. There is some lag present when stepping on the accelerator as the CVT holds back slightly when pushing up to highway speeds.
Fuel economy is one of the Versa Note’s strongest attributes. This model is rated at 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for a combined 35 mpg. With judicious driving you should attain those numbers. This vehicle runs on regular grade gasoline.
Choose the SL Tech package and your Versa Note gets an Around View monitor, a system that utilizes four tiny super wide angle cameras mounted on the front, back and sides of the vehicle to give you a virtual 360-degree view of everything that surrounds the vehicle.
This technology is common to luxury vehicles but nearly unheard of in small models. It is especially helpful for guiding the driver into the tightest of all parking spaces as well as to see children and pets nearby.
Another upgrade is NissanConnect, which includes Nissan’s navigation system with hands-free text messaging. This technology nullifies distracted driving as the driver keeps his hands on the wheel at all times when issuing commands. No need to touch the smartphone — NissanConnect does it for you. Other upgrades include push-button start, hands-free calling and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Small cars typically have a more difficult time achieving high marks in the usual safety tests. For 2014, the Nissan Versa Note received mixed results in crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The hatchback scored the IIHS’ highest rating of “Good” in moderate overlap front and head restraints & seats and “acceptable” for side and roof strength tests. The Versa Note was not tested for the IIHS’ small overlap front test.
All Versa Note models are equipped with vehicle dynamic control, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Moreover, every model comes equipped with front, front side and side impact air bags. This model is also outfitted with an energy absorbing steering column and child safety rear door locks.
If price were the sole determiner of a car’s value, the Nissan Versa Note would win by a landslide. The hatchback is priced at a rock bottom $13,990 ($2,000 more than the base sedan). Add in nearly every conceivable option and your price stays below $20,000. A well optioned model can be had for under $18,000.
There are other subcompact hatchbacks that also offer very good value. But for the best bang for the buck, the Versa Note is the clear pricing leader. The Versa Note also excels with numerous tech features, competitive cargo space and good fuel economy for the segment. If you’re in the market for a diminutive hatchback, the Nissan Versa Note is worth a test drive.