I had the pleasure of representing MomStart during the 2014 Nissan Versa Note Media Preview in San Diego a few weeks ago. It was an opportunity to drive and learn about their new 2014 Versa Note hatchback. Prior to the trip I knew nothing about the Nissan Versa line of cars. While we shopped for a car two years ago, Nissan wasn’t one of the brands we looked at. At the time we assumed they were out of our price range. It turns out we were wrong.
2014 Versa Note
The 2014 Versa Note is an affordable car that while small, is engineered to give you the maximum space. As a 5’ 10” overweight woman, I found the car completely comfortable – something I can’t say for our own Honda CRV. The seatbelt didn’t dig into my thigh and the seat molded beautifully to my body. I loved that the seat had plenty of adjustability so I was able to sit with my back straight and arms extended for both my comfort and safety and I never once had to worry about hitting the ceiling – its ample 40.8 inches of headroom gave a spaciousness that’s not available in a lot of cars I drive.
Nissan Versa Note Test Drive
I was randomly assigned a driving partner which to my luck was a fellow blogger named Mike from DayTrippingMom.com. He’s a local so we took some alternative routes that gave us a chance to try out the car in heavy, stop and go traffic and I’m happy to report that the Nissan Versa Note performed beautifully! The air conditioning kept up with the heat of sunny Southern California even when fair traffic had us stalled through several cycles of the same traffic light. Even during our time in the infamous stop and go California freeway traffic, the temperature gauge didn’t budge.
But we also challenged the Versa Note out on the open road – a two lane highway with skydivers coming down seemingly on top of us. The Nissan Versa Note handled the curves like a champ though I admit I became queasy which is pretty normal for me. The road noise was minimal and the comfort of the car pretty fantastic.
As we toured in the car we talked about how this one stacked up against others we’ve driven. We also sorted out the packages available from the standard model to the deluxe and found ourselves each somewhere in the middle. I believe the car we were driving was the SL package – it had the Intelligent Key which allows you to start the car with the key in your pocket, intermittent wipers, back-up camera (which I personally believe should be required safety requirement on every car) and heated seats. It was plenty for me – I don’t want more things to distract me from driving like Google Send-to-Car.
At one of the day’s pit stops we had the opportunity to check out the car’s cargo capacity and it was pretty impressive While I’d never carry a surfboard myself, it’s nice to know I could make my regular IKEA runs without having to rent a truck. The 60/40 split fold down seats allow for some creative loading options while still allowing for a passenger’s comfort. The innovative Divide-N-Hide® Adjustable Floor gives you the convenience and safety of a trunk in a hatchback – I loved this feature.
And speaking of passengers, for a small car this one’s got plenty of legroom. To test it out, we picked the tallest fellow in the group, a 6’ male and put him in the front seat and one of the shortest people by chance, a 5’ woman in the back. The back seat’s 38.3 inch leg space gave them both plenty of room.
The car is rated at 40 mpg highway, 31 mpg city and 35 mpg combined city/highway fuel efficiency. Not bad for a gasoline engine. But it gets some help to reach that fuel economy by some interesting features. The first is an Active Grille Shutter system which closes when the car reaches 20-25 mps to reduce the aerodynamic drag. There’s also “boomerang” tail lights which each have four openings on their flared outer lips to help reduce wind turbulence on the back of the vehicle. They also reduced the weight of the car by 300 pounds from their previous model – that’s the weight of a NFL player – so some significant gas savings. It also has the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and the SL Package adds Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert system. Keeping your tires at the proper pressure goes a long way in fuel efficiency.
The Nissan Versa Note has front and rear crumple zones as well as an advanced airbag system. The Around View® Monitor provides a virtual 360° view around the vehicle which assists in parking – you can literally park the car without looking outside the windows – which means you can see hazards you would miss without it. It’s standard in the SL Tech Package and provides additional selectable split-screen close-ups of the front, rear and curb views.
For you car people, you probably want to know more about the engine. It’s a 1.6 liters, 109 horsepower, 107 lb-ft of torque, 4 valves per cylinder (starting on the S Plus model and up). Yea, for the rest of us that means that it’s got enough horsepower to get you going.
The 204 Nissan Versa Note’s MSRP * are as follows:
- Model S – $13,990 – 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, 15" x 5.5" steel wheels with wheel covers, Air conditioning, AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary audio input jack
- Model S Plus $15,240 – 35 combined and 40 hwy MPG, 109-hp 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine, Xtronic CVT®, Active grille shutter, Cruise control
- Model SV $15,990 – Upgraded cloth seat trim, Power Windows and Door Locks, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Remote keyless entry, 6-way manual driver’s seat with armrest
- Model SV with SL Package $17,690 – 6" x 6.0" aluminum-alloy wheels, Fog lights, Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, RearView Monitor , Heated front seats
- Model SV with SL Tech Package $18,490 – Around View® Monitor, NissanConnect℠ with Navigation, Hands-free text messaging assistant, Streaming audio via Bluetooth® [*]
I loved the Nissan Versa Note and while I know their target audience is the 30-something crowd, this 50-something is putting this on the list of cars to consider on our next purchase. I’m still driving my 7-passenger “mom” van and it kills me to look back and see all those empty seats. I want a car that’s got great gas mileage, room to haul the occasional flower pot or IKEA bookcase, and dependable enough to keep me off the side of the road. We’ll be buying a new car in the next year – I’m really looking forward to seeing what can compete with the Nissan Versa Note for our dollars. My ONLY complaint is that none of the models offer a sun/moon roof and I swear my next car will have one. We’ll see if I’m willing to give up this one item on my wishlist.
For more information:
Nissan Versa Note website or test drive the Versa Note at your LOCAL NISSAN DEALER. You can also connect with Nissan on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, YOU TUBE, and GOOGLE+ * MSRP excludes applicable tax, title, license fees and destination charges. Dealer sets actual price.