When the 2013 Nissan Versa sedan debuted last year, conspicuously absent was the Versa hatchback, one of the model's better sellers. However, Nissan is rectifying the situation with the 2014 Nissan Versa Note. "Note" is what the Versa hatchback is called in the rest of the world, and like the Versa sedan, it offers up a surprisingly large interior and premium technological features, but at a lower price than most of its competition.
Who It's For
Tiny cars like the Chevrolet Spark have started trickling into the U.S. with surprising utility, a compelling price, and a new-car warranty. The Nissan Versa Note competes with such cars in price, despite having markedly greater interior space. On the other hand, the Versa Note also competes against larger vehicles, such as the Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Sonic, but for thousands less for an entry-level model.
Nissan Versa--and Versa Note customers by extension--fall into three distinct segments: Value-minded drivers who want cheap transportation, people purchasing their first new car, or people whose parents are buying them a new car. Each of them will find a car whose features meet their needs and whose price fits well within budget. Because there's not much cheaper on the market than the Versa as it is.
The 2014 Nissan Versa Note features a new-to-Nissan design element it calls the "Squash line" that helps break up the visual height often seen in tall hatchbacks. In addition, the Versa Note comes with:
- An adjustable cargo floor height.
- Available Nissan Connect with navigation, Bluetooth, and a hands-free text messaging assistant.
- Rearview and available Around View monitors for parking assistance.
- Available heated cloth seats.
What We Think
In Nissan's hierarchy, buyers had no reason to step up the Sentra when the Versa offered much of the space, functionality, and performance at substantially less money. Nissan had to change the Versa and Sentra, which it did quite successfully, evidenced by the Versa's class-leading sales in 2012.
The Nissan Versa Note has all the technology young shoppers want in a usable package. The Versa Note has garnered praise in Europe, despite going largely unnoticed by the buying public. Will it be good enough for us generally hatch-averse Americans? We'll see later this year when it goes on sale here.
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