Friday, August 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Nissan’s Versa Note: Versatile and thrifty

Nissan Versa Note

The five-seat Versa Note is a low-priced, high-utility car with an attractive, fresh exterior, notable fuel economy and a surprisingly roomy back seat that accommodates even 6-foot adults. AP photo

By
From page C1 | November 22, 2013 |

The Associated Press

Nissan’s small Versa hatchback, renamed the Versa Note for 2014, is a low-priced, high-utility car with an attractive, fresh exterior, notable fuel economy and a surprisingly roomy back seat that accommodates even 6-foot adults.

The five-seat Versa Note also offers high-tech features not found in other hatchbacks, such as an all-around-view camera system that lets the driver see what is nearby the car on all four sides.

Drivers will appreciate that the Note with its 109-horsepower, four-cylinder engine is rated by the federal government at 31 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway. This top rating is for Notes equipped with a fuel-thrifty continuously variable transmission (CVT).

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV

Base price: $13,990 for S; $15,240 for S Plus; $15,990 for SV

Price as tested: $20,370

Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger, compact hatchback

Engine: 1.6-liter, double overhead cam, four cylinder with CVTC

Mileage: 31 mpg (city), 40 mpg (highway)

Lenght: 163 inches

Wheelbase: 102.4 inches

Curb weight: 2,482 pounds

Built at: Aguascalientes, Mexico

Options: SL package (includes 16-inch, aluminum alloy wheels, intelligent key, push-button start, fog lights, satellite radio, rearview monitor, rear-seat center armrest) $1,700; technology package (includes navigation system, voice recognition for audio and nav, around-view monitor, heated side mirrors, streaming audio via Bluetooth) $800; carpeted floor mats and cargo mat $175; rear cargo cover $90

Destination charge: $810

Unfortunately, though, the Versa Note’s engine power is lower than many competitors’.

And while the Note is a new version of Nissan’s Versa line, the Note’s safety rating in frontal crash testing by the federal government isn’t any better than the three out of five stars that the longer-running Versa sedan received.

Standard safety features on all Notes include frontal, side and curtain air bags, antilock brakes and electronic stability control.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $14,800 for a base, 2014 Note is lower than many competitors’. As an example, the base, 2013 Honda Fit hatchback has a starting retail price of $16,215.

But be aware that the base Versa Note S comes with five-speed, manual transmission that produced a lower government fuel mileage rating of 27/36 mpg. The base Note also has manual, roll-down windows and a steering wheel that tilts but does not telescope.

In comparison, the base Fit with five-speed manual and higher-power, 117-horsepower, four-cylinder engine comes standard with power windows, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and cruise control, among other things.

Meantime, the 2014 Ford Fiesta hatchback, which is 3 inches shorter in overall length than the Note, has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $15,395 with five-speed manual and 120-horsepower, four-cylinder engine.

The base Fiesta comes standard with telescoping and tilt steering wheel, rear spoiler, Ford’s Sync voice control, carpeted floor mats and a driver’s seat with six-way, manual adjustment rather than the four-way, manual adjustment on the Note.

For Note buyers to get the fuel-saving CVT, which comes along with automatic grille shutter that closes when needed to improve aerodynamics and fuel mileage, they must move up to the Versa Note S Plus, with a starting retail price of $16,050.

People must experience the Note’s back seat to believe it.

Less than 14 feet long and about the size of a Fit hatchback, the Note has 38.3 inches of legroom back there. It’s enough to allow 6-footers to extend their legs. It’s also nearly 4 inches more than the Fit has, 1.1 inches more than the Ford Fiesta hatchback has and is even more back-seat legroom than is found in the much larger Nissan Altima mid-size sedan.

Front-seat passengers in the Versa Note aren’t squeezed, either, as legroom up there totals 41.3 inches, which is on par with some sport utility vehicles.

Just keep in mind that while two adults in back do well, three people in the back of a Note is tight. Still, back windows in the Note are sizable and go down virtually the whole way.

Also improving comfort in the Note: Passengers don’t sit low to the ground. Even back-seat riders sit up at a decent level and have good views out.

But the seat foam in the test SV model had a cheap feel and was less supportive than preferred. This was especially true as road bumps came through regularly in the Note, and ripples in asphalt were felt, and not just in the seat cushions but up to passengers’ backs.

The ride in the test Note was noisy. Road and engine sounds were heard all the time, and the CVT kept the driver guessing when engine revving would quiet down.

The Note’s 1.6-liter, double overhead cam four cylinder was lackluster during acceleration and seemed to work hard during highway merges. Torque peaks at 107 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm. This compares with 112 foot-pounds at 5,000 rpm for the Fiesta’s 1.6-liter four cylinder and the Fit’s 106 foot-pounds at 4.800 rpm.

The Note’s commendable fuel economy ratings are not far-fetched. In mostly city driving, the tester averaged 30 mpg, just 1 mpg off from the federal government number. And this was without the driver focusing on top mileage. Fuel mileage was 32 mpg with highway travel added.

Because the Note is 5 feet tall, it affords front-seat passengers a generous 40.8 inches of headroom, which is more than the 39.1 inches in the Fiesta hatchback and a tad more than the 40.4 inches in the front seats of the Fit.

The cargo area behind the rear seats provides 18.8 cubic feet of space, which compares with 14.9 cubic feet in the Fiesta and the 21.6 cubic feet in the Fit.

According to the federal government, the Note has better side crash performance — five out of five stars — than the Versa sedan’s four out of five stars. Overall crash rating, including rollover propensity, for the Note is four out of five stars, which is the same as for the 2013 Honda Fit.

In July, there were two safety recalls for the 2014 Versa Note.

Nissan recalled certain Versa Notes because back-seat bolts may break in a crash, which could increase the risk of injuries to rear-seat passengers.

Nissan also recalled some cars because lower body bolts might be missing or improperly tightened. This could impair vehicle integrity during a rear-end crash and increase the risk of passenger injury.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

     
    Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

     
    Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    World travelers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    No support for militarization

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A better use for this vehicle

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Police are our friends, right?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Wage plan has a big flaw

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

    Light-hitting Cats fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Giants win nightcap in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Natsoulas to host mural conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Yolo Mambo to play free show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6