Enormous backseat; good fuel economy with the CVT; attractive styling; low base price; versatile optional Divide-N-Hide cargo area
Steering wheel doesn't telescope; sparsely equipped interior on cheaper models; so-so crash test results
The Versa Note is all-new for 2014.
Our pick would be the SV. At less than $17,000, it is a good value, and it has the power accessories we expect in a modern vehicle.
The base Versa Note S ($14,780) is basic indeed, boasting throwback features such as 15-inch steel wheels, a 5-speed manual transmission (the only available transmission on S), a tilt-only steering wheel, crank windows, manual door locks and 4-way manual front seats that lack a height adjustment -- even for the driver. To be fair, the S also provides power mirrors, air conditioning, a trip computer and a 4-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary input jack. Factory options are limited mostly to appearance items, including a Sport Value package that adds 15-in alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. A stolen-vehicle tracking system is also available.
The S Plus ($16,230) offers the CVT transmission (the manual is only available in the S model) an "active grille shutter" that reportedly improves fuel economy and cruise control. However, power windows and locks are still not available. S Plus options are similar to those on the base S model.
The SV ($16,780) gets standard power windows and locks, as well as keyless entry, upgraded interior cloth, Bluetooth, a height-adjustable driver seat with an armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls and bright interior accents.
The SV with the Convenience package ($17,320) ramps up the feature content considerably, including a 4.3-in color infotainment display, a rearview camera, satellite radio, an iPod/USB connection, a fold-down rear center armrest and the nifty Divide-N-Hide adjustable rear cargo floor.
The SV with the SL package ($18,480) adds 16-in alloy wheels, fog lights, keyless entry/ignition, variable intermittent wipers and heated front seats.
Finally, the SV with the SL Tech package ($19,280) tacks on heated exterior mirrors, a larger 5.8-in touchscreen, a navigation system with Google POI connectivity and Sirius traffic and weather reports, a hands-free text-messaging assistant, Bluetooth streaming audio, Pandora radio capability and Nissan's Around View 360-degree parking camera system.
Trunk space in the Versa Note measures a useful 21.4 cu ft behind the rear seat backs, and it nearly doubles if you fold them down. Moreover, the available Divide-N-Hide storage system adds a concealed cargo-floor compartment with a cover that can be lowered or removed to facilitate serious hauling tasks. It's a simple yet effective system; we're surprised it took someone this long to dream it up.
|Basic||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years/60,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||5 Years/Unlimited Miles|
Chevrolet Sonic -- The Sonic has a tiny back seat compared to the Versa Note, but it's more rewarding to drive, especially with the optional turbocharged engine.
Ford Fiesta -- Often overlooked, the Fiesta continues to be one of our favorites because it's fun to drive.
Honda Fit -- The Fit continues to stand alone as the versatility champ among small hatchbacks, offering SUV-like cargo capacity in a compact package.
Used Mazda3 Hatchback -- Your fuel economy will suffer unless you can find one with the 2.0-liter SkyActiv engine, but you'll get more cargo space and a higher-quality interior in return, as well as a premium driving experience.