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2017 Nissan Versa Note and Nissan Sentra NISMO: LA Auto Show

What Is It?

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note marks a redesign of this subcompact hatchback. The Note moniker and the rear tailgate differentiate this car from the Versa sedan. We’re looking at a new nose and lighting, a rear spoiler, an optional 360-degree camera system, push-button start, a pair of 12-volt sockets and bigger cupholders.

Some things stay the same, such as the 109 horsepower and the 107 lb-ft of torque from a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) sends that power to the front wheels — Nissan says the CVT has been retuned for more lively acceleration. Maximum cargo space is 18.8 cu ft.

The Versa Note, however, is not the only news coming out of Nissan’s 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show stand.

The limited-edition 2017 Rogue: Rogue One pays homage to the latest movie in the “Star Wars” franchise. It’s merely a happy accident that Nissan’s compact crossover shares a name with an upcoming probable blockbuster, but that’s all a marketing department needs to try and sell a few more cars. It comes in Darth Vader-like black or Stormtrooper-ish white. The cosmetic package with various themed touches — no hyperdrives, not even a light-saber holder — but there’s a full-size Stormtrooper helmet with every purchase. The U.S. will get 5,000 units.

The limited-run 2017 Juke Black Pearl Edition, of which 1,000 units are earmarked for the U.S., sports a full cosmetic makeover. Based on a well-stocked SV trim level, it also features 17-inch alloy wheels painted black to match the exterior paintwork. The interior is similarly goth, with white accents here and there.

And then there’s the 2017 Nissan Sentra Nismo. Nismo is short for Nissan Motorsport, which is why this version of Nissan’s compact sedan has a reinforced body, sporty suspension tuning and some subtle aerodynamic additions. It also has a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that delivers 188 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission (there’s a CVT option as well).

How Much?

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note starts at $16,345 for the 1.6 S Plus trim.

The Rogue One is based on a Rogue SV with the Sun and Sound Touring Package (which costs $1,720), adding a premium of $1,990. That brings the total to $28,950 — or somewhere in that galaxy.

The Black Pearl Juke is priced from $24,680. All-wheel drive is an extra $1,850.

The Sentra Nismo has an “estimated starting price of under $25,000,” says Nissan.

When Can You Get It?

The new Versa Note goes on sale November 22, 2016.

The Rogue One and Black Pearl Juke can be ordered now, and the Sentra Nismo arrives in January 2017.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

The Versa Note is a reasonably priced, reasonably equipped, reasonably capable little hatchback. Buy one of the others because you like the ideas.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Honda Fit — The Fit is roomy and flexible for people and/or cargo. It’s a really clever package.

2017 Ford Fiesta — The Fiesta is great to drive, cheap to run and offers decent levels of equipment.

2017 Kia Soul — The Soul is spacious, charming and affordable.

Used Mazda3 — This is one of the best compact cars around. A sweeping statement, but if the looks work for you, then so should the driving experience and the quality of the cabin materials.

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More

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