Nissan Versa Note: You Can Carry it All
By The Car Family
For more vehicle reviews go to www.motorists.org/carfamily
For free teaching resources go to http://www.reacheverychild.com
Searching for a snappy vehicle that gets gas mileage in the 40 mpg range, offers ample cargo space for a growing family and is cute enough to brighten up a gloomy day, take note; Nissan’s Versa Note. This roomy hatchback also adds one element missing in the competition and that is a starting list price under $15,000. Not bad for a competent, willing, and easy to maneuver vehicle, but it has one more notable attribute. This Versa Note would make it an ideal go to college car. You can pack the all the dorm room furnishing inside, park it in the tightest of parking spots, and never have to worry about your future graduate being in a speed contest because the 109 horsepower engine is built for frugality not velocity. Nevertheless, there is ample torque from the four cylinder engine to make freeway merging reassuring.
Mom’s view: A sharp looking exterior hides a rather bland interior. However, the controls are easy to reach and visibility is outstanding, I would opt for the more upscale SV and SL models that offer the amenities I appreciate such as an ungraded interior fabrics and available heated seats. Speaking of which, the seats are a bit tight for those with girth concerns, but they are comfortable even on long trips. Those riding in the backseat are going to love the huge amount of room the Note offers. The rear cargo space is very generous and there is even a slim package shelf under the main floor for that iPad or laptop to cozy. Nissan’s Versa sedan costs less so you may want to cross shop them, but I found the looks of the Note more aesthetically pleasing and the hatchback configuration makes it easier for me to load. The greatest plus in owning the Note is in its versatility giving ample credence for the company’s selection of the Versa name. I also liked the way it handled in traffic and the slightly higher seating position that made it easy to enter and leave as well as see traffic ahead. Good value, a cute face, a tight turning radius and achieving hybrid type fuel mileage without the high cost of a hybrid were the closers for me.
Dad’s view: The 1.6 liter engine is designed for fuel economy and thus I would recommend the more upscale CVT equipped models to keep the engine in its sweet spot as much as possible. The initial acceleration is adequate, but you are going to have to be a bit abusive to the accelerator when going skiing with four adults and luggage. Brake feel is good and the steering surprisingly well weighted. Overall, this is a very enjoyable rig to commute with as can safely navigate through traffic and an wiggle its rear into tight parking spots the Kardashians could only dream about. The engine noise is fairly well muted and at cruising speed things settle down allowing you time to appreciate the option packages the Note offers. In fact, there is so much optional technology available that you could tickle the $19,000 mark. But I have noted that Nissan dealers are offering some enticing deals that truly make the MSRP truly a suggestion.
Young working woman’s view: The 360 degree Around view monitor comes only on the high level models, but it has to be seen to be believed, literally. It is so useful that it is almost a necessity once you get used to it as the Around system provides an “aerial” view of the Note and its surroundings. Great for tight parking situations. In fact, it is going to spoil you for any other vehicle that does not have this safety feature. Go to your Nissan dealer just to see the 360 Around view if nothing else. You can also order GPS and information and entertainment systems that go far beyond what you would expect in a car at this price. Young parents are going to love how easy it is to put a baby seat in as you don’t have to stress your back. The rear doors open wide and the height of the Versa means you don’t have to reach so far. The seniors shouldn’t pass up the Note either. It is economical to own and operate, carries large yard sale finds with ease, and there aren’t the usual blind spots. If you own a RV, with the proper equipment towing the Note with its light weight and spacious interior would make it an ideal choice. The Versa Note is a funky hatchback with a lot to love
Young working male’s view: If you go with the SL package you can get USB socket, 4.3-inch color display, a fun to use Easy Fill system that monitors tire pressure, and an assortment of other smart driving and comfort features. Step up to the SL with the Tech package, which I recommend, and you get a larger monitor, navigation, the sensational Around View camera, satellite radio, Pandora, voice reading texts, Bluetooth audio streaming, and more. You just have to get this package as it adds so much to the Note’s enjoyment and if you are driving a Note you must have your tunes.
Family conference: The Note is unique in that it could be ideal for a one car family or as a second car or even as a handy tow behind RV choice. It is not a luxury car. For that move up to the smooth Nissan Maxima. What really separates the Versa Note from the competition is the myriad of technology available and its ability to offer owners a vehicle that can meet their needs without challenging their budget.