The Nissan Note is a mini MPV hatchback that has been manufactured by Nissan since 2004. It is known as the Nissan Versa Note in North America. The Versa Note stands out in the hatchback segment with its spacious interior, fuel efficiency, and affordability.
The first generation Nissan Note was introduced in 2004 to replace the Nissan Almera. It featured an elongated body style to maximize interior space despite its small overall footprint. The second generation launched in 2012 with an emphasis on improved aerodynamics and fuel economy.
The Versa Note arrived in North America for the 2013 model year as part of Nissan’s strategy to compete with hatchbacks like the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit. Offered in well-equipped S and SV trims, the Versa Note combined utility and value in an affordable package. Its Edmunds “Best Retained Value” award demonstrated the Versa Note’s popularity and resale value. An update for 2016 brought fresh styling, more amenities, and enhanced safety technology like a rearview camera.
Versions and Trims
The Nissan Versa Note is available in several different trim levels. The main trims offered include:
- S – The base Versa Note S trim comes standard with features like air conditioning, Bluetooth, and a 5-inch display screen. Pricing starts around $15,650 (https://www.cars.com/research/nissan-versa_note-2019/trims/).
- SV – The mid-level SV trim adds upgrades like a rearview camera, cruise control, and keyless entry. Pricing for the SV starts at approximately $17,640 (https://www.springfieldmonissan.com/research/versa-note-trims.htm).
- SR – The top SR trim includes amenities like 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and fog lights. The SR trim has a starting price of around $18,360 (https://www.cars.com/research/nissan-versa_note-2019/trims/).
The main differences between the trim levels come down to features and price. The higher SV and SR trims add more technology, comfort, and convenience features compared to the base S model. However, they come with an increased price tag as more features are added.
Performance and Engine Options
The Versa Note hatchback comes equipped with a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine producing 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, paired with a standard 5-speed manual or optional Xtronic CVT transmission (Car and Driver). This powertrain configuration provides adequate acceleration for everyday driving, though it is not particularly sporty or engaging to drive.
Fuel economy is a highlight of the Versa Note. Models with the CVT get an EPA-estimated 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, while the manual transmission is slightly less efficient at 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway (Autoblog). These numbers make the Versa Note one of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicles in its class.
There are no performance packages or upgrades available from the factory for the Versa Note. It is designed primarily as an affordable, practical hatchback rather than a sporty performer.
The 2019 Versa Note has room for up to 5 passengers, with 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. This makes the Versa Note quite spacious for its class.
The interior features a 5″ color display audio system with Bluetooth hands-free phone system and streaming audio. Higher trim levels add a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system as an available option (Car and Driver). The Versa Note also comes equipped with air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and push button start.
In terms of seating, the Versa Note has 4-way manual adjustable front seats and 60/40 split fold-down rear seats to accommodate both passengers and cargo. Cloth seating surfaces are standard.
For storage, the Versa Note has multiple compartments including an overhead sunglasses holder, dual glove compartments, door pockets, and cupholders.
The Nissan Versa Note hatchback has an aerodynamic, wedge-shaped exterior with smooth contours and rounded edges. It measures 163.7 inches long, 66.7 inches wide, and 60.5 inches tall with a 102.4-inch wheelbase, making it one of the larger subcompact hatchbacks (Car and Driver). The front end features Nissan’s signature V-motion grille, halogen headlights, and an angled hood for a sporty look.
Moving to the side, the Versa Note has a rising beltline and blacked-out B-pillars for a floating roof effect. The rear sports large, angular taillights and an integrated roof spoiler. Available exterior colors include Aspen White, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Magnetic Gray, and Scarlet Ember (Edmunds).
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Nissan Versa Note hatchback comes equipped with a range of standard and available safety features to help protect passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2018 Versa Note received an overall 5-star safety rating, with 4 stars for frontal crash and 5 stars for side crash (NHTSA 2018 Versa Note).
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and a rearview camera. Available options include a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
In IIHS crash testing, the 2019 Versa Note received top ‘Good’ ratings in all crashworthiness categories except for an ‘Acceptable’ rating in the driver-side small overlap front test (IIHS 2019 Versa Note). Its standard front crash prevention system earned a ‘Superior’ rating.
Overall, the Versa Note offers decent safety credentials for a small, budget-friendly hatchback. While it doesn’t have every high-tech driver assistance feature available, key active safety tech like automatic emergency braking comes standard across the lineup.
The Nissan Versa Note offers impressive fuel economy for a vehicle in this segment, with official EPA ratings of 31 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined for most models. According to Fuelly data, real-world MPG averages for the Versa Note are around 29 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 34 mpg combined.
These figures compare favorably to other vehicles in the subcompact hatchback class like the Honda Fit (29/36/32 mpg) and Toyota Yaris (30/39/34 mpg). The Versa Note’s fuel efficiency gives it an advantage for buyers looking to maximize MPG and minimize trips to the gas station.
Pricing and Availability
The 2019 Nissan Versa Note had a starting MSRP of $16,575 for the base S trim according to KBB (1). The range-topping SR trim started at an MSRP of $18,835.
Nissan offered various deals and incentives on the Versa Note, including 0% APR financing for up to 60 months on select models (2). Regional cash rebates were also sometimes available for purchasing a Versa Note.
New Versa Notes could be purchased at Nissan dealerships across the country. As of 2021, the Versa Note was discontinued in the US, but used models can still be found through various resale sites and dealerships (1).
The Nissan Versa Note competes directly with other subcompact hatchbacks like the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and Chevrolet Sonic. Compared to these models, the Versa Note is one of the most affordable options in the class. The Versa Note starts at just $15,650 MSRP for the base S model, significantly less than the $17,920 starting MSRP for the Honda Fit LX or $18,250 for the Toyota Yaris LE . However, the Versa Note makes some sacrifices on interior quality and refinement to reach that low starting price point.
The Honda Fit beats the Versa Note when it comes to cargo space and overall versatility thanks to its “Magic Seat” rear folding configuration. The Toyota Yaris offers more standard safety tech like automatic emergency braking. However, the Versa Note strikes back with its better fuel economy, rated up to 40 mpg highway. It also provides a smoother ride quality than competitors. For shoppers focused on value and efficiency over refinement, the Versa Note remains competitive with more premium rivals. https://www.nissanguam.com/blog/where-does-the-2019-nissan-versa-note-rank-against-its-competition/
The Versa Note offers excellent practicality and space for a subcompact hatchback, with ample rear legroom and cargo capacity. According to Consumer Reports, its “amazing space and versatility” make the Versa Note a top pick for those seeking maximum utility in a small package. However, its weak engine performance and unrefined CVT transmission lead to lackluster acceleration. Fuel economy is also just average for the class.
The Versa Note shines when it comes to value and affordability. With a starting MSRP under $17,000, it is one of the most budget-friendly hatchbacks available. Lower trims offer an impressive array of standard tech and safety features given the price. However, pricing on higher trims encroaches on more premium offerings.
Overall, the Versa Note is best suited to buyers seeking maximum practicality and cargo versatility on a tight budget, who don’t prioritize power or an engaging driving experience. For those wanting more performance and refinement, competitors like the Honda Fit or Kia Rio may be better options, albeit at a higher price point. But strictly looking at usable space per dollar, the Versa Note is tough to beat.