Thursday, September 05, 2013

Nissan Versa Note test drive.




The Versa Note replaces the Versa hatchback for 2014.
 It is not really a hatch version of the Versa. That would be the new Tilda. Now only sold overseas under other names like Pulsar and Latio.

The one we have here is the 2nd generation Nissan Note. Called Versa here so they can inflate the sale numbers of the “Versa”.
Which is fine, I guess. But it really shouldn’t be called Versa. It is no more a Versa than the Nissan Cube is.

No matter what, the new Note is a nice looking car. Much, much better looking than the Versa Sedan.





Inside, it shares the Versa sedan dash for the US market. (It has a nicer one in Europe).
Which is too bad. It is not horrible, but pretty plain. 
And there is no soft plastic anywhere to be found.

At least if all feels pretty good and solid. I really like the two tone interior. Much nicer than the all black alternative. (Especially this week since it was around 102 in Los Angeles.)

The stereo is a pretty basic 4 speaker affair. And it doesn’t sound that great.




The back seat is surprisingly roomy. With a totally flat floor.




There is also plenty of room in the truck. It even has a nice hidden lower compartment underneath. 




As I said, no soft plastic. Anywhere. Not even on the door armrest. (Although that could be due to the pre-production car I was driving. )




The key from my SV version is pretty basic. (Cheap) Very 80’s. And the sound from the alarm is very high pitched and quite annoying. Something you have to hear it every time you lock the doors...




The driving experience was pretty familiar. After testing both the Cube and Versa sedan a while ago.

Same quiet engine . Same lack of power.  
It just doesn’t go anywhere when you push it. It just gets noisy. And the CVT isn’t helping…
A manual would really make things a bit more fun, but it is standard on the base model only. Which means black interior only and one option; alloy wheels.

So after a while, you’re not even trying anymore. And things are actually better. It is a slow car. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Mileage is rated at 31/40. The best I could do in the city was 28. I could never get 31 no matter how slow I was driving. But I had no problem getting 43 on the freeway at steady speed.

It is fine most of the time, around town, or cruising on the freeway. But getting up to speed on that freeway takes a while. Or passing.
I guess most people actually don’t care much. Since cars other slow cars like the Prius are everywhere.

Once up to speed, it is really quiet. The steering feels pretty artificial, but I got used to it after a while. At least it is precise. And the on center feel is pretty good on the freeway. 



My SV model had just one option. A $540 Convenience package. Which added small things like a rear armrest, USB input etc.
You can get a more expensive SL package, or GPS. But you cannot get a sunroof, or leather.

I actually liked the Note. Once I was OK with it being slow. It is comfortable, very roomy, quiet and doesn’t feel too cheap.
The car I had was $17 320. Which seems to be fairly reasonable.




 FYI, this is the European version. With the glass roof option, and nicer dashboard.



And this is the Tilda Hatchback. The “real” Versa Hatch.

13 comments:

anantonopo said...

Actually the Tilda would be the Sentra hatch. They have same wheelbase.

Your Versa is Micra based, and that makes it more relevant than you think.

Having said that, all of them Sentra/Tilda/Micra/Note/Versa are built on the same V platform.

robert said...

Nice review and your comments are right in line with what I think. Good looking, good on gas, and inexpensive. Though after loaded up this car can hit $19k. For that money I think we could have had the euro version which as shown is much nicer. The manual is available in Canada in all trims which is a shame. I think we might even be able to add fun to drive had we been able to shift ourselves. Maybe nissan will spruce up the interior and exterior with a refresh in a few years or with a new model such as sport or nismo. I know it wouldn't happen but a fiesta ST fighter would be great.

robert said...

Nice review and your comments are right in line with what I think. Good looking, good on gas, and inexpensive. Though after loaded up this car can hit $19k. For that money I think we could have had the euro version which as shown is much nicer. The manual is available in Canada in all trims which is a shame. I think we might even be able to add fun to drive had we been able to shift ourselves. Maybe nissan will spruce up the interior and exterior with a refresh in a few years or with a new model such as sport or nismo. I know it wouldn't happen but a fiesta ST fighter would be great.

Anonymous said...

The Tiida is more evolutionary of the styling we recieved on the Versa Hatch. Too bad. I think they wanted something taller to compete with the Honda Fit, vs. the slower selling Fiesta Hatch.

Anonymous said...

Wrongo Vinceo, That car on Bottom is the equivalent of a Sentra Hatchbach, which we do not get, two different categories

Anonymous said...

This looks like a real POS, definitely at the bottom of the class.


"The key from my SV version is pretty basic. (Cheap) Very 80’s."

Yeah, because they had integrated fobs into keys in the 80's, right Vince? Come on man....

Anonymuse said...

Wow, the Euro version dash is MUCH nicer looking.

Too bad about the gutless engine.

Do you have any pictures of the secret compartment? Is it only big enough for the spare tire?

Vince Burlapp said...

Sorry, I didn't take pix of the secret compartment. And I returned the car already.
But it is above the spare tire and totally usable. A nice feature.

As for the car at the bottom, it is NOT the Sentra hatch.
It is quite obvious.

Anonymuse said...

You'll have to forgive them for thinking it's the Sentra hatch, Nissan's new homogenized styling makes the faces of the Altima/Sentra/Tilda/who-knows-what all look alike. Another stupid design decision.

Anonymous said...

The forgive comment above is odd at best. Every manufacturer has a look, a face, a brand. I personally love Nissans and I am getting one next week.

anantonopo said...

No, the Tilda is not a hatchback version of Sentra, but they are the same car underneath.

I only wanted to point out that this thing you mention "The Versa Note replaces the Versa hatchback for 2014. It is not really a hatch version of the Versa. That would be the new Tilda." is inaccurate, as the Note is more realated to the Versa than the Tilda (and the Tilda is more related to the Sentra - same class, same wheelbase etc)

Anonymuse said...

"The forgive comment above is odd at best. Every manufacturer has a look, a face, a brand. I personally love Nissans and I am getting one next week."

Well I own two Nissans, and yet I think the latest Mallfinder, Altima, and Quest are design
failures. The Sentra looks far better than before, but that's only an indictment of previous Sentra designs. But stupidly, the Sentra now looks just like the Altima. Nissan has removed the motivation for somebody to fork out the money for an Altima based on how it looks, because they make a less expensive car that looks just like it. That just violates common sense and rules about market segment differentiation. Somebody making Nissan design decisions has got their head up their butt lately.

Anonymous said...

the pulsar hatchback will be the sentra hatchback for the UA as a VW golf hatchback fighter