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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 Nissan Versa Note
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Expert's Rating

4.0Excellent | Details

MPG

30 City / 38 Highway
Contributing Editor -

What’s now known as the Versa Note was once called, simply, the Versa hatchback. In 2014, Nissan chose to separate the hatchback from the sedan, by making the former a distinct standalone model. Like most small hatchbacks, the Versa Note scores highly in fuel-efficiency, along with the ability to haul quite a lot of cargo, considering its compact external dimensions.

What's New for 2016

Several trim-level changes have emerged for the 2016 season. The midrange SV edition gains some features that were previously part of an optional Convenience Package. They include a 5-inch color display, Bluetooth streaming audio, satellite radio, hands-free texting, a rearview monitor, and an adjustable cargo area.

Nissan Versa Note

Choosing Your Nissan Versa Note

Because it’s a compact hatchback, value is the Versa Note’s prime attraction. Buyers on a budget might be limited to lower-end versions. But if you’re able to consider a higher trim level, you can wind up with a well-equipped hatchback at a relatively affordable price. Nissan divides the model range into five distinct trim levels, including a sportier SR edition for younger buyers who would rather have a sporty look than premium features.

At the same time, Nissan simplifies the buying process by offering just one engine: a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the base S model, but the remainder of the lineup gets a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That CVT earns a fuel-economy estimate of 31 mpg in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway, versus 27/36 mpg for manual shift.

Choose one of the five Versa Note trim levels, and few additional decisions need to be made:

S

As expected, the base model is light on premium features, but starts at a modest $14,180 (plus destination charge). Standard equipment includes the manual transmission, 15-inch steel wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, cloth seat upholstery, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a four-speaker audio system with AM/FM/CD capabilities and steering wheel-mounted controls.

S Plus

The S Plus takes the stripped-down S and adds extras that improve fuel economy, including active grille shutters and the CVT, raising the price to $15,430.

SV

The midrange Versa Note SV adds features that many buyers consider essential: power windows and door locks, a USB port, keyless entry, cruise control, iPod adapter, and driver-seat armrest. New standard features this year include a 5-inch display, Bluetooth streaming audio, satellite radio, rearview camera/monitor, and an adjustable cargo area. Piano-black and chrome accents spruce up the cabin, while upgraded upholstery includes cloth door trim accents.

SR

Younger shoppers are likely to gravitate toward the sportier SR, attracted by such features as 16-inch machined-finish aluminum wheels, sport front and rear fascias, a 370Z-inspired steering wheel wrapped in leather, darkened headlight surrounds, and synthetic suede seats. Also included are foglamps, an around-view monitor, mirror-mounted LED turn-signal repeaters, and a rear spoiler.

SL

Unlike the SR, the upper-trim SL focuses on technical and comfort features. For $18,660, its standard equipment includes 16-inch aluminum wheels, foglamps, Nissan Intelligent Key, NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps, front/rear armrests, and heated front seats. Real-time traffic information and Travel Link also are included. An optional Technology package adds a 5.8-inch color display, navigation, satellite radio, SiriusXM Travel Link and NavTraffic, and NissanConnect.

CarsDirect Tip

Unless your budget is very tight, we vote against the stripped-down S model. An SV is probably the best compromise of value and features, but you get quite a bit more in the SL, while still keeping the cost relatively reasonable. Only a handful of options are offered for the Versa Note hatchback.

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