Don’t like the classy and well regarded Honda Fit. The Nissan Versa Note will tick all the right buttons; but does it hit all the right notes?
The sole engine on hand is a 1.6 which is pretty much all you’ll ever really need with the Versa. It does offer decent flexibility around town and you may find yourself thrashing the engine on the highway to keep up with faster paced traffic. Running costs are actually quite good which does help justify the small amount of power the engine produces.
Drive it the way it was intended to be driven and you’ll find yourself in a very comfortable small car. Push it into a corner or bend and you’ll be quickly reminded that this is an economy car. Handling isn’t bad but there is way too much body roll and this is all due to the suspension being set more towards comfort than agility. Plus the steering feedback is just okay. You may want to take a look at the Ford Fiesta if you want a fun to drive small car. Refinement is good but it isn’t as great as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit.
The driver’s seat does offer plenty of adjustments but the steering wheel only adjusts for height. There is plenty of space for four passengers and the interior feels pretty airy for such a small car. The boot space is decent too but with the seats folded down it’s even more spacious.
The saying goes you get what you pay for and the Versa Note is no exception. Standard S trim comes with air-con, cd-player and Bluetooth for your mobile phone. Sadly this is also the only trim that offers a five-speed manual gearbox. S-Plus trim adds CVT transmission, active grille shutters and dual power outside mirrors. You’ll have to step up to SV trim to get power windows and keyless entry as well as cruise control and USB connection for you iPod. SR trim adds alloy wheels, body-kit and unique interior trim. SL trim adds aluminum alloy wheels, keyless start and class-executive around view monitor.
The saving grace for the Versa Note is that it is cheap to buy and cheap to run. It may not hold its value as well as the Honda Fit, but for those that shop with their wallets won’t mind the somewhat average depreciation of the Versa Note and discounts will not be hard to come by. The interior isn’t anything to brag about but the materials feel very sturdy and long lasting. Plus Nissan consistently scores well in reliability.
All Versa Notes come with six-airbags, traction control and electronic stability program as well as anti-lock brakes and tire pressure monitoring system. Sadly not all versions get an immobilizer system to guard against theft.
The Nissan Versa Note is a great car for those who are on a budget and need a reliable and sensible car. It may not be as flexible as the Ford Fiesta or Honda Fit but it does the job well. Too bad you’ll have to pay for the options you’ll see standard on its rivals and it really doesn’t seem that much of a value either when you look at its standard kit. But for the price and the money you’ll save the Versa Note is a decent choice but not the best.
Devon’s Pick: SV trim adds comfort features such as power windows, keyless entry and cruise control. Buyers who want a manual gearbox are sadly stuck picking the very basically equipped S trim. But at least it offers Bluetooth which is rare in this price segment.
Likes: Overall it’s a decent car with low asking price and low running costs. The interior and boot space are both generous. A commuter car or workhorse this it really does tick the right buttons.
Dislikes: Keyless entry and power windows aren’t standard on all trims and not all trims get a manual gearbox option. SR trim has the looks but lacks the oomph; it doesn’t hit the right notes in refinement and SL trim is pricey for what it is.