Nissan’s Small Hatchback Gets a Facelift

When it launched the Versa Note for the 2014 model year, Nissan wanted its small hatchback to be affordable and efficient, but also stylish and fun. It continues with those goals for 2017, giving the Versa Note a substantial restyling while preserving the best qualities of the previous version.

Performance

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note puts an emphasis on efficiency, but not to the detriment of everyday usability and satisfaction. It was designed to save owners money on fuel while still providing an enjoyable level of performance.

The Versa Note uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 109 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque. For a small engine in a budget-priced economy car, it packs an impressive amount of technology. Nissan employed duel fuel injectors, which create a finer spray of fuel than the previous single-injector system. This allows for more complete, efficient combustion. The engine also boasts a variable-valve timing system similar to the one used on Nissan’s Maxima flagship sedan.

Power is sent to the front wheels through an Xtronic® continuously variable transmission (CVT), which Nissan retuned for 2017 to achieve better acceleration feel. CVTs provide seamless acceleration and improved fuel economy. Speaking of fuel economy, Nissan expects the 2017 Versa Note to achieve 34 mpg combined (31 mpg city, 39 mpg highway). Official EPA ratings aren’t in yet.

Small, lightweight cars like the Versa Note are usually entertaining to drive. When you don’t have that much weight to move around, a car has an easier time...well...moving around. The Versa Note uses an independent strut front suspension with stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear axle with integrated stabilizer bar. It also features electric power steering, which contributes to better fuel economy.

Features

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note is a five-door, five-seat subcompact hatchback, though Nissan does offer a Versa four-door sedan if you prefer that body style. For 2017, the Versa Note is available in four trim levels starting from $15,480.**

This model year, the S Plus takes over from the Versa Note S as the base model. It comes standard with Bluetooth®, Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges, 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, and more.

The Versa SV incorporates applicable standard features from the S Plus, and adds power windows and door locks, Remote Keyless Entry, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, trip computer, USB input, 5.0-inch display screen, Bluetooth® streaming audio, and hands-free text messaging. An available Appearance Package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, and variable intermittent wipers.

The Versa SR adds sportier exterior and interior styling elements, including standard fog lights, a rear spoiler, body-color side sills, suede-like seats, and a sport steering wheel inspired by the one in Nissan’s 370Z sports car. A Tech Package available on this model adds the NissanConnectSM infotainment system with navigation, app suite, and a 5.8-inch touchscreen display.

The top-of-the-line Versa SL comes standard with the same NissanConnectSM system available in the SR Tech Package, plus a rear-seat armrest with cup holders, heated front seats and exterior mirrors, Nissan Intelligent Key with pushbutton ignition, Easy-Fill Tire Alert, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Design

The current-generation Versa Note was introduced in 2013 as a 2014 model. For 2017, it gets a major facelift highlighted by a new front end. Nissan’s mission is the same as before, though: provide efficient aerodynamics and attractive styling.

The Versa Note now wears the “V-Motion” corporate grille seen on many other Nissan models. Along with the steeply raked windshield, Nissan says the angled grille creates a dramatic character line called the “squash line,” which is supposed to reflect the rebound path of a squash ball hitting a ball, bouncing off the wall, and returning to the player. It’s hard to say whether the average person will get that reference, but the Versa Note looks handsome nonetheless.

The new look also helps the Versa Note achieve a fairly slippery drag coefficient of 0.29. An active grille shutter behind the V-Motion grille closes when extra cooling air isn’t needed, further improving aerodynamic efficiency. To match the new grille, Nissan gave the Versa Note new headlights with a swept-back design. At the rear, the taillights now have the same “boomerang” shape used on the 370Z and the Juke crossover.

The Versa Note packs a lot of passenger and cargo space into a small footprint. It boasts a total interior volume of 112.9 cubic feet, with 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space. A low cargo area liftover height makes loading and unloading items easy, and the 60/40 split-fold rear seat helps accommodate longer items.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Nissan Versa Note includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, and Nissan Advanced Airbag System. Optional features include a rearview camera, or Around View® Monitor 360-degree camera system.

Verdict

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note is a practical, economical small car with a little extra flair.

For more information or to schedule a test drive of the 2017 Nissan Versa Note, contact us online or visit Tischer Nissan at 3510 Laurel Ft. Meade Rd, Laurel, MD 20724.

*Prices listed are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price for the vehicle and options chosen by you. These prices do not include transportation, taxes, title, other options, dealer installation costs, or other dealer charges.

Image: Nissan