Posted Jan 15th 2013 8:10AM
Alright, truth time: The Nissan Versa isn't exactly our favourite car in the subcompact class. It's certainly competent, reliable transportation, but it's hardly an emotional purchase choice. Perhaps this new version of the Versa, then, can change our minds a bit. Meet the Versa Note – the cuter, five-door version of the li'l sedan, making its debut here at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Aesthetically, the Versa Note is a pretty pleasant-looking thing; we've seen it before in JDM-spec. It's a decidedly aerodynamic thing, too, with a drag coefficient of just 0.29. And because of that – as well as an efficient little powertrain – the Note will achieve up to 40 miles per gallon EPA (5.9 L/100 km) on the highway.
Under the hood is Nissan's 1.6-litre inline four-cylinder engine churning out a furious 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. Like, well, every other Nissan car, the Versa is equipped with a continuously variable transmission and will drive the front wheels exclusively. Base S models can be had with a five-speed manual transmission, but the moment you step up to a higher trim level, the do-it-yourself shifter goes away.
There's a whole bunch of technological goodies available on the Versa Note, as well, including Nissan's excellent AroundView Monitor that'll give you a bird's eye view of your surroundings. NissanConnect is also available on SL models with the technology package, equipped with things like NavTraffic, NavWeather, hands-free text messaging, streaming audio, Pandora and Bluetooth, all housed in a 5.8-inch touch-screen.
What's really attractive about the Note is its starting price: US$13,990. That represents a US$2,000 increase over the base Versa sedan, but well undercuts a lot of competitors in the segment. The Versa note officially hits dealerships this summer. Scroll down for the official press blast. (Canadian pricing TBA)
Related Gallery2014 Nissan Versa Note
ALL-NEW 2014 NISSAN VERSA NOTE OFFERS ENERGETIC STYLING, BEST-LEVEL FUEL EFFICIENCY AND SMART TECHNOLOGY
Class-Exclusive* Around View™ Monitor, 40 MPG Highway and Class-Leading Cargo Space Lead "Innovations for the Way People Live"
- 40 miles per gallon highway fuel economy (CVT-equipped models)
- Smart packaging and class-leading* cargo space, with adjustable rear load floor
- Available NissanConnectSM with Navigation System, Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant, RearView Monitor and class-exclusive Around View® Monitor
- Starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)** of $13,990 USD
The Nissan Versa lineup, which has been the longtime sales and share leader in the competitive United States entry-level segment, gets a dramatic new look with the launch of the all-new 2014 Nissan Versa Note. The second-generation hatchback goes on sale at Nissan's U.S. dealers in Summer 2013 and gives notice that in an era of changing consumer needs and expectations, Versa intends to remain far ahead of the rest of the entry-level pack.
Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. said: "As the entry segment is expanding with new models and nameplates, it's not enough to offer value alone. The new Nissan Versa Note shakes up the category by satisfying both the emotional and rational needs with features that are truly unexpected in the class – such as sleek styling and advanced innovation features like our Around View® Monitor parking assist system at an affordable price."
The all-new Versa Note will complement the Versa family, which includes the best selling entry sedan in America**, starting at $11,990 USD MSRP***. The Versa Note has its own distinctive look, feel and added hatchback utility. It carries the Note designation used in other global Nissan markets, as well as the PURE DRIVE badge, designating it as having low CO2 emissions and exceptional fuel efficiency.
Versa Note is offered in a range of well-equipped grade levels: S, S Plus and SV, along with top-of-the-line SL Packages. Each is equipped with an advanced 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with dual fuel injection and Twin CVTC (Continuously Variable Timing Control).
The Versa Note S features a 5-speed manual transmission, while the S Plus and SV models are equipped with a standard next-generation Nissan Xtronic CVT® transmission. Fuel economy for the front-wheel drive Versa Note is forecast to deliver a best-in-class-level of 40 mpg Highway, 31 mpg City and 35 mpg Combined for CVT-equipped models.
A Bold New Look Inside and Out
The 2014 Nissan Versa Note's sculpted, modern styling is designed to accomplish two things: provide enhanced aerodynamics to help improve fuel economy and to stand out from the crowd of entry-level competitors. With its steeply sloped front windshield, sculpted front doors and dramatic character lines, Versa Note achieves a coefficient of drag of 0.298 (CVT-equipped models). Attention to aerodynamic detail can be seen even in the selection of the one-piece wiper blades typically found on higher priced vehicles, and, on CVT-equipped Versa Note models, Nissan's first-ever Active Grille Shutter, which reduces drag by controlling airflow into the engine compartment.
Versa Note's dynamic design also takes full advantage of its dramatic shape and proportions to provide an energetic look that reflects the active lives of its target buyers. Utilizing Nissan's global "V" platform, it features a long 102.4-inch wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs to provide a sporty stance and maximize interior roominess. Other key exterior features include large multi-reflector halogen headlights, rear combination lights with aero flares for improved aerodynamics and a wide sweeping grille with deep front fascia. Fog lights and heated sideview mirrors are also available.
Eight exterior colors are offered: Metallic Peacock, MorningSky Blue, Metallic Blue, Red Brick, Brilliant Silver, Magnetic Gray, Super Black and Aspen White.
The roomy five-passenger Versa Note interior provides a spacious total interior volume of 115.5 cubic feet, with best-in-class cargo space of 21.4 cubic feet. Interior versatility is enhanced through use of an available Divide-N-Hide® Adjustable Floor. With the standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seat folded down, a large flat cargo area is created.
Lifting up the cargo floor board reveals a hidden area to keep valuables out of sight. Lowering the floor board creates a deeper well for carrying taller or bulky items.
Said Castignetti: "Along with exceptional spaciousness, Versa Note offers the ingenuity to address the needs of owners who need one vehicle to perform the tasks of many – people hauler, cargo hauler, commuter transportation and weekend playmate."
The roomy interior is also a perfect match for the stylish Versa Note exterior. The long list of features starts with the standard cloth seating, 4-way adjustable front bucket seats (S, S Plus) with 6-way seats available (SV), Fine Vision instrumentation, AM/FM/CD/Aux-in audio system with 4 speakers, 12-volt power outlet, front door pockets with bottle holders, dual front and rear cupholders and many more amenities. Heated front seats with upgraded seat cloth and stitching are also available, along with leather-wrapped steering wheel, chrome/silver accents, USB input with iPod® control and steering wheel-mounted audio and Bluetooth® controls. Two interior colors are offered: Charcoal and Wheat Stone.
Segment-First Around View Monitor, Advanced Navigation
Among the new Versa Note's unexpected and affordable technology is the first-in-segment availability of Nissan's advanced Around View® Monitor. The system utilizes four small superwide-angle cameras mounted on the front, side and rear of the vehicle to provide a virtual 360° view of objects around the vehicle, helping the driver maneuver the car into tight spots.
The Around View® Monitor is offered as part of the SL Tech Package, which also features heated side view mirrors and the NissanConnectSM with Navigation System with NavTraffic and NavWeather (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately). The system includes a 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, Pandora® radio capability (iPhone® only), POIs powered by Google™ and Google™ Send-to-Car.
Added Castignetti: "No matter what the vehicle size, people hate parking – whether parallel parking in a tight space or pulling in or out of a space with large vehicles on either side. We're making technology such as the Around View® Monitor and the NissanConnectSM with Navigation System affordable because innovation and piece-of-mind should not be the exclusive territory of higher priced vehicles."
Other available Versa Note technology includes Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, integrated interface system for USB/iPod®, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, RearView Monitor and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately).
Standard safety and security systems include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags) front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection), roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS) and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with available Easy-Fill Tire Alert.
The Right Combination of Power and MPG
With entry-level buyers today looking for value not just in the initial purchase price but also in day-to-day operation, the Nissan Versa Note is designed to provide the perfect combination of fuel economy and performance. Anchoring the front-wheel drive Nissan "V" platform is a 1.6-liter HR16DE 4-cylinder engine rated at 109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm.
The engine includes a range of cutting-edge technologies, including a dual fuel injector system that allows a wider injection of fuel (versus traditional single injector systems), with the smaller nozzles delivering a spray approximately 57 percent finer than the previous generation single injector design's particle size to help achieve more complete combustion.
The compact, lightweight engine also utilizes a Twin Continuously Variable Timing Control (CVTC) system mounted on intake and exhaust ports (versus conventional CVTC systems, which are mounted only on the intake port), similar to the system used on the flagship Nissan Maxima. Using a CVTC on the outlet port increases thermal efficiency, decreases inhalation resistance and offers an approximate four percent improvement in fuel efficiency (over the previous engine design).
The 2014 Versa Note is offered with a choice of two transmissions – a 5-speed manual transmission (S model only) or a next-generation Xtronic CVT® transmission. The CVT allows continuous change of the transmission gear ratio by connecting the two pulleys with a metallic belt and changing their diameter by using hydraulic pressure.
Aiding efficiency is an integrated auxiliary gearbox using planetary gearing. The CVT features a transmission ratio of 7.3:1, broader than those of conventional CVTs and even typical 7-speed automatic transmissions.
In addition to the advanced engine and transmission designs, excellent everyday drivability is provided by an independent strut front suspension with stabilizer bar, torsion beam rear axle with integrated stabilizer bar, and electric power steering. Braking is provided by standard power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes with standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.
The Versa Note rides on standard 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers and 185/65HR15 all-season tires, while 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 195/55HR16 all-season tires are available. Low rolling resistance tires are standard on CVT-equipped models.
A Range of Well-Equipped Grade Levels, $13,990 Starting M.S.R.P.
The all-new Versa Note will be offered S, S Plus and SV grade levels – along with a Convenience package, SL Package and SL Tech Package. The new Versa Note will start with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $13,990 USD when it goes on sale in Summer 2013. Full pricing details will be announced close to the on-sale date.
Versa Note will be assembled by Nissan Mexicana SA de CV in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Said Castignetti: "At Nissan, innovation is more than just a new feature or technology, it's about helping people live their lives a little better, a little easier. This all-new Versa Note does that in many ways – with styling that excites, room for everyone, interior versatility for life's spontaneous moments, fuel efficiency for fewer trips to the gas station, entertainment and navigation systems that complement users' smart phones and other devices rather than compete with them. In a segment driven by value, Versa Note is an invaluable addition for the 2014 model year."
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