“By rights,” Nissan’s newest subcompact hatchback “should be a slow, plodding, uninspiring econobox.” But the Versa Note surprises for a vehicle that is shorter overall and powered by a smaller engine than the popular Versa hatchback it replaces. “Cute, reasonably comfortable, and fun to drive when you feel like having fun,” it actually feels nimbler and quicker than its performance numbers would tell you it is.
The numbers that potential buyers may care about most are the Note’s 40 mpg highway fuel economy and best-in-class 35 mpg rating in combined city and highway driving. “No witchcraft was required to reach such figures.” Credit instead better aerodynamics, a significant cut in weight, and an efficient, continuously variable transmission that adds just $1,250 to the base model’s price.
Los Angeles Times
The CVT “makes you pay for its efficiency,” slowing acceleration and creating an “annoying droning” when the engine’s pushed. But the “nicely done” interior offers class-leading passenger and rear cargo space, plus only a small handful of cheap-looking details. Among econo hatchbacks, Honda’s well-rounded Fit “remains the car to beat.” But the new Note “certainly makes Nissan a player.”