Nissan's Versa Note hatchback may not be the most powerful small car on the market. Nor the most fun to drive. But the subcompact hatchback is a very practical urban runabout, and for 2016 it could very well claim the title of most colourful small car around.
As with the Juke and Micra, the Nissan Versa Note is now available with Nissan's Colour Studio accessories, which offers customers a series of colour interior and exterior components including mirror caps, door handle caps, alloy wheels, plus plastic interior trim, and other accouterments to brighten and individualize their cars. There are also two new exterior paint colours - Cayenne Red and Gun Metallic. Other than these new colours, the Versa Note carries over into 2016 unchanged.
Available in three trims ranging from base S to sporty SR and tech-heavy SL, the Versa Note offers buyers the space of a much larger car in a small package at an affordable price. The interior itself isn't much to write home about; it's finished in hard and shiny plastics, but there's a surprising amount of rear legroom and a massive amount of cargo space - 532 L with the rear seats up, and 1,084 available with the rear bench folded down. Bikers take note: with the rear seats folded flat, a Versa Note can swallow a standard size bicycle whole without removing the front wheels. While the rear seats do not fold flat, the available Divide-N-Hide system provides a faux floor, allowing items to be hidden away out of sight.
The Versa Note uses a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine for power. It develops 109 horses and 107 lb-ft of torque, which is on the low side for the segment. Dual fuel injectors (traditional port injection, not direct injection) are used to optimize performance and improve efficiency. When combined with the available CVT transmission (standard on SR and SL, optional on all others), the Note returns a very reasonable 7.5 L/100 km city, 6.0 L/100 km highway. The standard five-speed manual transmission consumes 8.6 L/100 km in the city and 6.5 L/100 km on the highway, but fights back with more linear acceleration and no CVT drone.
While simple, the Versa Note is popular among Canadians; its pricing delivers a lot of value for the money. The base S trim offers a lot of car for $14,498 - air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, Bluetooth, and power heated mirrors. Sure, you'll miss out on keyless entry, a USB port, and display audio system, but it's well equipped for the money.
One step up, the SV gets a standard display audio system with reverse camera, power windows, cruise control, keyless entry, USB port, and even a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Price: $16,398, which means an on-the-road price of under $20k.
The sporty SR adds sports microsuede seats, a nifty body kit, fancy alloy wheels, a different instrument cluster, plus a three-spoke wheel that shares its design with the 370Z sports car.
At the top of the heap, the SL trim adds the sort of convenience features that make driving easier. No, you won't find luxuries like leather upholstery or a sunroof here, but navigation and a 360-degree parking camera are standard, not to mention proximity key with push-button start. This, the toniest Versa Note, sells for $19,748.