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2018 Versa Note
- Propulsion: Gas 1.6L I4
- Mileage: 30 MPG (27 city, 36 hwy)
- Transmission: 5-speed Manual
- Passenger Volume: 94.1cu ft
- Length: 163.0in
- Wheelbase: 102.4in
- Height: 60.5in
- Weight: 2414lbs
- Cargo Volume: 18.8cu ft
- Front Leg Room: 41.3in
- Front Head Room: 40.8in
- Front Hip Room: 48.5in
- Rear Leg Room: 38.3in
- Rear Head Room: 38.0in
- Rear Hip Room: 48.8in
- Drag Coefficient: 60/40
- Drag Coefficient: 0.308
The Note is the hatchback sibling of Nissan's subcompact Versa sedan. Both are notable for low pricing and a generously sized - albeit poorly furnished - interior, but the Note sets itself apart with more dapper styling, a larger cargo area and exclusive upscale options.
The Versa sedan and hatchback share a platform and numerous mechanical bits, but that isn't readily apparent from the Note's exterior. Whereas the sedan is conservative overall and slightly awkwardly elongated in profile, the Note is notable for its better-balanced proportions and trendier details, including fluid character lines and a unconventional grille treatment.
Perhaps the Note's biggest selling point is its cabin, which is positively cavernous by class standards. There's plenty of passenger space, even for those riding in back, which is more than can be said for the majority of the hatchback's rivals. Popping open the liftgate reveals a segment-best 21.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
The tradeoff for all that space and the low MSRP is dreary, bargain basement interior materials. Base models also come with little in the way of standard content, although a variety of extra-cost premium features are available - including heated seats, a navigation system with Google point-of-interest search, Bluetooth with streaming audio and hands-free texting capability. Another neat option is Nissan's AroundView camera system, which makes parking easier by providing a virtual 360-degree view of the space around the car.
With a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces just 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, the Note isn't going to be winning any drag races. It's highly efficient, though. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) helps the Note return 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.
Standard and optional features
The Note is offered in three trim levels called S, SV, and SR, respectively.
The entry-level Note S comes standard with A/C, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack, a trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity and a tilting steering wheel. Concessions to the low price include 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, roll-up windows and manual locks.
Depending on the trim level selected, options include 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, and a push-button ignition.
All Note models are fitted with dual front, front side and full-length side airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire pressure monitoring system.
There's an abundance of strong choices in the subcompact segment, including the capable Ford Fiesta Hatchback, the stylish Kia Rio Hatchback, and the spacious Honda Fit. All are pricier but more refined and better to drive than the Note, though only the Fit can match the capacious Nissan's interior room.