The 2014 Versa Note, Nissan’s new 5-passenger hatchback, shares some attributes of the popular Versa sedan but gets more style and functionality. It’s been a pretty good year so far for Nissan – and automakers in general. Sales figures are rising across the board as buyers look to get into new cars before interest rates go up.

The Versa Note starts below $14-grand and gets up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Mileage estimates for most cars are increasing as

automakers scramble to meet higher government mileage

requirements. One of the ways engineers

increase mileage is to

reduce vehicle weight by using lighter materials. The Versa Note weighs some 300 pounds less than the outgoing Versa hatchback – it’s the equivalent of taking Shaq out of the car. Engineers across most car lines are

also using things like active grille

shutters to reduce drag, and the Versa Note has them.

For 2014, Nissan also makes available in the Versa Note the best camera system on the market: the company’s “Around-View Monitor” system that

allows a 360-degree view around the car. We trust it completely to back into or out of tight parking spaces.

Other available must-have features on the Versa Note include Nissan’s Intelligent Key system, Bluetooth hands-free phone and heated seats.

The Versa Note is offered in three grades: S, S Plus and SV. The engine used in all three is a 1.6-liter Inline 4-cylinder that generates 109 horsepower and 107 lb.-ft. of torque.

During a half-day test drive at the west coast launch of the Versa Note, we found the engine provided sufficient power for everyday driving and family hauling, especially considering that its mileage figures are 40 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city.

The transmission choice on the front-wheel drive Versa Note is either a 5-speed manual or a new CVT automatic.

The Versa Note is styled differently from its namesake sedan, with very short overhangs and a more raked windshield. The design is also more aerodynamic, which is another reason the

Versa’s mileage figures are so good.

The interior has an upscale and roomy feeling, with 40.8-inches of headroom in front, 94.1 cubic feet of total passenger room and 21.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Rear seat legroom is 38.3 inches, which is significantly more than competitor vehicles.

The base Versa Note S with the 5-speed manual transmission starts at $13,990, and the mid-level S Plus with the CVT transmission starts at $15,240. The top-end SV trim starts at $15,990. Factory option packages include an SL Tech option that includes the “Around-View Monitor,” navigation and heated mirrors.

When it comes to safety, the Versa Note has dual-stage airbags in front, driver and front passenger side-impact airbags and roof-mounted side curtains, as well as crumple zones and all the required

stability and traction control systems.

Since it is brand new, the Versa Note has not yet been safety tested by the

government nor the insurance industry.

The Versa Note is a stylish, family-friendly vehicle with great mileage and serious value. Automakers across the board are seeing increases in sales this year, and the 2014 Versa Note is one reason Nissan should see that trend


2014 Nissan Versa Note

  • Engine: 1.6-liter Inline 4-cylinder
  • Transmission: 5 speed manual or CVT automatic
  • Horsepower: 109
  • Prices: S model (M/T) $13,990, S Plus model (CVT) $15,240, SV model (CVT) $15,990
  • EPA mileage rating: 31 mpg city / 40 mpg highway