I like small cars. They’re practical, cute, and fun to drive. As you’re all aware (I’m sure) I adore the Nissan MICRA. It might just be the coolest small car out there right now. However, it’s not the only cool small car from Nissan. And while the alluring price of the MICRA will likely bring buyers into Nissan showrooms, they’re more likely to leave with a Note in the end, and they’d not be amiss in doing so.
The play on words here is just too easy, I swear I’ll stop soon… maybe. Anyway, this little Nissan has more than just its fun-to-play-with name going for it. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the first generation Versa hatch, I’ve come to like and appreciate the Note as it’s come to fruition, and I enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the SL model I had.
First and foremost, I adored the Metallic Peacock colour of my little hatch. If I were to buy my own Nissan Note, I would definitely dress it up in this particular garb. It gives the little car a gander sense of presence and brightens even the gloomiest days without being garish or “too bright” and neon-y.
Regardless of colour (thought that really is the best one), the 2016 Note has some great body-lines as well. For a hatchback, it looks great. It sports the signature lobster claw lights up front that are mirrored in the rear, as well. For the SR trim levels, the Nissan Versa Note also gets a more aggressive front bumper with fog lights as well as a rooftop spoiler juts off the back giving this little hatch a “hot” factor.
Sitting atop 16” wheels (the largest available in the Nissan Versa Note lineup), my Metallic Peacock ride looked stellar (I think), and I even quite liked the elongated look of the rear with the four-door body. In Honda Fit fashion, the Versa Note offers up gobs of interior space with 532.4 litres of cargo space with the rear seats up, and 1,084 litres with them down. That’s a lot of litres for such a small, compact car. And the interior passenger volume is cavernous too at 2.664 litres.
I was never starved for space in the 2016 Nissan Versa Note, and neither was my son in the back seat. He had plenty of space to move his legs around and he loved the visibility out the rear windows and all around.
Features you might not expect to find on a car in the Versa Note’s segment such as keyless entry, push-button start and heated front seats are all available on the Note, as well as all-around cameras for easier parking in tighter situations. There’s also the available NissanConnect system, as well as Bluetooth hookup, and voice-activated navigation system -- all of which my particular Nissan Versa Note SL came equipped with, for a starting price of just $19,748.
A note about the drive
It doesn’t matter which Versa Note you take home, you’ll find the same engine under the hood: a 1.6L 4-cylinder mill that produces 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque. Blissfully, there is a 5-speed manual available across most trims; however, my particular tester was equipped with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT.
I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it another million, I’m sure: I dislike CVTs. And, unfortunately, that sentiment remains after driving the 2016 Versa Note. It wasn’t bad enough to ruin the experience, but it definitely put a damper on things. However, it’s tolerable (I suppose), and buyers of the Versa Note will be pleased with the fuel economy achieved with the whole setup at 6.0L/100km on the highway and 7.5L/100km in the city.
There really isn’t anything very exciting about driving the Versa Note, but it’s not terrible. In fact, it’s quite pleasant and will please buyers. The ride is comfortable enough, with its independent front suspension with stabilizer bar, and torsion beam rear axle with integrated stabilizer bar. And the Versa Note’s vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power steering also aids in the ease of driving.
Power is sent to the front wheels, and you will get understeer if you push this little puppy hard enough, but it tries its darndest to hang on. However, like I said, this is not a highly exciting motor and you really won’t want to push it that hard, if for no other reason than the shift-less CVT droning on…
In all, it’s a complete package in terms of hat compact car buyers are looking for. The 2016 Nissan Versa Note provides gobs of interior space, a decent set of amenities and luxuries by segment standards, a pleasant ride, good fuel economy, and good looks; everything you’d want and at a very reasonable price.
While the competition is fierce with the likes of the Hyundai Accent, and recently updated Toyota Yaris, the Nissan Versa Note definitely has some ground to stand on, and is well worth a trip to the showroom to check out and consider.