By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
For 2014, the Nissan Versa offers a schizophrenic aspect. The sedan version is uninspiring but best-selling older tech, while the 5-door hatchback offers new tech and a wider array of features. The 2014 Versa Sedan claims to be the roomiest car in its class, and it remains the least-expensive new car you can buy with its $12,780 starting price unchanged from last year. Add in fuel economy of up to 40 mpg, and the Versa looks even more sensible. Little is changed this year on the Sedan versions other than chassis tuning and some equipment offerings, but the all-new and very stylish 5-door hatch is a different story, combining fresh looks with similar fuel economy.
If your focus is on dollars and cents, the 2014 Versa is among the least expensive new cars to buy. It offers high fuel economy, a surprising amount of passenger room, and a comfortable ride in a car that starts under $13,000. The 5-door Note is also pretty in a way most cars in this segment aren't.
The big news is the all-new Versa Note 5-door that can be had as a no-frills transport car, but also is offered with a wide variety of features...if you're ready to pay for them. All 2014 Nissan Versa Sedans benefit from revised suspension and steering calibrations. Entry-level S models get a tachometer and SV and SL models have improved seat-cushion design. The SV also includes a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and the top-line SL gets a 4.3-inch display audio package and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Driving Impressions We haven't yet had the opportunity to drive the Versa Sedan and Versa Note 5-door back-to-back, but our very educated guess is the new Note amplifies the virtues of the...... older-design Sedan. Both are smooth and quiet by economy-car standards, and we were impressed with the refinement of the Note in particular. Though its road-going behavior will never be called exciting, the Versa is an easy car to drive and maneuver. The steering is light, its turning radius is tight, and visibility is very good from the driver's seat. Like other cars with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), Versas so equipped take some getting used to. There are no conventional shift points, so the engine may seem to be working hard at unexpected times, and with just 109 horsepower, the 2014 Versa's acceleration won't tempt you to enter many drag races.
The Versa is commendably roomy, and folding rear seatbacks add versatility. In both Sedan and 5-door forms this is a small car that can comfortably seat two full-size adults in back.
Sedans with the CVT automatic transmission are rated at 40 mpg for the highway and 35 mpg combined. The new 5-door equals the Sedan's numbers with even better drivability, making both Versas easy on the wallet and on the environment.
Nissan says the Versa Sedan has best-in-class rear legroom, and the trunk has a surprising amount of space, too. With 14.9 cubic feet of capacity, the Versa's cargo hold is larger than the Nissan Maxima. The Versa Note is equally roomy, and it offers a whopping 21.4 cubic feet of cargo space in a very versatile interior. The Note's interior is also flashier and more appealing than the so-so interior of the sedan version. It offers niceties like a rear-seat armrest with cupholders, available heated cloth seats and a driver's armrest. The Note is also the hot tip if you're a tech fan, offering the Around View Monitor that makes parallel parking a breeze.Exterior
Picture an economy car in your mind, and you'll likely visualize something akin to the 2014 Nissan Versa Sedan. It is utterly acceptable and that's it. But the Versa Note kicks it all up a notch with exterior styling that Note product planners cite as a "reason to buy." We agree. The Note's overhangs are six inches shorter than the Sedan's, and the result is a more energetic-looking design. Higher-trim SV and SL models are distinguished by chrome highlights. Wheels are 15- or 16-inch, and steel or aluminum-alloy, depending on the bodystyle, trim and option package.
The Nissan Versa is one of the few new cars that still offers roll-your-own windows and manual-adjust mirrors. But that's in base "S" trim, which is also manual-transmission only. Climbing the food chain, you'll step up to the costlier SV or SL trims that deliver significantly plusher amenities, yet no version of the 2014 Versa Sedan has a telescoping steering wheel, which can make it harder for drivers to obtain an optimum position. The base S trim includes a tachometer, and the low-rolling-resistance tires that used to come only with the CVT are now standard across the line. Happily, even base vehicles have air conditioning and AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary input.
Major options for the Versa Sedan are available in higher-trim SV and SL models. The Convenience Package in SV models adds Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls and 15-inch alloy wheels. The Technology Package on SL models adds Nissan Connect with Navigation and a color touch screen, satellite radio, rearview monitor, and a USB input for audio playback. Things are a bit different for the Versa Note. It, too, starts in an S trim manual-only version. An S Plus adds CVT transmission and little else, but the SV brings with it a 4.3-inch audio display, rear-view monitor, and the Divide-N-Hide adjustable rear cargo floor. The SL version is filled with niceties like 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lights and heated seats. Going to the SL Tech package adds Nissan Connect with Navigation, Around View Monitor and heated side mirrors.
The front-wheel-drive Nissan Versa Sedan and 5-door Note hatchback are equipped with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. With only 109 horsepower, it's not particularly powerful, but does get an EPA rating of 40 mpg on the highway when connected to a CVT transmission. Other transmission choices are a 5-speed manual (Versa Sedan and Versa Note) and 4-speed automatic (available only on base S models of the Sedan.) All other Versas use the fuel-saving CVT that Nissan is so high on.
109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg (5-speed manual), 26/35 (4-speed automatic), 31/40 mpg (CVT automatic)
With a base price of $12,780 including destination charge (the same as last year), the 2014 Nissan Versa Sedan still claims the title of lowest-priced new car you can buy in this country. The newer Versa Note hatchback has a starting price of $14,780 including destination charge, indicating Nissan's belief that consumers will pay more for its good looks and greater versatility. As you climb the trim levels and add equipment, the prices also climb commensurately. For example, a top-line Versa Note SL model with the Technology Package has a list price of more than $19,000, which could buy well-equipped examples of competitive models like the Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, or Honda Fit. Before buying, be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the various 2014 Nissan Versa models. Over the long-term, the Versa's resale value is expected to be good, and its 5-Year Cost to Own has traditionally been among the best-in-class.
By kmk on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great mileage, great handling, good price"
Cons: "long to heat up, driving position, standard featue"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"this car drives great, handles good in the snow. the mileage is good for how spacious the car is. the standard features are fairly adequate but disappointing for a car of this year(no cruise, no satellite, no bluetooth) my gfs car is base kia and 2 years older and her car trumps mine feature wise. the heat takes the longest to kick in out of all my snow driven vehicles in my life(Ranger, Saturn,gf kia soul, impala). but the good of this car far outweighs the negative."
By Brandon on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "highest mpg and most room of comparable cars"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car about 6 weeks ago and have put a little over 3000 miles on it so far. I was a little nervous about the CVT, but I am really enjoying it. The engine noise is significantly less than with a traditional automatic transmission and there is no jerk from shifting. I had read several reviews that complained about slow acceleration, but compared to other 4 cylinder autos I think it is fairly impressive. It definitely outperforms my 09 Toyota Yaris. The gas mileage has been from 38.5 to 40.5, doing best on the highway at about 60 mpg and staying around 38.5 on the interstate. The issues that I have noticed so far are 1 when you turn the defroster on the a/c comes on (this is normal for virtually all car models) but it doesn't turn off when you switch back to the vent, so you have to turn the a/c off manually 2 the intermittent wiper speed is not adjustable I am liking this car more and more each time I drive it. I just wish I hadn't wasted so much time considering other cars before I bought this one."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By b123 on Saturday, September 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Bought this as my first car, as the versa's price is pretty much the cheapest for a new car on the market. I really do like it, its great for me! I'm a college student so having good gas mileage is a necessity for me as I drive back and forth from school and home. Love the fact that it has Bluetooth and the backseats have a lot more room than I would expect! I also like the spoiler on the back of the car, its cute! It does take a while to pick up though, but that might just be because I am used to driving a van that was a v6. Overall I'm really happy I chose this as my first car to buy, and I really hope it stays in good shape for a long time!!"
15 people out of 27 found this review helpful