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2017 Nissan Versa Note

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2017 Nissan Versa Note Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.8

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note is a hatchback version of the Versa sedan, sharing the 4-door's engine, suspension and dash, although the last is dressed up a bit in the Note. But park the two next to each other and you'd have a hard time telling they were related. The hatchback looks more upright, with shorter front and rear overhangs, and a redesigned nose and tail this year that enhance the sporty appearance. Note we said "appearance" though, as the Versa Note's meager horsepower and soft suspension don't provide the kind of fun you can have in a Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta. However, the Note offers a larger back seat and cargo area than you might expect, giving basic transportation-seekers something to consider.

You'll Like This Car If...

If economical transportation at a good price is more important than smiles-per-miles, then the 2017 Nissan Versa Note may be a good choice. It can seat four comfortably (no, really), and it's thrifty on gas. And we think this year's styling updates look good.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Versa Note is not particularly quick, and thanks to its soft suspension, it's not even fun in a drive-a-slow-car-fast kind of way. If you want at least a little thrill in your subcompact, check out the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta or Chevy Sonic.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.8
  • 7.8
  • 9.1
  • 8.4
  • 8.9
  • N/A
How It Ranks
2017 Nissan Versa Note Low/wide front photo What's New for 2017

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note gets a new nose featuring Nissan's new "V-Motion" grille, bringing it more in line with the rest of the Nissan lineup. Inside are larger cup holders, a relocated USB and auxiliary audio input, and an extra 12-volt outlet. The base model Note S has been discontinued.

Driving the Versa Note
2017 Nissan Versa Note Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

For those seeking a 4-wheel motorized transportation appliance, the 2017 Nissan Versa Note should be more than sufficient. It offers a comfortable ride, good fuel economy, a roomy interior and...

... a reasonable price. On the road, the 109-horsepower 4-cylinder engine delivers adequate acceleration without using much fuel, and the ride is comfortable. But when compared to cars like the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta, the Versa Note comes up short. Where those cars are fun, such as in corners, the Note leans hard and gives up grip easily. The engine works through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which helps fuel efficiency, but also means at full throttle it drones loudly; this year's added "shift" points mitigate that somewhat, but there's no getting around the noise when you floor the gas. The good news is that once underway the Versa Note moves along just fine.

AROUND VIEW MONITOR
You'd think such a small car wouldn't need a 360-degree view to help maneuver, but somehow it makes sense, allowing you to maneuver the Versa Note into even smaller spaces than you'd imagine without worry.

FUEL ECONOMY
The Nissan Versa Note may not be quick, but its small engine and CVT combine for very good fuel economy, up to 39 mpg on the highway. 

2017 Nissan Versa Note Details
2017 Nissan Versa Note Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

There's a surprising amount of room inside the 2017 Versa Note, despite the small exterior dimensions. The rear seat, for example, offers 37 inches of legroom, more than the two-sizes-bigger Nissan Altima sedan. Its cargo area can swallow 18.8 cubic feet with rear seats up, or up to 38.3 with them down. As for style, the interior accommodations are pretty basic, yes, but it's all very functional and comfortable as well. The front seats offer good support, and the controls are all easy to use and find.

Exterior
2017 Nissan Versa Note photo

While the cabin may be virtually identical to the Versa sedan, the Versa Note's exterior is notably different. It's dimensionally different, thanks to much shorter front and rear overhangs, giving it a sportier look. We especially like the new nose, which incorporates the "V-Motion" grille treatment we've seen on cars like the Nissan Altima and Sentra in recent years. From a practical standpoint, the tall profile means it's easy to get in and out, and the wide rear doors make it easy to install a child seat.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base 2017 Versa Note S Plus is a little thinner on standard equipment than we might expect, even at its low base price. There's air conditioning, plus power mirrors, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux audio system, tilt wheel, trip computer, Bluetooth, front disc/rear drum brakes, and 15-inch steel wheels with covers. The CVT is standard, and the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder is the only engine available. However, missing from the standard-equipment list are power windows, power door locks, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver's seat, or even a remote trunk release, though all are available on the higher-priced SV trim.

Optional Equipment

Like most cars these days, options come with successively higher trim levels, rather than stand-alone packages. The next-step SV adds power windows and door locks, a USB input for the audio system, keyless entry, cruise control and a rearview camera. The SR offers aluminum-alloy wheels and a sportier exterior appearance that includes fog lights, while the top-line SL adds push-button ignition, a touch-screen audio system with navigation, and the around-view monitor system. Stand-alone options include premium paint colors, and an SV Appearance package that adds aluminum wheels and fog lights to that model.

Under the Hood
2017 Nissan Versa Note Engine photo

The only engine available for the 2017 Nissan Vera Note is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 109 horsepower. That's not a lot by today’s standards, and it's connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that's tuned for fuel economy, not performance; last year's base-model 5-speed manual has disappeared. The upshot is that if you're looking for a budget race car, you'll be disappointed. However, if you're looking for a powerful-enough commuter, the Versa Note's 39-mpg highway rating will definitely keep you interested.

1.6-liter inline-4
109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/39 mpg

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

The 2017 Nissan Versa Note S Plus anchors the lineup with a base price of about $16,300 including the $865 destination charge. On the other end of the price spectrum is the Versa Note SL, with a price of $19,500; the mid-range SV and SR roughly split the difference, with the SV a little lower, and the SR a little higher. Those prices are in line with competitors like the Kia Rio, Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta...and that's a problem, as all three offer more features, a better driving experience, or both. The Kia Rio, for example, offers more power, a better warranty and roughly the same price. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their Versa Note. Strong resale value is another characteristic of the Versa Note, where it's a best-in-class leader.

To find out what consumers are really paying for this vehicle, first select a style to see the Fair Purchase Price| Calculate payments for this vehicle

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