New 2018
Nissan Versa Note Hatchback

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

A spacious subcompact, the fuel-efficient 2018 Nissan Versa Note is a popular hatchback with small families, first-time buyers and commuters on a tight budget. Although it’s mechanically similar to the less expensive Nissan Versa sedan, the Versa Note hatchback offers quite a bit more cargo space and a sportier appearance. Nissan offers the new Versa Note in three trim levels, S, SV and SR. All are powered by a 109-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Although it’s one of the least powerful cars in its class, it’s also one of the more affordable with a starting price under $16,500. The Versa’s more powerful competition includes the similarly priced Ford Fiesta, the Honda Fit at around $17,000, and the Chevy Sonic, which starts close to $19,000.

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You'll Like This Car If...

Last year, for the fifth consecutive year, we named the Nissan Versa Note to the KBB.com 10 Best Back-to-School Cars list because it is surprisingly roomy and impressively versatile with appealing options and a low starting price. It also gets impressive fuel mileage with a 39-mpg EPA rating on the highway.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re after a sporty drive that’s as entertaining and engaging as it is thrifty and practical, you may not like the new Nissan Versa Note. With only 109 horsepower, the Versa Note isn’t much of a thrill-maker and its handling is adequate at best. The Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic are much more fun to drive.

What's New for 2018

For 2018, the SL trim level is discontinued and the S Plus trim level becomes the S trim. The top SR trim level adds standard Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer System and Easy Fill Tire Alert. The mid-grade Versa Note SV adds the same new features as part of the SV Special Edition Package.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

An easy car to drive, the 2018 Nissan Versa Note is comfortable, agile and its tight exterior dimensions make it easy to park. Visibility is excellent, and the Nissan’s steering is light but offers little feel. On the road, the Versa’s 109-horsepower 4-cylinder engine could be a bit smoother than it is at high rpm, but it delivers adequate acceleration without using much fuel, and the CVT transmission, which helps fuel efficiency, works well enough in most situations. The Versa’s ride is compliant, even over rough roads. 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 Nissan is less engaging to drive and it leans hard in the turns and gives up grip easily. The Versa Note’s performance is sufficient for most drivers looking for an inexpensive and reliable runabout; it’s just not a very sporty drive.

Favorite Features

LARGE CARGO CAPACITY
This is small car at just 163 inches long, but the new Nissan Versa Note offers an impressive 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats. That’s quite a bit more than many of the Nissan’s competition including the Chevy Spark, Ford Fiesta and the Honda Fit.

EASY FILL TIRE ALERT
This clever system is like a built-in tire gauge. First it alerts you to an underinflated tire. Once you begin to fill the tire, the Versa’s flashers come on to confirm the process has started. Then the horn chirps to let you know the tire has reached the correct air pressure.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The 2018 Nissan Versa Note hatchback shares much of its interior with the Nissan Versa sedan. Well assembled, ergonomically agreeable and comfortable, the Versa Note’s interior is also one of the most spacious in its class. Rear passengers get 37 inches of legroom, three inches more than in the Chevy Sonic. Headroom is also generous. Its cargo area is big too, with its 18.8 cubic feet and that expands when you fold the rear seatbacks. Although the overall design isn’t very fancy and the materials and accommodations are pretty basic, the infotainment system is easy to use and the tilt/telescope steering wheel and height-adjustable seat make it easy to get comfortable.

Exterior

Inside, the new Nissan Versa Note is virtually identical to the Versa sedan, but not on the outside. In fact, the exterior design of the two models could not be more different. Where the Versa sedan is staid and slab-sided, Nissan’s designers had a little fun with the Versa Note hatchback giving it artfully sculpted doors, short overhangs and a sizable rear spoiler. We especially like the hatchback’s beak, which incorporates the "V-Motion" grille treatment also seen on the Nissan Altima, Sentra and GT-R. 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 Standard Equipment

The base 2018 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.

Notable 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 top SR offers aluminum-alloy wheels and a sportier exterior appearance that includes fog lights, a 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 Special Edition Package that adds aluminum wheels and fog lights to that model.

Under the Hood

The only engine available for the new 2018 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. 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

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Pricing Notes

The 2018 Nissan Versa Note S anchors the lineup with a base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $16,500 including the $885 destination charge. The mid-range and much better-equipped SV, which we recommend over the S model, is about $17,000, while the top Versa Note SR is about $2,000 more. 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, more power and a better driving experience, at 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.

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