2017 Nissan Versa Note

Practical and versatile



  • 박재승 (james@koreatimes.net) --
  • 15 May 2017

By James Park


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   Versa Note is a versatile, practical, fuel-efficient and relatively inexpensive sub-compact hatchback. The car would serve well as a basic mode of transportation for students and for working people who are saving for other things.

   Even if you are affluent enough to afford a Mercedes or a Porsche, something like the Versa Note will come in handy for everyday rat-race and for enduring the long winter’s road salt onslaught and other harsh conditions.

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   In the Greater Toronto’s ever-forming traffic jams, cops hiding around a corner with radar guns and pot-hole infested roads, the Note would probably a better choice than a 911 Turbo S.

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   In Canada, the car comes in four flavors – S, SV, SR and SL. The basic model starts from $14,498 before taxes and other extras and the SL from $19,748. The SR and the SL come with CVT. Five-speed manual is standard for the lesser models but one can order CVT as an optional equipment.

   The SV test-vehicle with 5MT and an optional $135 paint job comes in at an affordable $17,083. Even at this price, the car does not look cheap. The cloth seats are supportive and comfortable and the front seats even come with two-stage heating elements. It also has power windows and door locks but no push-button ignition or power seat adjustment.

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   The steering wheel – which tilts but not telescopes – feels good in the hands. The instrument panel has clearer graphics than before and the audio system sounds up to snuff.

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   Regardless of the hierarchy, all Versa Notes come with 1.6 litre naturally aspirated four cylinders producing 109 horses and 107 lb-ft of torque. This is only about 20% of 911 Turbo, but the car is quite svelte at 1,112 kg (2,485 lb) and is capable of accelerating without embarrassing its owner.

   The Note sips regular fuel at the official rating of 8.6 litres per 100 km in city and 6.6 litres on highway. The week-long test-drive of about 70% city and 30% highway has seen an average of about 6.7 litres, which is little better than the previous Note this writer drove in the January of 2014 (same engine but with CVT).

   Of course, no car is perfect. In the case of Note, the engine noise permeating into the cabin is not insignificant. More insulation would go a long way.

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   As a die-hard member of the ‘save the stick’ association, this writer is always glad to see the manual option. However, the Note’s gear-shift lever feels rubbery and throws are long. The clutch is light and progressive but for the beginners, the lack of hill-holder means more practice time on the slopes. I hate to say it, but the Note seems to go better with a CVT.

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The new Note gets face-lift and now incorporates the familiar ‘V-Motion’ grill. Otherwise, the car’s exterior silhouette remains the same. Overall, the Note is a nice-looking vehicle.

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   Suspension is stiff but the car handles like a light-footed vehicle it is. As a front-wheel drive car, the Note under-steers at the limits. The steering is mostly accurate but feels distant.

   These are all forgivable because the Note does not pretend to be a sports car. No, it is a fuel-efficient practical hatchback that is both versatile and reliable. I’m fine with that. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)

 

2017 Nissan Versa Note SV 5MT

Price: $16,948

As tested: $17,083

Engine: 1.6 litre four

Power: 109 hp/107 lb-ft

Transmission: 5MT

Drive: FWD

Fuel: 8.6 litres per 100km (city), 6.6 litres (highway)

Best: practical, fuel efficient

Worst: bit noisy, rubbery shifter

Competition: Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Chevy Spark, Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta

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