2015 Nissan Versa Note SR Long-Term Arrival
Fresh Face, Fresh Start?
Until the Note hatchback model arrived on the scene last year, the Nissan Versa was never big on style. Visually, the Note is markedly improved over the frumpy Versa sedan, but if you're looking for similarities between the two cars, you won't find many. The car was snatched directly from the Japanese market to replace the old Versa hatch and shares little with its three-box cousin besides its platform, engine, and name badge.
We took delivery of a 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR to find out what the newcomer brings to the B-segment table. The SR trim level adds sportier looks, but no more performance over a standard Versa Note. New black-accented, 16-inch alloy wheels, a unique roof spoiler, and a more aggressive-looking front end change the Versa Note's appearance, but the experience behind the wheel is much the same. The last Note SL model we tested, which boasted the same 109-hp 1.6-liter I-4 as the SR, hit 60 mph from a standstill in 10.4 seconds and completed the quarter mile in 17.8 seconds at 78.2 mph. Push the Note hard, and you'll be treated to a buzzy, monotone wail as the CVT works its shiftless magic. But being gutless is par for the subcompact course, we suppose. There is one upside to the Versa Note SR's lack of thrust: It retains the 31/40 mpg city/highway rating of the standard model.
The extra equipment that comes with the $660 SR Convenience package will be put to use during the Note's yearlong stay in our fleet. The package includes features such as a 5-inch screen, rearview camera, SiriusXM satellite radio capability, and Bluetooth streaming audio. Those last two features will be more than welcome on the long trips we intend to take in the Versa Note.
The Red Brick-finished exterior complements the SR's sporty touches and matches the red stripes of the special cloth-upholstered seats. But the added style doesn't come cheap. The 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR starts at $18,340, and our tester with the Convenience package and $180 floor and cargo mats rings up at $19,180. That's a lot of coin for such a little car.
While it's true the Versa Note brings the nameplate forward in terms of looks, the question of whether it's class-leading remains. The Versa has led the subcompact sales race for years, but in Motor Trend comparison tests, the car has never finished better than mid-pack. In our 12 months with the Versa Note SR, we hope to find out whether this new model can change that -- and whether it's more than just a pretty face.
Test numbers from a 2014-model-year Nissan Versa Note are shown below -- stay tuned for a future update with 2015 Versa Note SR test numbers.
|2014 Nissan Versa Note SV with SL Tech Package|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||1.6L/109-hp/107-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont. variable auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||2516 lb (60/40%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||163.7 x 66.7 x 60.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||10.4 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||17.8 sec @ 78.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||127 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.77 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||29.0 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||31/40 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||109/84 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.56 lb/mile|