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2014+ Nissan Versa Note big on versatility, space


2018 Nissan Versa Note
2018 Nissan Versa Note - Justin Pritchard
  • Model: 2014+ Nissan Versa Note
  • Vehicle type: Compact

History/description

This high-sensibility compact from Nissan put plenty of room and flexibility within reach of shoppers after big-time versatility with a minimal up-front investment.

Designed for affordable, efficient and flexible operation to match any lifestyle, Versa Note packed stand-out value for those after plenty of space and efficiency for their dollar. Look for over 535 litres of cargo space, a variable cargo load floor that can create a flat loading surface with a hidden bin beneath and split-folding seats that open up the cargo hold.

Also notable is the shape of the cabin and vehicle and the implications on boarding, exiting and space. Headroom and legroom are generous, even for larger passengers. A low step-in and generous door openings mean it’s easy to get in and out, too, even for limited-mobility drivers.

Features may include Bluetooth, the around-view parking monitor, navigation, heated seats, remote keyless entry, power accessories, cruise control, and more, depending on the model selected. Many units also got the NissanConnect command interface, which put numerous entertainment, navigation, information and communication controls right at the driver’s fingertips.

A 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine was standard on all models. Performance is thrifty and output is rated at 109 horsepower. A five-speed manual or XTronic continually variable transmission could be specified.

Lower-cost versions included the basic Versa Note S and value-bundled Versa Note SV. The sporty Versa Note SR and top-line Versa Note SL were also on offer. A major face lift for model-year 2017 saw the implementation of improved looks and feature content.

What owners like

For space, versatility, functionality and storage provisions, Versa Note seemed to satisfy. Good ride quality is also noted, as is compelling all-around value. Many owners say this is the perfect small car, mostly, since its comfortable, thrifty, and bigger than it looks.

What owners dislike

Some owners wish for a more upscale feel to the interior, a wider back-up camera angle, and more interior storage for smaller items. Further, some report that the ride gets noisy at higher speeds.

 

The test drive

Start by understanding that failure to maintain or service the CVT transmission as per the specific instructions in the owner’s manual can lead to problems, many of which aren’t covered by any remaining warranty.

There is one way to treat this transmission for best results and that is to have it serviced by a Nissan dealer, at or before the intervals set out in the servicing section of the owner’s manual.

Having the transmission serviced at a private shop, or a quick-lube shop is not advised, as Nissan dealers have access to special equipment to tackle the job properly. Damage or issues caused by improper or skipped servicing are not covered by warranty.

Neither are problems or failure of the transmission caused if it’s refilled incorrectly, or refilled with the improper type of transmission fluid.

Move to the air conditioner, confirming that performance is adequate. If that’s not the case, a refrigerant leak is possible, or the cabin air filter could be plugged, restricting system performance.

Any issues with the performance of the air conditioner that don’t have an instantly-apparent cause should be investigated by a Technician.

Also, note that poor heater performance may also be caused by a clogged cabin air filter, or in some cases, a bad thermostat, or coolant system leak.

Especially if you see a check-engine light (and even if you don’t), have the Versa Note you’re after ‘scanned’ by a technician to reveal any potential stored trouble codes, which can reveal potential problems with the powertrain and other electronics. A pre-purchase diagnostic scan is one of the best possible ways to reveal a potential multitude of potentially-hidden problems in the vehicle’s electronics.

Work all window and door-locks, door handles, the hood and tailgate releases, all seat adjustment mechanisms, and the folding rear seat latches, before you buy. Be sure to open the rear hatch after releasing it from the key fob, the release lever inside of the vehicle, and the latch on the hatch itself, too.

Open the rear hatch and apply a light downward push, confirming that the hatch remains in the open position. If it’s closed easily with minimal force, the hatch struts will likely need replacement soon, to avoid closing accidentally on someone’s cranium.

Finally, when considering a higher-mileage Versa Note without all service records available, have a technician inspect the vehicle fully ahead of your purchase, and budget for a tune-up and full fluid change, just to be safe.

A new set of spark plugs, a new engine air filter, a full fluid change and oil change, and a full assessment of the suspension and brakes can go a long way to helping drivers access trouble-free operation for the long haul.

The verdict

Versa Note can be considered a top choice for shoppers after an affordable compact that’s big on space, flexibility and low running costs.

With a satisfactory report after a pre-purchase inspection and confirmation that the CVT transmission is up to date on servicing and software updates (or, just opt for the manual transmission), this one can be bought with peace of mind.

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