By on June 21, 2014

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV side

In the not too distant past, buying a cheap car meant getting something with crank windows, manual steering, and often with no radio. Air conditioning was a luxury feature which, when equipped, would often cut the available engine power from little to none. Even safety features such as ABS required a jump to model that was no longer cheap. Having grown up with the cheapest of the cheap, ‘80’s and early ‘90s Hyundai Excels, I have come to despise cheap cars. The question is, are today’s inexpensive cars still cheap?

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV front

One of the least expensive cars currently on the market is the Nissan Versa sedan and its hatchback sibling the Versa Note. While the entry level S models still come with manual windows and door locks, they all come with power steering, power mirrors, radio, air conditioning, airbags and ABS. But the really surprising part is the list of features available on the higher trim levels: keyless entry, push button start, heated seats, steering wheel controls, and an Infiniti-like top-view parking assistant. That’s amazing!

To be fair, the model in question here is the top of line Versa Note SV with SL Tech Package. While a base Versa Note S starts at $13,990, and is available with three in-between models, this fully loaded test car has the MSRP of $18,490. The extra $4,500 buys an upgraded cloth interior and trim, power windows and door locks, 5.8” infotainment with the fancy parking assistant, Bluetooth, heated front seats, alloy wheels, and all the previously mentioned stuff . While all Versas have the same 1.6-liter 109hp engine, higher level models have Continuously Variable Transmissions while the base S has five-speed manual transmission. The S therefore takes a penalty in fuel economy: 27mpg city and 36mpg highway versus 31mpg city and 40mpg highway for the CVT cars.

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV interior details

Gone are the days when the cheapest of cheap were identified by unpainted bumper covers, door handles, or mirror housings. The two differences between all models are hub cabs covering black steel wheels versus alloy wheels and the addition of fog lights. This may be due to the fact that people don’t want to look like they are driving a stripper. Otherwise, all Versa Notes look like cute shrunken down minivans. The design is inoffensive yet not too bland, and overall it does not look like a car that was made intentionally small: see Chevy Spark.

Things are not that bad inside either, at least not in the upgraded SV test car. The manual seats are well padded, won’t make you uncomfortable on longer drives, and the fabric does not feel cheap. The headroom and legroom for all occupants is surprisingly good, but the rear bench is best for two people. Those loading toddlers into the car seats will immediately notice that all of Versa Note’s side doors open to almost ninety degrees, making getting in and out easy. Note’s biggest shortcoming is in the trunk, which is more vertical than horizontal and has two movable shelves. The rear seat folds down almost flat and is split 60:40.

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV exterior details

In casual driving the Versa Note has just enough power. Highway passing or ascending mountains will force the CVT to keep the engine at its peak operating speed at which point the car barks loudly but doesn’t quite bite.  That engine power is really one of very few things that remind the driver that this is an entry-level vehicle. It handles well given its power, tires, and torsion beam rear suspension. The ride but can be harsh on the worst of winter beaten roads but overall there is not much to complain, just as there is not much to praise.

When Nissan delivered this vehicle to me other autojournos said, off the record of course, that they felt bad for me. “It’s the worst car in the fleets,” was the general consensus. After spending a few days with this car I absolutely disagree with them. Yes, any critic could rip it apart especially since it is a good car to wobble on, but one needs to keep in mind that even when fully loaded, this is still an inexpensive car. Furthermore, it is a good inexpensive car, if such things as bad cars still exist. Where the Versa Note shines is that it is inexpensive but it does not feel cheap, which cannot always be said for all inexpensive cars.

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV rear side

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

92 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Nissan Versa Note SV Take Two...”


  • avatar

    Cheaper cars = more drivers on the road = more traffic = more wasted fuel= more pollution= more “global warming” (which I don’t believe in BTW) = more car accidents = more fatalities

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Just pay half of the poor to kill the other half. Repeat for desired result.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      I’d argue that increased traffic = lower average speeds = lower speed crashes = fewer fatalities.

      OR

      More newer cars on the road with modern safety features = less older unsafe cars = fewer fatalities.

      Science is fun when you pull facts out of your ass, isn’t it?

      Other than a small rise last year, traffic fatalities in America are on a long downward slope, even as more people take to the roads

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

    • 0 avatar
      TheyBeRollin

      You’re assuming this is lowering the barrier to entry. It isn’t. It might eventually make it more attainable, but that’s years off provided this car is very reliable and has insane depreciation.

      More population over driving age that can make it over the barrier to entry = more traffic. That’s it, nothing more. The worst thing for traffic in this country was when all the baby boomers started driving, followed by when they started having kids, followed by when those kids started driving.

      If you want to see who made traffic a mess, look in the mirror. You can also blame anyone that sells a still-moving car for under a grand. The people that buy those might be able to swing a loan payment on a stripper Versa Note, but they were already on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      Can’t forget something the president said on an African trip. Had to do with Africans need to soldier on without air conditioning due to the risk of global warming. Somehow I see this in your comment and think it does not set well coming from one who likes big trucks. In other words I couldn’t disagree more with your opinion. Hope this doesn’t help this thread dissolve into another TTAE (the truth about egos).

      Ref the article. Nice to see someone who doesn’t think it’s cool to just slam a cheap Nissan. I rented one of these about the same time I rented a corolla. Thought they both were screwed together pretty well. For what you pay, I think both are excellent cars.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I *do* like this car. My wife never test drove it because the Fit instantly mesmerized her but I will have to. A little tiny, but I don’t need much more these days.

    But:

    “The ride but can be harsh on the worst of winter beaten roads”

    Since that’s all we’ve got around here it could be damning.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      I like this car too, but I’d like it more if the Fit didn’t already exist. The Fit does everything this car does better, for about the same price.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        I expect I’ll come to the same conclusion, but not till I give the Versa a chance.

        Gotta say, the Fit is the most surprisingly excellent vehicle I ever initially scorned.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Doesn’t the Fit come with a higher available specification? Seems like the price was higher and you could maybe get leather/pleather or something.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Here are the two highest trim levels for the 2015s:

            Fit EX-L
            Adding to or replacing features on the EX

            Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Sport Mode and Paddle Shifters
            Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel and Shift Knob
            Leather-Trimmed Seats
            Heated Front Seats
            Heated, Body-Colored Power Side Mirrors including Expanded View Driver’s Mirror and Integrated Turn Indicators
            ————————————-

            Fit EX-L with Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition

            Illuminated Steering Wheel-Mounted Cruise, Audio, Phone and Navigation Controls
            7-inch Display Audio with Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ and Voice Recognition, Honda HD Digital Traffic, High-Resolution WVGA (800×480) Electrostatic Touch-Screen and Customizable Feature Settings[15]
            HD Radio™[16]
            SiriusXM® Radio[17]

            MSRP for the EX-L is 19.8K
            EX-L/Nav is 20.8K

            Naturally, we wanted the base LX. Came with dealer-installed splashguards :-)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think based on this, the Fit automatically becomes a better seller. People like high trims!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Heh.. people my wife’s and my age think today’s base *is* high trim.

            But yeah, you’re right. Just hang a while in any dearlership and listen to the chatter. It’s all about trim-candy. And it works.

            Philistines!

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        The only problem is it is very hard to get a deal on the Fit… Honda dealers usually won’t deal…… Nissan love to move metal and are easy get get the sale at just about any price…………
        But your are right the Fit is light years better than the Versa

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          My default assumption from past experience was that the dealer would be a snooty prick who wouldn’t budge on price. Have to say we were thoroughly and pleasantly surprised when we got our Fit a couple weeks ago.

          Naturally, it helped that we walked in at month’s end actually *wanting* the base model in black of a previous generation that had been sitting there for 10 months. Of course, we acted duly disappointed that the ’15s weren’t available yet :-)

    • 0 avatar
      zerofoo

      I like the fit.

      I’d love the fit with 30 more horsepower.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Back in the day I bought a couple of “stripper” new cars. I knew exactly what I was buying and why. The driver’s power window switch won’t break every six months, like on every up-level GM car I ever owned, if the windows crank. The cars were highly satisfactory and I got a decent buck when I sold them.

    The most annoying aspect of a stripper back then was the ugly black plastic dash blanks automakers installed in place of the forgone option. Cars, even so-called poverty spec models, are much better dressed today.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      It’s annoying when you buy a fully loaded Japanese car and there are still blanks – because they couldn’t be bothered to restructure the button bank cutouts for America to account for options we don’t get (power folding mirrors, in-car air ionizers, etc.)

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I don’t know about Japanese cars, but Porsche immediately came to mind for me. It must suck to spend $70,000 on a Cayman and still have blank buttons on the console reminding you how cheap you are.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        This! My car has blanks. Even if I had every option available, there would still be a couple. That’s not okay on a $50k+ car.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Have you looked at the Versa Note and Fit in person? They’re actually pretty different. The Versa Note has miles more room for people; it’s hugely noticeable in the rear seats if the driver seat is adjusted for a taller driver. At 6’3″, I can just barely drive the Fit comfortably, and the seat behind me is useless, whereas in the Versa Note there is room to spare. See also, fuel economy. (These are economy cars after all…) The Fit is awfully buzzy on the highway as well.

      Granted, the Fit is far cooler, and the flip and fold whiz-bang seats are really ingenious. And it is a far superior driver. So, very different autos in my book.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    I know it’s fun to bash cheap rides as ‘poor people cars’, but unchecked conspicuous consumption is part of the reason our economy is still in the toiley.

    For one of my kids finishing college, I’d rather buy them something new, small-ish, and with five years of warranty and roadside assistance than a six year old question mark that I may be getting called to help diagnose and fix. Dynamically this certainly isn’t the best car out there, and the inability to buy a stick in anything but the base model is a bummer, but in a pinch it will work for a 20-something just starting out in life.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I have to be honest, I am beginning to find it very tiresome how just about every auto writer anymore (and lots of commenters too) feels the need to compare the vehicle they are reviewing to stuff from 15 or more years ago.

    It does not impress me at all that a Versa Note is better equipped, more reliable, or a better value than was a ’91 Civic, an ’81 528i, or a ’33 Cadillac. If you are comparing things, then what I want to know is how the Versa Note stacks up to its competition in the year 2014.

    If “EVERYTHING IS AMAZING” these days, and the only reason I will ever see a negative review on a vehicle is because journalists need to “wobble” or have an unfair bias, then is there any good reason for auto reviews to still even exist?

    If the biggest hurdle a car needs to beat is “better than it used to be”, then we are set.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      The iPhone 6: More powerful than an IBM System/360.

    • 0 avatar
      PRNDLOL

      I understand what you’re saying about how it does seem to be a trending angle on a car review to evoke the “wayback” but I think it’s to illustrate how the base model benchmark keeps evolving into becoming quite sophisticated.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        I agree. However tiresome such references become they’re still about a revolutionary democratization within the auto industry.

        Yes, only us dribbling geezers are held rapt with comparing a 15K 2014 something with our 1960 Falcon. And maybe writers over do the angle, but it’s still pretty profound.

        It’ll take a while for it to go away.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Is this a relatively new thing, or back in 1960 were folks often comparing new car offerings to what was available in 1920?

          And, why do you think it is so prolific in automotive writing? I just about never see multi-decade comparison made with other consumer products.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I’d say it’s a new thing at this level of prevalence because formerly there wasn’t this insane proliferation of safety feature and convenience options going on since the…what?…1990s?

            I started reading car mags in the mid-60s and there just wasn’t as much to crow about for options that demarcated humble rides from those for the arriviste. Bigger size, bigger engines, auto and AC were the only significant jewels that defined luxury and near luxury until the 1980s. Maybe stereo systems in the ’70s?

            But groovy things like power options, roofs, climate control, electronics and various displays have all become commoditized, largely through Asian supply dominance, so now they can be stuffed into any old car.

            That is a new thing.

            And as far as it being so prolific in auto writing, I’d say we boomers are the most important demo for new car sales and we remember our ’60 Falcons.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I don’t know, even the basest ’60 Falcon gave 90hp (as much as an old V8 Cadillac!), exterior door handles, an electric starter, electric lights, door glass, a solid roof, 3 forward gears, brakes at all four wheels, coil spring front suspension, and wheels that weren’t off a carriage.

            I think a base ’60 Falcon would have been very impressive to a shopper in the 1920s.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            All those attributes you mention for the Falcon except maybe HP and coil spring suspension had been automotive commonplaces for 30 years by 1960.

            Compare window stickers for the most popular rides in 1984 to those in 2014.

            Why such an axe to grind?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Why such an axe to grind?”

            I sort of already explained why. I think it is bizarre to compare a vehicle of today to what existed decades ago. Especially when trying to write a “review” and not a “retrospective”.

            I don’t think impressive technological advancement over time is a new thing and I am just not as automatically amazed that the cars of today are able to offer what they offer at the price they do as others seem to be.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Okee doke.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          “It’ll take a while for it to go away.”

          Indeed. Those of us who remember, as kids, riding in cars in which the radio, heater, and turn signals were optional (or not available) are going to bedevil the whippersnappers for years to come!

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    New cars and new houses are very similar, in that spending more money doesn’t get you BETTER, it just gets you MORE, and I don’t mean quality here. And puts you in debt in the process.

    When even the lowliest of new cars has a nav system, power everything, good gas mileage and even USB ports, can they really be called “strippers?”

    If you spend more money, there’s not really anything exclusive to the higher brackets, except more power, but mostly it’s brand name stuff that differentiates the upmarket from the poverty-spec.

    You might get the super-world-renown nav system that generates the Oohs and Aahs in the BMW, but you can get A NAV SYSTEM in the Versa.

    It’s like buying a new-build house. A $1MM house isn’t really any better BUILT than a $200,000 one, it’s just larger and in a better neighborhood. But spending all that extra money doesn’t automatically get you a place that uses superior construction techniques, or better insulation, or more well-laid-out HVAC ducting.

    You might get more more expensive wood trim, or nicer floor tiles, or higher-quality appliances, but underneath, it’s just a bigger version of the same lowest-bidder framing, drywall, duct routing and electrical runs.

    If a buyer is just going by the money aspect, it makes sense to buy the cheapest new car you can find, because if there’s nothing FUNDAMENTAL to differentiate the upmarket from the poverty spec, why spend more?

    Now, if buying high-end actually DID get you BETTER rather than just MORE…

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      onealpha

      There is a unique value in the higher end cars though, just not necessarily in the dealer monroney/feature column. There is, for example, a massive difference in driving experience between a Cadillac ATS and a Cruz. No amount of feature content in the Cruz could erase that difference as it arises out of drivetrain layout and goes right to build costs and the capability to see economies of scale in the parts channel. Hence the constant criticism of Acura and Lincoln (as well as the vitriol we see thrown out against the Lexus ES’s of the world, even if eslewhere their brand does a unique chassis.)

      Same goes for houses. If you are buying a newer Mcmansion then I’d agree with you about build quality. However, in general the million dollar homes tend to cluster around the best school districts, the best restaurants and the nicest communities overall (zoning restrictions etc…) They also tend to have previous owners who better cared for their properties and swung for the more competent contractors with generally higher standards.

      I do agree however, that buying a higher trim level isn’t usually a better recipe for value than the base level vehicle. It depends largely on the vehicle trim ladder and what car the owner previously piloted though.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        tedward,

        You’re right, I was just generalizing about fundamentals.

        I agree that there’s a world of difference in the EXPERIENCE between an ATS and a Cruze, as per your example, but you can get power everything and a nav system with both cars. So, in THAT sense, there’s no fundamental difference between the two.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      I would argue about Houses. Houses built in the last 14 years are an all time high for quality.

      Compare a house built in 1974 or 1984 and one built in 2014. Same size, same neighborhood.

      The 2014 is LIGHT YEARS ahead of one of the old ones.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Well, I hope you’re right, but it’s not what I’ve seen.

        When I ran deliveries for Sherwin-Williams, I took vanloads of paint & supplies out to high-end developments all over western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. We’re talking $500,000-$1MM+ places here.

        What I saw was AC ducting in the floor instead of the ceiling where the thermodynamics would’ve made more sense, 2″ bluefoam insulation instead of 4″ or 6″, electrical cabling just randomly meandering about between joists instead of being routed & secured cleanly and geometrically and floor joists & stud walls being nailed instead of screwed together.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Gotta be a reason “McMansion” has caught on.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Two words: “Ryan Homes.” Google it.

          They’re unfortunately making a comeback in southern Ohio/northern Kentucky, after dotting northern Ohio with several subdivisions full of their crap in the early ’70s.

          Swirled ceilings, white bi-fold closet doors — and utter krap construction!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh GOD they’re everywhere. Cheap carpet and hot hallways upstairs. Crooked outdoor steps and patio, cracking foundations, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Fortunately I only have to deal with a hot upstairs and cheap carpet in my THP-built house.

            THP still builds garbage houses though. Nail pops and cracks in the plaster from the house settling all over the place, poorly hung doors that don’t close properly, very poorly supported front steps…it’s not great.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            These things I read make me even more glad I bought a house from 1938. It was built properly by some Irish or some Germans round here.

    • 0 avatar

      That is why I think the person that bought Walter Briggs’ mansion in Detroit’s Boston-Edison district got a steal at less than $400K. It’s a limestone mansion with woodwork that can’t be reproduced at anywhere near that figure today.

      http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2012/07/briggs-mansion-bought-stone-hedge-goes-for-395650.php

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        It’s a nice mansion, but 1900s water pressure and plumbing is no fun.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        yeah, but its in Detroit. Location is all. Maybe he can move the wordwork someplace else, but Detroit seems to be in a death spiral.

        Here’s what you get out here for 400K

        http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Mateo/177-N-El-Camino-Real-94401/unit-22/home/1216596

        One bedroom condo on a busy street.

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        The problem is that it’s in an area filled abandoned houses and foreclosures that are selling for $30k on a good day; there is a non-negligible probability that the value of that mansion will fall to near zero in a few years. I’d rather have a generic house in a nice suburb for my $400k.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      out here in the SF Bay Area, its the land, location and access to jobs that you are paying for when you buy a million dollar house. For a million, you can get 1960s rancher, 3bed/2bath 1400 square feet, on a 6000 square foot lot. House itself is often a POS.

      I dont see the analogy to cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        SF bay area is a special case. There’s a lot of foreign money flowing into the area, distorting the market. The Silicon Valley techies are being blamed, but there aren’t enough of them with the cash/credit to cover the outrageous asking prices (let alone the overbids) to support the volume of sales. Only an influx of desperate foreign money (Hong Kong?)can do that.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I say that the Versa Note is a more balanced and attractive exterior design than even the new Mercedes B class.
    http://parkers.bauercdn.com/Images/Cache/PageFiles/51693/0×340/mercbclass.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      It definitely is eye candy for us who love hatches. More colors available than the Fit, too. This sky blue, for instance. Honda dropped it from the Fit’s options for 2015.

  • avatar
    deanst

    As someone who has always driven compact cars, I must say that I don’t know if I’d buy another. If you can get a mid size car with some discounts for the same price as a compact with a few “options” – while also getting the same fuel economy, why would you bother? What compact car would you buy over a discounted mazda6? The Mazda will (theoretically) get the same mileage, and I assume given its lack of sales can be picked up quite cheaply. If only they still offered the 5-door version!

  • avatar
    Joss

    You can go to the drugstore and pay $25 or $250 for an electric toothbrush. Price being the only difference. What counts is you change the brush head and don’t press too firmly.

    I think Nissan needs to brighten up with more vibrant colors in & out and make all wheel discs standard across the passenger fleet.

    FIT or low end Golf would be my pref.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    What grinds my gears (no pun intended) with compact manual transmission Nissan products is that I can’t get cruise control with a stick at any price. And no, I don’t want aftermarket cruise.

    Meanwhile, I bought the most stripped 2014 Ford Focus hatchback available in the United States with a stick, which still had power windows, locks, cruise, and SYNC. The dealer basically treated me like royalty since only a weirdo like me would take that car off their hands. The only thing is that I didn’t get rear floor mats which was fixed with a trip to Walmart and $12.

    The Focus is a freaking blast to drive and feels like what would happen if BMW decided to try making FWD during the E30 era. A Momo shift knob and those dour Germanic fabrics help too.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      The Focus and Mazda 3 are the more driver oriented compacts. You should be able to get a good deal on a Focus now since they are being refreshed for next year.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Nice work scoring your Focus hatch.

      And how often do you get to use “dour” in daily conversation? I usually hear it on British TV about Scots.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        Thanks. And I assume if I lived in the UK, I would be able to get to use dour much more often.

        I got it for $18.5k with $2.5k in rebates then trade in and 1.9%. Aside from the rear-view camera, which I’m sure us Focus geeks at FocusFanatics will try finagling into our cars, the refresh doesn’t really appeal to me, I think Ford is trying to hard to make a playful car look serious.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “I think Ford is trying to hard to make a playful car look serious.”

          Well said. And I see the Fit refresh as Honda trying to make an intelligent car look aggressive.

          F-15 wing ducts under either side of both bumpers o_O

          • 0 avatar
            Eyeflyistheeye

            Thank you. The MK3 Focus has the same appeal to me as its progenitor, the Contour had to my ten-year old self, quality be damned.

            When I come to think about it, both cars just seemed to speak well to the zeitgeist of their time, in that the Contour was the missing link between the cornfed Camries and Taurii that no upwardly-mobile ’90s professional wanted to be seen in and the newly aspirational Saabs and Audis.

            On the other hand, the Focus looks like a car from the 21st century and feels like they’ve stretched the envelope with design. I mean, the 2013 Civic could have been sold as an entry-level Acura in 1998 and nobody would have batted an eye.

            As for Honda, I hate their current direction in engineering, styling and execution. The only thing that reminds me that Soichiro Honda’s spirit of restrained good taste and practical engineering still exists at that company is the current Accord.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    Just a general question, but why do a majority of people take cars from the company to review instead of going to a dealer to review them? I personally think it’d be easier to go to a dealer, ask them for the keys, and go from there rather than having to contact the company and have them bring you a car. Only time I’d understand press cars is if you’re keeping them for several days.

    • 0 avatar

      A dealer’s job is the retail the vehicle to an end user. Honestly, reviewing cars at a dealership level without prior arrangements through management of that dealer would represent a massive waste of time to the salesman who was unfortunate enough to ‘up’ you.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      While I’m not a fan of the current dealer system, wasting the time of salespeople who can be making money selling cars to people who actually want to buy them is bad, and it is extremely unethical for someone to beat up on someone else’s property when the dealer has to sell the car in question and some hard-working man or woman who needs that car to go to work or transport their kids in is going to have to buy a car that a reviewer flogged hard without even knowing it in a thorough road test.

      Any reputable auto reviewer can get a car provided by the company that is specifically provided to be reviewed and that’s the way it should be.

      For people who are starting out in the game or just want to take a test drive for a review, it’s better as Flybrian said to identify your purposes and some dealers might allow it in exchange for a shoutout on your blog or such, like “Honda Civic provided courtesy of Bob Smith at XYZ Honda”

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        I see you and Flybrian’s points, and I agree. Last year, when I filmed car videos on YouTube, I wanted to contact a dealer, and, as Brian said, tell them I was filming car tours.

        I kind of want to write car reviews on a website or something, so I was thinking about the logic and a good way to find vehicles. Thanks y’all for answering my question.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I think the Versa Note is the best value in the compact segment. I’ve still not driven the car in manual configuration, but it can’t be less enjoyable than the CVT. I like the austere interior as well, though the design cannot match the tranquility of a Subaru or Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “I like the austere interior as well”

      I keyed on that too; I like the Deco-in-plastic simplicity of the climate controls. And I need to investigate what you said about Subaru and Mazda interiors.

  • avatar
    redav

    I had a Versa as a rental once. It was cheap, in all senses of the word–absolute POS. I have a very difficult time reconciling that experience with reviews like this.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      A little specificity would help.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I had no intent to give my own review, just that my experience with a ‘cheap’ car is very different.

        It was:
        - fairly new, but the AC was already gone
        - the hatchback, but didn’t have room back there for a full-size suitcase, much less luggage for two people
        - so gutless that it couldn’t climb a hill without a running start
        - impossible to keep in the lane when the wind blew, or if a truck passed
        - like it was made out of spare parts and without a blueprint
        - uncomfortable on long drives
        - no more efficient than larger cars I rent

        It felt like a car that retailed for under $10k, but had a large margin built in at that price, yet it would never be a good deal at any price–even free. I can’t recall a single redeeming quality about it.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The Versa is yet another example of current automotive marketing where the only way to get a clutch pedal is to get the barebones model.

    If I could get an upmarket Note with a clutch pedal, I might, but the path Nissan has chosen eliminates buyers like me.

    Obviously, there aren’t enough buyers like me for Nissan to give a darn.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The purpose of the stick is to push down the base MSRP. The CVT that virtually every American buyer will choose adds another $1250 to the asking price.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        So the manufacturers are caught in a PR trap where they must maintain separate production processes for MT vehicles that they know will have to be deeply discounted to sell at all?

        They’re willing to take that loss to get lookers into the dealerships by those largely bogus MSRPs in order to give sales staff a crack at up-selling them?

        Sounds like just another advertising cost, but one that no one will shed until everyone does.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          There will be a few people who want them, including a segment who actively seeks them out. I don’t know what the take rate is for this car, but the overall average for the industry is typically about 4%.

          They don’t lose by making them available in limited quantities, there just isn’t much point in producing a lot of them.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            And I forgot that these cars are all global platforms so it’s likely the MT versions are profitable enough in countries with a higher take rate.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        In all the years I’ve been buying new vehicles, I’ve never once warmed to anything Nissan had for sale. Maybe it’s the intrinsic cheapness that, to this day, seems to permeate through just about everything they make. Or maybe it’s marketing that seems mired in the sixties, like the whole loss-leader thing of having a solitary, stripped, virtually unsaleable model simply to be able to advertise a low MSRP designed to do nothing but draw people into the showroom to try and upsell them into something else, like that $9,990 Versa from a few years back where the equipment list was pretty much just cheap seats and a steering wheel, and not much else.

        Yeah, the Nissan dealers might be more inclined to haggle, but it seems like there are still better ways to spend your small car dollar, most notably on a Fit.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m pretty sure my neighbors across the street replaced their ~10 F250 Quad Cab dually with one of these. I never see the truck any more (or hear it beeping backing up) but there’s a little black Note in the driveway accompanying their daughter’s 500.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India