DETROIT – Kicking off the second day of the North American International Auto Show here,takes the wraps off its next-generation Versa hatchback that is renamed the Versa Note and going on sale in the U.S. in June.
Note is the name of a B-segment modelsells in markets outside the U.S. The two cars ride on the same “V” platform.
The Versa has been the No.1-selling subcompact in the U.S. for three years, according to WardsAuto data. Last year, it retained the title with 113,327 units, up 13.6%.
One of the biggest changes for the new Versa 5-door is the addition of Nissan’s Around View Monitor system that projects a simulated overhead view of the car onto an interior screen to make parking easier.
The Around View system, dubbed first-in-class by Nissan, will be available in the SL technology package that also includes a 5.8-in. (14.7-cm) touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth, Pandora and Google-powered point-of-interest search.
The ’14 Versa Note has three grades – S, S Plus and SV. The current Versa 5-door’s SL grade is being dropped, but its name lives on in equipment packages.
All Versa Notes come equipped with Nissan’s 109-hp 1.6L DOHC 4-cyl. engine with dual fuel injection, which debuted two years ago in the Versa sedan. The spray pattern of the 2-injectors-per-cylinder system is 57% finer than produced by a single injector design on the outgoing generation Versa 5-door, Nissan says.
Versa Note S trim has a 5-speed manual transmission, while the S Plus and higher grades receive Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission, which the auto maker says has a 7-speed, automatic-like 7.3:1 broad ratio.
Nissan is projecting best-in-class fuel economy of 31/40/35 mpg (7.6/5.9/6.7 L/100 km) city/highway/combined for the CVT Versa Note.
The new Versa wears a modern, “sculpted” look that also improves aerodynamics, Nissan says. CVT models have a 0.298 drag coefficient, down from 0.31 in the ’13 model. One-piece wiper blades and Nissan’s first Active Grille Shutter also reduce drag by controlling the amount of air that enters the engine bay.
Key design features of the ’14 Versa Note include a steeply sloped front windshield and “dramatic” character lines, Nissan says.
The Versa Note retains the outgoing Versa hatchback’s 102.4-in. (260-cm) wheelbase. Height and width basically are unchanged, but length is reduced more than 6 ins. (15.2 cm). The car has short front and rear overhangs to boost interior space, including cargo volume, which Nissan pegs at a best-in-class 21.4 cu.-ft. (606 L).
A new Divide-N-Hide adjustable floor allows for a hidden area to conceal valuables and, by lowering the floor board, a deeper space is created for larger items.
Cloth seats are standard in the Versa Note, as are 4-way adjustable front bucket seats, a 4-speaker audio system and front-door pockets with bottle holders. Available are heated front seats with a better cloth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and chrome and silver interior trim accents.
The ’14 Versa Note will start at $13,990, less than the $14,670 ’13 Versa S is powered by a 122-hp 1.8L 4-cyl.
All Versa Notes sold in the U.S. will be built at Nissan’s Mexico plants in Aguascalientes and Cuernavaca.
Nissan continues to sell the Versa sedan in the U.S., which was last redesigned in summer 2011. The current-generation Versa hatchback has been on sale since 2006.