Sedan vs. Note vs. Sedan - Nissan Versa Forums
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-14-2017, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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Sedan vs. Note vs. Sedan

I've owned a 2013 Versa S sedan, a 2015 Versa Note SV and a 2017 Versa S sedan which I just traded the Note for. I thought I'd post my opinion of all three.

Build quality - no major quibbles with any of the Versas I've had. They don't squeak or rattle and the only warranty work that I recall is the radio in the Note going bad. It suddenly spat out my CD, lost all my presets and the clock went to 12:00. They had to ship the replacement here, but it worked okay after that. The formed carpet trim in the trunk of my first sedan slowly deformed. The driver's sun visor in the Note was beginning to sag.

Ride - The sedan rides better than the Note. The Note reacts more to road imperfections and the road noise is louder. It's also more twitchy than the sedan when it comes to wind. The sedan tracks okay, but the Note requires pretty much constant attention on the road. Engaging the cruise helped me keep my focus on keeping between the painted lines. Very fatiguing on a long trip.

Noise - Sedans are quieter. The Note was noisier because of the hatchback which lets you hear all the noise from the back.

Handling - A tossup, I wonder if the Note with the 5 speed handled better. All three are fun in the twisties. Having the stick means I can set it up for power out of a curve, which I couldn't with the CVT unless I turned off the O/D button.

Transmission - I loathed the CVT in the Note. It had no sporty feel at all. While the manual shifter in the sedan is not Volkswagen precise, it was rare for me to miss a shift. The Note was turning 2,000 rpm at 65 mph, the sedan I have now is turning 3,000 rpm. The Note will leap to 3,000 at 65 mph at the slightest provocation, tho. A hill. A bridge. A headwind. Between the behavior of the CVT and the stories I hear about failure just out of warranty, I was ready to trade at 44,000 miles and was just waiting for the discounts to kick in.

Fuel efficiency - It was the same between the 2013 and the Note. I averaged 37 lifetime mpg with both.

Top speed - 117 mph for both the 2013 and the 2015. Not bad for 109 horsepower.

Seats - The Note has better seats, with more adjustments. The seats in both sedans feel about the same.

Forward visibility is better in the sedans. The A pillar is stupid wide in the Note. So much so they put a small window in it. It's still so fat you will miss a pedestrian, bicycle or motorcycle if the angle is right. I got iin the habit of looking around it on both sides. Backward visibility is better in the Note.

Conveniences - The Note has two gloveboxes while the sedan has one. The heat and A/C work about the same. I liked the cruise in the SV, why the heck won't Nissan offer it with the stick shift? I like the upgrades that the base 2017 sedan has over the 2013. Bluetooth radio with steering wheel controls. Power mirrors on both sides. More chrome on the grille. Trunk release. Body colored mirrors. And glory hallelujah, you can now unlock the passenger door with a key. That must have cost Nissan a whopping $1.19 extra to put on the car, right?

Bang for the buck - the sedan wins hands down. You get a quieter car with a trunk to hide your valuables in for less. It'll last longer because it won't have that fragile transmission. The ride and road tracking is better. It costs less to buy. A S Plus Note is $1,350 more than a S Plus sedan. You can't get a S Note anymore.

2016 Versa Note
1.6 5 speed
Cayenne Red (NAH)

Last edited by 2013Versa; 11-14-2017 at 03:52 AM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-14-2017, 07:19 PM
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The road noise and stiff ride of your Note may have been due to the low rolling resistance tires (Bridgestone Ecopia). The Versa S and Versa Note S come with different tires than the S Plus/SV/SL (ContiProContacts, I believe). My Note has the Ecopias and it's harsh. I think the Ecopias are getting harder/firmer with time; the ride feels more harsh than when the car was brand new. The Ecopias may also explain why the Note sways more in wind than the sedan (less grip?), although that may be due to the Note being slightly taller than the sedan.

I had the CVT replaced 26 months after I bought it brand new (31,139 miles). It had started to slip after I brought the car in for a recall to update the CVT software. The new CVT has had a fluttering noise when I coast (let off the accelerator pedal) at around 5-20 MPH ever since I had it replaced; the dealer's technician claimed he could not hear the noise so they have not fixed the issue. It's definitely a letdown. I hear you on the downshifting at any incline/wind/obstacle. It drives me nuts; makes me worry that the CVT is incurring unnecessary wear and tear. Other than those 2 issues, I love the CVT. Most of the time, it keeps the engine speed low, keeping the engine quiet and, I assume, reduces engine wear and tear and saves gas. Plus, when the CVT sub-planetary gear "shifts" at ~19-25 MPH, it sounds like a spaceship.

Yes, the A-pillars are thick. I have to bend forward to see around them. That's one reason I miss my old cars. The small window in the A-pillar is worthless as it doesn't help improve forward or side visibility. Actually, all the pillars (A, B, C, D) are thick, producing blind spots particularly in the rear corners but it's better than many modern cars.

My S Plus Note does not have vertical seat adjustment like your SV did. However, it comes with adjustable front head rests (some Versa S sedans, like the 2015, did not have adjustable front head rests). I rotated the front head rests around 180 degrees so now it's flush with the seat back. Now I can sit up with my head and neck straight; previously, the head rests were tilted forward so I had to sit like a hunchback.

Shame that the Note is no longer available in the S trim level. It was nice to have the 5-speed manual option, as much as I like the CVT. I hear you on the Note's higher price over the sedan. Still, I'm happy with my Note; I like the styling of the Note better than the sedan.
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2014 Versa Note S Plus, Metallic Blue Paint
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-14-2017, 09:32 PM
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Thanks. Any idea where they find all that space in the trunk of the sedan vs the hatch back? Dont get me wrong you remove the spare tire, false floor and such you get even more room, but it seems the sedan has like twice the storage space behind the seats without blocking the rear window.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-14-2017, 09:46 PM
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Thanks. Any idea where they find all that space in the trunk of the sedan vs the hatch back? Dont get me wrong you remove the spare tire, false floor and such you get even more room, but it seems the sedan has like twice the storage space behind the seats without blocking the rear window.
The sedan is longer than the Note (something like a foot longer, I believe).
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-15-2017, 01:04 AM
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Ah.... Too bad you do not get the folding rear seats for the sedan unless you go up a few trims.

Id have to re-read the tranny options. It was my understanding the base is a manual, next is a 4 speed, then traditional cvt, then the 2 to last trim is the tiptronic cvt that uses less fluid has the planetary reduction module, etc, etc, etc. Same with the Rogue I had as a rental car. The base on up has a cvt, the top 2 trims has the better cvt where as the Nisemo(SP?) Juke has a manual or the tiptronic cvt.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-16-2017, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
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Ah.... Too bad you do not get the folding rear seats for the sedan unless you go up a few trims.

Id have to re-read the tranny options. It was my understanding the base is a manual, next is a 4 speed, then traditional cvt, then the 2 to last trim is the tiptronic cvt that uses less fluid has the planetary reduction module, etc, etc, etc. Same with the Rogue I had as a rental car. The base on up has a cvt, the top 2 trims has the better cvt where as the Nisemo(SP?) Juke has a manual or the tiptronic cvt.
Correct, the S (base) is a 5-speed manual. On the sedan, the S is available with a 4-speed conventional auto (I think it's a $1,500 option). The S Plus, SV, SR, and SL all come with the CVT that uses less fluid and has the sub-planetary gearset that combines a 2-speed conventional auto with the belt and pulleys of a CVT for a wider range of gear ratios. I think there's now a "3rd" generation CVT that has step-logic that mimics the shifts of a conventional automatic and is installed on 2015-present Versa sedans and Versa Notes.
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2014 Versa Note S Plus, Metallic Blue Paint
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-17-2017, 07:45 AM
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Got to give it to you for being a fan of the vehicle despite its problems. Ive had bad luck with new and used cars ever since I got my license. Had a used e250 van from a mechanic where I worked. I trusted him and did not bother to examine it as the price was right and I assumed Id wreck it as a new driver. It got 9 mpg and tranny slipped to the point it either sat or stalled the engine. It was an automatic, but had to shift to neutral at a stop or the engine would die. Sold it for what I paid for it. It had lots of problems, so a rebuilt tranny wouldnt of fix anything.

Got a "free" mercedes 240d from 1981. It had over 400k miles on it. Drove it for 6 months and had nothing but problems. Got to the point it wouldnt start so as I had 2 keys I just parked it idling the last 2 weeks I owned it.

Got a new scion xa 2006 after 40k miles something broke in the engine and it lost power. Dealer didnt believe me, but loss of power made it hard to drive, traded it for an 09 scion xb. The xb was nice, powerful, luck to get 27 mpg, usually averaged 19. Brake pedal went to the floor and steering felt funny. Was told that was normal. Traded after a year and 5000 miles for the new insight.

Got a 1997 supercharged tacoma used at an estate sale with 40k miles on it. Drove it 6 months, 10k miles and watched engine and tranny slowly fail. Got more in trade for the honda with it than I paid for it.

Got the honda insight, got great mpg usually averaged in the mid 60 per tank on mpg. Car started to loose power and notice burning oil smell as I approached 104 thousand miles. Top end of engine was full of oil, egr, intake, etc. Turns out they had oil consumption issues due to ring issues. Sold it for 3500 to a guy with one with more problems than mines. Turned out when I listed it on auto trader I met a lot of people who had nothing but problems where mines was trouble free except for some funny cvt behavior.

Maybe the V will be my first car Ill actually get to drive to 200 thousand miles with little to no major problems? Maybe I should just sell it once the odo clicks over to 10o thousand? Next cars will be either a corolla, camry, accord, etc.
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-18-2017, 05:49 AM
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Haha thanks Cobb. Yes, this car has its share of problems for sure. The early CVT and rear shock replacement, the replacement CVT fluttering, the overly-sensitive throttle/gas pedal, hard-to-reach brake fluid reservoir (I've spilled brake fluid every time I've changed the brake fluid), rock-hard tires. Those are just the things that have gone wrong.

Another thing is that the trim levels have such a large gap in terms of features; it was really frustrating having to choose either all or nothing. At least for the 2014 Note, the S Plus (and S) did not include power windows/locks, front seat map light, or variable intermittent front windshield wipers among other things I wanted. The next trim level up, the SV, includes those features but also includes stuff I didn't want or need like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, bluetooth, "upgraded" seat fabric (I actually like the S Plus seat fabric better. It's softer, like velvet), and some other crap that I didn't want. Even though the SV sticker price was only $700 more (one dealer offered to sell a SV for only $200 more than the best offer I got for the S Plus), I got the S Plus.

Funny, I also chose the S Plus over the 2013 Honda Accord sedan, which was the first model year of that new design/generation. I really liked that generation; that's what my mom's 2008 Accord should have been like. Plus, I was high on Accords because I loved my dad's 2003 Accord. I felt the 13 Accord had touched upon what I loved about the 03 Accord; power, fuel economy, luxury-car interior for a non-luxury price. As much as I liked the '13 Accord, I passed on it at literally the last minute because the base trim level, the LX, included crap I didn't want or need, like a backup camera, bluetooth, and some other stuff I can't remember. If the DX was still available, it would've probably lacked these features and maybe I would've been interested. I chose the Versa Note, bought it brand new 4 years ago, and despite the problems, still love it and don't regret it (yet) over the Accord.

I hope you have better luck with your Versa. I'm also hoping to keep mine for a long time, like 20 years. I want to pass it down to my baby boy when he's old enough to drive.

2014 Versa Note S Plus, Metallic Blue Paint
Built in July 2013. Bought on September 28, 2013.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-18-2017, 12:44 PM
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Me too. I didnt want to buy another new car, but trying to buy used failed after 5 different units from people I either knew, worked with, friends of friends. I had no idea a new car was that cheap now days either.

Me, I was shocked how much more the next car up was the sentra. Those were like 19 grand for a base model at the dealer I went to. A Camry was the same price at the toyota dealer next door as well as the corolla. Thats the same price as a base civic and only a grand more than a base Fit. I know Ford had a cheaper car, but Im not a ford fan.

Next time, Im test driving the car with all electrical accessories on and ac on full blast. Im also test driving it during 4-5 pm in stop n go traffic. Im also googling a super or turbo charger kit for said car as well.

At least I see a lot of these cars on the road. When I owned the honda insight I saw more first gen owners than second and scions were few and far between.
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