Roadtripping Around San Diego in @NissanUSA #2014VersaNote

Sponsored: I was invited on a press trip by Nissan. My flight, hotel, and ground transportation were paid for by Nissan. I was not compensated to write this post.

2014 Nissan Versa Note

Source: Nissan Image Library

Several weeks ago I was asked by 5 Minutes for Mom to attend a press trip in San Diego. After checking my calendar and finding coverage for my kids, I was excited to go to California partly to see San Diego again, but mostly to check out a new car from Nissan.

The VersaNote is a new addition to the Nissan fleet. The Nissan VersaNote is a fuel efficient, small SUV with a clean and aerodynamic shape. I was impressed with the 31 city and 40 highway mileage. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Back to my trip…

Upon arrival at San Diego airport, I was met by a rep from Nissan. Is there anything more fun than seeing your name on someone’s clipboard in an airport arrivals area? I think not.

I was driven to my hotel in the other Nissan vehicle showcased on the press trip: the NV 200 Compact Cargo Van. The NV 200 handled airport access roads, the highway, and city driving with ease. The NV 200 handled more like a minivan than a cargo van. A safe, bump free ride.

Once at the hotel, I was greeted by an enormous projected Nissan logo behind the front desk. All the bloggers and press people on the trip were staying at the Andaz Hotel — a hop, skip, and a jump from Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres baseball. From check in, I was ushered to a room that was part car show booth and part hospitality suite. As I sampled refreshments, I read about the acceleration systems, the Backup Parking Camera, and the development of the distinctive aerodynamic shape.

A Little About the VersaNote

The Nissan VersaNote was first sold in 2007 and was the number 1 sales leader in the entry vehicle segment of the market from 2008 onwards. This stylish, roomy hatchback is also fuel efficient. A perfect ride for a day at the beach, a hike in the mountains, or a run to the store. I liked the clean, aerodynamic shape. The colors were sparkly and unique, too.

At the welcome dinner and at breakfast the next day, Nissan Design and Marketing people explained the finer points of the Nissan VersaNote to us. Here’s what the Nissan people told me about the VersaNote:

  • The VersaNote has increased windshield rake. Visibility on my extended test drive through San Diego County was excellent.
  • There is a six-inch shorter overhang than the previous VersaNote.
  • A V-groove roof completes the fluid silhouette leading to superior aerodynamics.
  • Slits on the rear tail lights allow for a optimized, smooth air flow.
  • The VersaNote has one of the only active front grill shutter applications.
  • 38.3″ of leg room in the backseat. I’ll admit I was skeptical until a well over 6 feet tall Nissan vice president sat very comfortably in the back seat.
  • Other new features on this rendition of the VersaNote…rear view monitor, new fabric choices, upper glove box, and more.
  • The Divide-n-Hide Adjustable Floor of the hatchback allows for stowage of different size loads…groceries one day, tents and sleeping bags the next.
  • Display audio is included at no extra cost with Nissan Connect Navigation. Also, bluetooth streaming audio for iPad and phones. Satellite radio is also

But, how does the VersaNote compare to other vehicles in the entry level segment? The VersaNote’s 35 mpg compares favorably to 33 mpg that the Ford Fiesta gets. Other competitors in the entry vehicle segment, include: Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic, Toyota Yaris, and the Ford Fiesta.

Posing with Rachel Ferrucci before our test drivePosing with Rachel Ferrucci before our test drive

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a car expert. I want a car that is roomy, comfy, and rides well. The Nissan VersaNote hit the money for me. And speaking of money, I wanted to know how this car stacked up as my other key criterion for cars is price. The VersaNote’s base price of $13,990 is very competitive to other cars in the entry vehicle segment. The Nissan VersaNote is available in three models:

  • VersaNote S — 109 hp, 27/36 mpg city/highway, 1.6 liter, 4-cylinder engine — $13,990
  • VersaNote SPLUS –same as S but with DOHC 4-cylinder engine, 31/40 mpg city/highway, cruise control, Xtronic CVT — $15,240
  • VersaNote SV –same as S and SPLUS with Bluetooth hands free phone system, remote keyless entry, and more — $15,990

The part of the press trip that I found most fascinating. . .after the test driving of course, was the discussion of who the target audience would be. Nissan executives described the customer as couples without children (although a car seat would fit in the backseat), a person who is expressive in their actions, a leader not a follower, and someone who is pursuing a passion. The VersaNote’s hatchback allows a driver to do what they love, plus carry what they need to pursue their passion.

I really enjoyed my time on this press trip and found all the information to be very informative.

Your Turn

Have you seen any information about the 2014 VersaNote? What do you think about this car?


  1. says

    I haven’t really seen any info about it but it looks nice. I would totally drive it. We spent the 4th of July in San Diego and I wish we could have driven that car instead of ours :)

  2. says

    I haven’t heard much about it, but I’ll definitely be looking into it now! I really like the Versa, but also want an SUV, so this seems right up my alley! Not sure how I missed it before. Thanks for the review!

  3. says

    Cool trip! I’m not really familiar with this car but it sounds great. We may soon be looking into buying a car for our two teen drivers – this might be something to check out.

  4. says

    Great post on Nissan cars. I really like the trip through your blog, but I like the Skoda brand so much for its great, finishing with luxury touch inside the car with great mileage also. But younger brother having Nissan car and he loves his car too much………………………

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