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2014 nissan versa note vs 2014 ford fiesta
It’s no secret that we’re not fans of Nissan’s latest Versa sedan, which was redesigned for 2012. It finished a distant sixth out of six in its only comparison-test appearance, and to quote from our stand-alone test of the SL model. “Rarely have we wanted out of a car so badly before we even made it out of our office parking lot.” Subtle, eh? We’ve now driven its hatchback stablemate, the Versa Note, and the phrase that pops to mind is, “The same only different.”
How are the two Versas the same? Well, both are built on Nissan’s V platform and offer the same drivetrains. How are they different? The styling of the sedan is best described as dowdy, but the Note’s isn’t. We wouldn’t call it striking, but like that of Honda’s Fit, Ford’s Fiesta, or the five-door versions of the Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic, the Note’s exterior design has character. It also features aerodynamic tweaking, including active grille shutters, spoilers and air deflectors, a reasonably flush floor, and sculpted taillights that cut drag. It’s worth pointing out that the Note isn’t really the hatchback version of the second-generation Versa sedan, which is sold elsewhere in the world as the Sunny (both previous Versas were sold globally wearing Tiida badges). Outside the U.S. the Note is a stand-alone model and only adds the Versa badging here, which further explains the visual differences.
Although the two Versas run on the same wheelbase, the overall length of the Note is 163.0 inches against the sedan’s 176.0, thanks to clipped overhangs front and rear. Nissan has hollowed out the Note’s interior to provide surprising space. Various Nissan charts show the Note as being best in class in a number of interior measurements, but the one that impresses most is rear-seat space. (This is also the most impressive thing about the sedan, and one of its most important selling points.) A six-footer can adjust the driver’s seat to a comfortable position, get in the rear seat behind, and have plenty of legroom. We’re not talking limo space, but it is quite usable for a car in this segment. Behind the Note’s 60/40-split folding second row, you’ll find 21.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
The hatchback does inherit the sedan’s dashboard. This isn’t a problem in terms of basic design and layout, with highly legible gauges straight ahead, three large and easy-to-reach dials for HVAC control, and an optional navigation screen that’s sufficient for this class. But you’ll rap your knuckles black and blue in the hunt for any soft-touch surfaces beyond the one under your butt. The materials aren’t any better under visual inspection, either; they look hard, entry level, and cheap. Seat comfort deserves neither plaudits nor pans, being merely okay.