Fun, Funky, Frugal and finally….Fashionable!

OK….I’ll admit it.    I’ve always had a soft spot for cars like this.   Why?    They spell freedom.   Freedom to get around…freedom from high gas prices…freedom from high insurance rates and some costly repairs….and all for as little as 15-20K.   Pretty good deal.

Not long ago, cars like this were called econo-boxes….penalty boxes…or worse.

No more.

The new for ’14 Versa Note hatchback  is the latest entry into what’s becoming a crowded field that includes Honda’s Fit, the Mazda 2, Chevy’s Sonic, Hyundai’s Accent, KIA’s Rio, Toyota’s Yaris and a few others.

And if you haven’t noticed, these are now a rather entertaining group of vehicles….highly evolved from what their ancestors were a decade or two ago.

Every one of the vehicles above is available as a 5-door hatchback….giving you 4-5 passenger room + the utility of a hatch.    Throw and go.    Makes life a lot more simple.

And back to that concept of freedom, yes…..for half to two-thirds of the price of the average new vehicle, you’ve got the freedom of a new car with a new car warranty and legitimate 30-40 mpg.    Again….pretty good deal.

Nissan makes a re-designed Versa 4-door sedan that’s been on the market for a couple of years now, but the 5-door hatch Versa Note is all new for ’14.

You get the same 109 hp 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission that you’d get in the 4-door, but you get it in a more stylish and useful 5-door hatchback body.

The price?   $2,000 more than the 4-door….and well worth it in my opinion.

The Versa Note starts at $14,780 including transportation.   That’ll get you an “S” model with a 5-speed stick.

An “S Plus” for $16,030 includes their automatic transmission and a few other odds and ends.

Spring for a top-of-the-line SV with alloys, upgraded interior, push-button start, Sirius, nav, voice-recognition, backup and all-around-view monitor, heated seats and more and you’re still out the door for around $19,500.

Mileage?   The Note is rated at 31 city / 41 highway.   We got around 37…on regular, of course.    That’s hybrid mileage at around 10K under a hybrid price.

Again…..that’s a deal.

An unexpected plus?    Not all that much road noise.….and that’s a bonus you don’t expect in a vehicle under 20K.

Nissan’s target market?    Per their TV commercials, it’s a bunch of active-lifestyle 20-somethings.   In reality, they’ll probably get a mix of 20’splus empty-nester 60’s who appreciate utility and value.

Luckily, they’ll all get a little dose of fun, flair and funk as part of the deal.



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