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Sneak peek at the 2014 Nissan Versa hatchback

Consumer Reports News: July 17, 2012 03:38 PM

Nissan has unveiled the redesigned Note hatchback in Japan. It's a world car that will replace the Versa hatchback in the U.S. market for the 2014 model year. As such, it differs significantly from the Versa sedan.

The entry-level Versa sedan was redesigned last year, with better fuel economy but chintzy interior, more noise and worse ride than the previous version. The Versa hatchback will compete with the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta hatch, and Toyota Yaris.

The company revealed precious few details about the new Versa hatchback this week. Nissan didn't announce engines for the States, but in other markets, the Note will be powered by a supercharged 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder engine with direct injection and a high 13:1 compression ratio, good for between 90 and 100 hp. Nissan claims fuel economy overseas of 59 mpg, but standards for measuring it vary widely.

At the same time, Nissan announced changes to the 2013 Versa sedan that will give it an EPA rating of 40 mpg on the highway—up from 38. The main change is the addition of a rear trunk spoiler. We got 40 mpg on the highway and 32 overall in our tests. That magical 40 mpg EPA highway rating will bring the Versa sedan up to par with the EPA ratings for several larger sedans, including the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Ford Focus SFE, and Mazda3 Skyactive. When we tested the claims of those three models, we found they met the 40 mpg claim. The Honda Civic HF returned 49 mpg on the highway.

Eric Evarts

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