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Nissan shrinks Versa hatchback

By Frederick Olson, Automotive Contributor
Published On: Jan 15 2013 10:00:04 AM MST
Updated On: Jan 16 2013 08:23:45 AM MST

Image: Nissan

DETROIT -

While most car redesigns adopt the philosophy of “bigger is better,” Nissan is actually making its new Versa hatchback a little smaller and less expensive.

Dubbed the Versa Note, the new hatchback still has five doors and seats five and was introduced Tuesday at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Most dimensions are about the same as the out-going 2012 hatchback, but it’s a little shorter and it will share the 109-horsepower engine of the Versa Sedan, which is down from the 122-horsepower engine in the previous hatchback.

The price is also reduced by about $700.  Starting price for the Versa Note will come in at $13,990 when it goes on sale this summer.

At that price, you still get the practicality of a hatchback, a standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, and an extra hidden cubbyhole under the rear cargo area.

"Along with exceptional spaciousness, Versa Note offers the ingenuity to address the needs of owners who need one vehicle to perform the tasks of many – people hauler, cargo hauler, commuter transportation and weekend playmate,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager of the Nissan Division.

Three trim levels of the Versa Note will be offered: S, S Plus and SV.  At the higher grades, options like steering wheel-mounted audio controls and 360-degree camera monitoring system become available.

"No matter what the vehicle size, people hate parking – whether parallel parking in a tight space or pulling in or out of a space with large vehicles on either side. We're making technology such as the Around View Monitor … affordable because innovation and piece-of-mind should not be the exclusive territory of higher priced vehicles," Castignetti said.