Nissan Highlights from the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

Nissan Highlights at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show has just come to a close, and it was a great showing for the Nissan brand. According to Fred Diaz, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Parts and Service, USA Nissan North America Inc., “The Chicago Auto Show is America’s oldest and largest show and Nissan always likes to bring something new and exciting.” And they did!  Read on:

Nissan unveiled a brand new model for the Versa Note lineup—the 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR. (Additionally, an SL trim will be added to the 2015 Versa Note lineup, rounding out the total trim offerings to five.) Also unveiled was the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins—Nissan calls it a “technical study” truck. This unveiling will help Nissan gauge how the market will react to the option of a mid-size diesel-powered truck.

A Chicago-style custom-designed Nissan NV200 taxi was also on display. This particular taxi is not new for Nissan. In fact, this taxi model is being put to good use right now in New York City by modern taxi drivers. Perhaps Chicago will be the next metropolitan area to adopt this taxi technology? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the details of these new models and what makes them classic examples of Nissan’s mission—“Innovation that excites.”

Nissan Versa Note SR2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

Not too long ago, we wrote an overview about the 2014 Nissan Versa Note. The 2015 Versa Note SR will debut in the spring and will be built upon the successful model of the 2014 Versa Note, but with a few exclusive sporty enhancements on both the outside and inside of the car.

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR exterior features include:

  • Sporty, aerodynamic styling
  • Unique fascia and grille
  • Dark headlight treatments
  • Black- and chrome-accented fog lights
  • Body-color side spoilers
  • Redesigned side mirrors with integrated turn signals
  • Nissan Versa Note SRRear spoiler
  • SR badging
  • High-contrast machine-finished 16-inch sport aluminum-alloy wheels with dark paint, mounted with 195/55R16 all-season tires

Versa Note SR interior features include:

  • 370Z-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Suede-like fabric seats with orange accents and double-stitching
  • Redesigned piano-black center instrument panel with silver accents and chrome knobs
  • Euro-inspired Fine Vision triple-dial gauge cluster with floating trip computer


Nissan Versa Note SR interiorAlso for the 2015 model year, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System with steering wheel-mounted controls becomes standard across all trims of Versa Note. One new option package is also being introduced for 2015, the SR Convenience Package, and new content is added to the SV Convenience Package and SL Tech Package. Pierre Loing, Vice President, Production and Planning, Nissan North America Inc. summed it up best at the Chicago Auto Show: “With a broader lineup for 2015 – and the standout style of the sporty new SR grade – we expect Versa Note to garner more attention and greater sales in the competitive entry-level hatchback segment. When we launched Versa Note last year we called it ‘Your Door to More.’  Now there are ‘More’ choices to enjoy.”

Frontier Diesel Runner Powered By Cummins

The big news in the truck segment was the Frontier Diesel Runner, which is based on the Frontier Desert Runner 4×2. The new Frontier Diesel Runner runs on a compact but strong 2.8 liter Cummins turbo diesel with nearly 200 horsepower and more than 350lb-ft or torque. This new engine is projected to increase fuel efficiency by as much as 35% compared to the current Frontier V6 4×2 model.

Will this particular truck go into mass production for the public? As we mentioned, Nissan is using the Frontier Diesel Runner to test how modern truck drivers feel about a mid-size diesel-powered truck, and also to plot a potential future direction for the Frontier. “Frontier continues to be a huge success story for us, with more than 60,000 units sold in 2013,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing, Parts & Service, U.S.A, Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA). “Nissan has always valued the mid-size pickup segment, and with this technical study project, we are looking to explore what is possible for the next-generation Frontier. We are always looking for ways to engage our customers, innovate and take the segment in an evolutionary direction.”

Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner hood windowAside from the new Cummins engine, there are many new exterior and interior modifications to this particular Frontier model.

Exterior features include:

  • Custom “Arrest Me Red” and Matte Silver paint treatment
  • Aerodynamic full-bed tonneau cover
  • Tailgate spoiler
  • Transparent acrylic hood insert that provides as a window to the engine bay
  • Powertrain-related elements accented with the exclusive red theme
  • Two-tone paint-treated wheels
  • Custom-painted brake calipers

Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner interiorInterior features include:

  • Continuation of the exterior color palette with red accents throughout the cabin
  • Carbon-trimmed seats and panels
  • Carbon-print leather appointments with grey accent stitching and black-on-black “Tracks” embroidery
  • Carbon film-wrapped instrument panel highlighted by red-tined gauges
  • Special black-faced diesel-specific three-gauge pod on top of the C-cluster


Customized Chicago NV200 Taxi

Why have an NV200 on display at the Chicago Auto Show? “With great feedback from drivers, riders and media in New York, we’ve had a number of dealers across the country raise their hands to get a supply of NV200 taxis for cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and across Texas. We think Chicago is a natural fit for the premium taxi experience NV200 delivers at a competitive price,” said Fred Diaz.

What makes the NV200 a “premium taxi experience?” Perhaps it’s the list of quality and convenient features such as:

  • Ample room for four passengers and their luggage, offering substantial improvements over current and recently unveiled taxi models
  • Sliding doors with entry step and grab handles, providing easy entry and exit
  • Opening side windows
  • Independently-controlled, rear air conditioning
  • Active carbon-lined headliner to help neutralize interior odors
  • Overhead reading lights for passengers and floor lighting to help locate belongings
  • Mobile charging ports for passengers, including a 12-volt electrical outlet and two USB ports
  • Breathable, germ-fighting, durable and easy-to-clean seat fabric, simulating the look and feel of leather
  • Flat “no hump” passenger floor area for more comfortable ride
  • Roof-mounted curtain supplemental air bags for side-impact and rollover protection for all outboard occupants – the NV200 taxi is the first taxi to be crash-tested with taxi equipment installed, including the partition

Other notable NV200 taxi features focus on driver comfort, customer satisfaction and the environment:

  • A low-annoyance horn with exterior lights that indicate when the vehicle is honking, so the horn is used less frequently
  • Hearing Loop System for the hearing impaired
  • Driver and passenger intercom system
  • Proven 2.0L 4-cylinder powertrain, engineered to enhance the emission performance and fuel efficiency of the taxi fleet
  • 150,000-mile powertrain limited warranty
  • A 6-way adjustable driver’s seat featuring both recline and lumbar adjustments, even with a partition installed
  • Unique driver’s seat material and stitching to promote improved airflow
  • USB auxiliary audio input and charge port for driver
  • Standard navigation system with integrated “RearView Monitor”
  • Taxi wiring and installation provisions


We doubt we’ll see any of these taxis in Laurel. However, we are conveniently located near both the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas, so maybe we’ll see NV200 taxis transporting drivers in our area on the not too distant future after all…

What do you think of the new models and innovations they represent? Please share your thoughts with us below or come chat with us on Facebook.

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note – Great Value, Best-in Class Features, and Beyond Your Expectations

2014 Nissan Versa Note

If you were standing in the middle of a car lot full of cars all from within a similar segment or class, one car that would stand out would be the 2014 Nissan Versa Note. It is completely different from any other model in the long line of Nissan Versas. Completely, redesigned for the 2014 model year—yes, the Note would warrant a second glance.


Nissan repeatedly refers to the design and styling of the new 2014 Nissan Versa Note as “energetic”, which is an appropriate design aesthetic for a compact car. It’s not enough to just simply say this is a compact, 5-door hatchback with front wheel drive. No—that doesn’t amply describe the Note. Nissan explains, “While sharing its advanced platform and drivetrain with the Versa sedan, Versa Note has its own distinctive look and feel inside and out.”

Looking at the Note, you would notice the sweeping arc and body lines of the car. This is completely intentional. Not only is the body of the Note intentionally aerodynamic, but this unique frame makes the Note stand out in a sea of competitors. Also, the lines of the Note are what Nissan calls the “squash line”. Nissan points out,

 “Along with its steeply sloped front windshield and deeply sculpted doors, Versa Note features a dramatic character line called the ‘squash line.’ Inspired by the international sport of squash, the line follows the trajectory of a squash ball hitting a wall, bouncing on the court floor and returning to the player. This ‘rebound path’ projects the dynamic energy of Versa Note in both look and driving feel.”

Never before has such an allusion been crafted into the design of a Versa. And that’s the just beginning of what makes the Versa Note so extraordinary.

The Important Numbers—Efficiency and Price

Not only is the Nissan Versa Note aerodynamically-designed, but it literally is a more efficient car. Built on the global Nissan V platform, the Versa Note boasts an estimated 300-lb reduction for the 2014 model year! Also, some of the trim levels of the Nissan Versa Note are equipped with a next-generation Nissan Xtronic CVT® transmission. This means that the models equipped with this transmission achieve a coefficient drag that is down 9% from the 2012 Versa hatchback. And… CVT® equipped models include the first-ever Nissan Active Grill Shutter. This little piece of technology limits the amount of air entering the engine compartment, which reduces drag also.

More aerodynamics and less drag both attribute to better fuel economy. Perhaps that’s why the Nissan Versa Note offers some of the best fuel economy. With a class-leading 40 mpg highway (31 mpg city/35 mpg combined), modern drivers can appreciate being able to go farther on the road with less of a hit to their wallet.

Every Versa Note also carries the PUREDRIVE™ badge, which means that the Versa Note meets or exceeds the industry-average US Federal CAFE standards for model year 2016.

Today’s drivers are not only concerned about gas prices, but also car prices. Again, with the Nissan Versa Note, drivers will be super surprised to learn just how great the price point is for such a car. As Nissan tells it, “Following the high-value Versa sedan, the new Versa Note also offers more value on all grades than the previous Versa hatchback (model year 2012), beginning with its starting MSRP of $13,990 USD.” That’s a pretty amazing deal for a new, modern car! Of course, there’s some variation to that number depending on how you build your Note—which trim you choose and any packages you decide to include.

Nissan Versa Note Versatility—Trims, Packages, and Technology

Nissan Versa Note Divide-n-HideInside the Nissan Versa Note, drivers won’t be disappointed. There are several features that give the Note an edge over the competition. For example, despite the fact this is a compact hatchback vehicle, the Note offers best-in-class interior volume. Compared to the competition, there’s more headroom and legroom. Nissan adds, “Common industry practice is to compromise either passenger room or cargo space, trading one for the other. Note’s advanced design gives you both, enabling owners to take their passions – and friends and family – anywhere.” Additionally, Nissan points out that with the Divide-N-Hide® Adjustable Floor (adjustable rear load floor), “Lifting up the cargo floor board reveals a hidden area underneath to keep valuables out of sight. When more space is needed for carrying taller or bulkier items, lowering the floor board creates a deeper cargo well. The floor board is designed to stay in the vehicle yet is easily removed if desired. It’s a simple solution to balance the need for a flat load floor or maximum cargo capacity or security.” Ingenious!

The Note offers a piece of technology that is a class-exclusive. Called “Around View® Monitor”, this innovative feature utilizes 4 small superwide-angle cameras mounted on the front, side, and rear areas of the vehicle to give drives a virtual 360-degree view of objects around the car. Also, there are selectable split-screen close-ups of the various views drivers can hone in on for extra sightline help—very cool, right?!

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is available in a few grade levels—S (manual transmission) , S Plus, and SV (Nissan Xtronic CVT® transmission). What’s the difference you may ask? We’ll give you an at-a-glance breakdown of some of the features of the various Note options.

Nissan Versa Note InteriorVersa Note S features include:


  • 15″ x 5.5″ steel wheels with wheel covers
  • P185/65HR15 All-season low rolling resistance tires
  • Vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • 109-hp 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine
  • Dual power outside mirrors
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlights
  • Aerodynamic taillights
  • Cloth seating
  • Air Conditioning
  • Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges
  • AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary audio input and four speakers
  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seats

Nissan Versa Note seatingVersa Note S Plus features include:


  • Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission)
  • 109-hp 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine
  • Vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • Active grille shutter
  • P185/65HR15 All-season low rolling resistance tires
  • Dual power outside mirrors
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlights
  • Aerodynamic taillights
  • Cruise control
  • Air Conditioning
  • Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges
  • AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary audio input and four speakers
  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seats

Versa Note SV features include:

Nissan Versa Note cabin[source]

  • Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission)
  • 109-hp 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine
  • Vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • Active grille shutter
  • P185/65HR15 All-season low rolling resistance tires
  • Dual power outside mirrors
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlights
  • Aerodynamic taillights
  • Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System
  • Integrated Key with Remote Keyless Entry
  • Power windows and door locks
  • 6-way manual driver’s seat with armrest
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Chrome interior trim accents

Four equipment optional packages are offered: SV Convenience Package, SL Package, SL Tech Package and Sport Value Package. The SV Convenience Package includes wide 2-DIN Display Audio with AM/FM/CD/iPod®/Aux 4.3-inch display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), USB input w/iPod® control, RearView Monitor, rear seat armrest with cupholders and Divide-N-Hide® Adjustable Floor. The SL Package includes the SV Convenience Package equipment, plus 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, 195/55R16 tires, front fog lights, variable intermittent front wipers, heated front seats, Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, Easy Fill Tire Alert and SL badge (replaces SV badge).

The SL Tech Package includes NissanConnectSM with Navigation with 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition for audio and navigation, NavTraffic and NavWeather, POIs powered by Google®, Google® Send-to-Car, Streaming audio via Bluetooth®, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant, Around View® Monitor and heated sideview mirrors. The Sport Value Package includes 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. [source]


As you can tell, the new Note is well-equipped when it comes to comfort and technology options. But safety is in the forefront of Nissan’s concerns as well. That’s why Nissan has been sure to include, standard safety and security systems such as “the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags), front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS) and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with available Easy-Fill Tire Alert.”

Who Should Drive the Nissan Versa Note?

Nissan Versa Note easy parkingMany of our customers hail from the Washington D.C. metro area. Let’s face it—city life ain’t cheap. Thankfully, the Versa Note is not offers an amazing price for a brand new car, but it’s compactness, along with the available Around View® Monitor, make city parking or worse, parallel parking, a more manageable part of city life. And don’t forget, it also boasts 31mpg city. Usually, city driving can take a terrible toll on one’s gas mileage. But the Nissan Versa Note is meant to handle it!

Also, the 2014 Nissan Versa Note is ideal for first-time car buyers. It offers a wealth of amenities that provide convenience and versatility for the many stages of life, so this is a car you won’t be sorry to have around for a while. It’s compact nature isn’t too daunting a some SUVs, either.

The Note is certainly targeted towards those drivers with active lifestyle, which makes it great for young drivers as well. We’ve already pointed out the safety features included with the Note. And of course, taking on an extra car payment by purchasing a Note won’t exactly break the bank. Kelley Blue Book, one of the leading voices in the automotive industry, even included the 2014 Nissan Versa Note in the #1 spot in their list of 10 Best Back-to-School Cars 2013.

Yes, we think there’s a lot of admire in this all-new and groundbreaking Nissan Versa Note. If you think you’d like to come down and check it out for yourself, why not schedule a test drive? We’d love to help you find the car that’s right for you!

Schedule Your Test-drive Today!

*images courtesy of Nissan