NAIAS 2013 Preview: 2014 Nissan Versa Hatchback

During the week leading up to the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, The Driving Life will focus on the big news to expect from automakers, including vehicle launches and model updates.

In keeping with the sporty trend set to dominate showrooms at the upcoming auto show in Detroit, Nissan is preparing to debut a new sporty hatchback in a few short days. The hatchback styling will differentiate itself from the recently redesigned sedan model with a more compact, upscale look.

The new hatchback, dubbed the Note, was initially introduced in the Invitation Concept at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2011 and has since launched in Japan. Despite talk of the updated styling and a new, sportier character to fit the dominating sporty trend, speculation has focused on what can’t be seen from the outside. The North American Note has spectators musing what Nissan will offer underneath the hood.

While the Japanese market has enjoyed the option of a 1.2-liter supercharged 3-cylinder engine (in addition to the same 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine initially offered), rumors have given rise to the possibility of an efficient, 3-cylinder engine available in the North American Note. Nissan hasn’t commented on the engine availability for the North American model.

The increasing number of 3-cylinder engines seen in North American showrooms lends support to this theory. With a sluggish worldwide economy and rising fuel costs, a return of the more efficient 3-cylinder engine points to a potential shift away from the 4-cylinder engine.

Expect the Nissan Versa to see competition from the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta hatch, Toyota Yaris, and the Honda CUV concept, of which details remain scarce.

Follow The Driving Life for exclusive, live coverage of NAIAS 2013 beginning Monday, Jan. 14.

[Sources: ConsumerReports, AutoGuide, Autoweek]