BLENDING the cheeky styling of a supermini with the practicality of a compact MPV ought to be a winning formula and so it proves in the pert shape of Nissan’s Note.
The latest round of revisions have added extra equipment to the mainstream variants, plus a new luxury version. What was already a solid package just got even more compelling.
I’d love to tell you how the Note’s engines have been completely revised and that it now handles like a sports coupe but, truth be told, Nissan merely handed the engineering department a request that the petrol engines in the Note be Euro V emissions compliant.
The driving experience is all but indistinguishable from the previous car’s, though if you overcook it on a wet road, you’ll be glad that ESP stability control is now standard on Acenta, Tekna and n-tec models.
If you bought a Visia, it might be wise to curb your enthusiasm as it doesn’t come with the ESP safety net.
Otherwise it’s as you were. The Note always feels enjoyably nimble on the road with suspension firm enough to resist roll and steering that’s light but accurate.
It’s perfect for nipping through the city streets and it inspires confidence thanks to good all-round visibility and a tight turning circle.
Three main engine choices are offered. Low mileage buyers will choose between a 87bhp 1.4-litre and 108bhp 1.6-litre powerplants, but those who might want to take their Notes further afield may want to consider the improved diesel engine, a 1.5-litre dCi common rail unit borrowed from the Micra range with 85bhp on tap.
One interesting but useless nugget of information is that this car was designed by Toyota – Taiji Toyota that is – one of Nissan’s most talented stylists. He’s done a good job too, managing to avoid the formulaic box-on-wheels shape that afflicts some of the Nissan NOTE’s contemporaries.
On paper, this car is roughly equivalent in size to its immediate rivals at just under four metres long, 1.53m high and 1.69m wide.
In the metal however, it appears lower and longer with minimal rear overhang and quite a pronounced nose protruding at the front.
On this resides a slatted grille similar to that first seen on Nissan’s Murano 4x4 as well as a pair of bulbous headlamps. The Note is squared-off at the rear with the natural roofline taking an unusual last-minute jerk upwards to maximise cargo capacity in the back.
When they tested Nissan’s Note, ‘Which?’ magazine decided that ‘a well equipped Nissan Note is all the car you’ll ever need’. If you’re looking for a compact family car, that’s as good a recommendation to start with as any.
There’s no doubt that manufacturing a truly practical small car is a difficult thing to do, especially when that practicality must come along with all the other things that buyers have come to expect from their urban runabouts.
Despite this, Nissan appear to have ticked all the key boxes with their NOTE. It’s well-equipped, versatile, fun to drive and affordable - the diesel models in particular offering a tempting ownership proposition if you can justify the premium over petrol power.
Now it’s up to all the other car manufacturers to come up with something better. It may take them a while.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Nissan Note range
PRICES: £11,300 - £15,300
INSURANCE GROUPS: 10-15
CO2 EMISSIONS: 110-159g/km
PERFORMANCE: [1.5 dCi] 0-62 12.8s / top speed 104mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [1.5 dCi] (urban) 56.5 (extra urban) 76.3 (combined) 67.3mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ABS, twin front and side airbags
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height mm 4100/1690/1550
WHO TO SEE
5 Edward Road, Eastbourne,
East Sussex, BN23 8AS
Tel: 01323 512855