At a glance: Nissan Note

At a glance: Nissan Note
At a glance: Nissan Note

The practical Nissan Note is a cross between a supermini and an MPV. It’s flexible and spacious, and this second-generation version has a better chassis and more advanced engines.

Refinement isn’t quite up to scratch though, and the basic Visia model is just that – too basic. For all its space, the driving position lacks adjustability, although it does win points for being built in Britain.

DRIVING

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Performance
• Basic 1.2-litre engine is fine if you usually travel alone; supercharged 1.2 DiG-S struggles less when laden
• 1.5 dCi is more relaxed than the petrols and is good on the motorway
• Only if you cover 15,000 miles a year or more will the extra cost of the diesel add up

Ride and handling
• Ride can be a bit firm, particularly models with 16-inch wheels
• Body control is OK for such a tall, slab-sided machine
• Handling isn’t fun but it is light, natural and consistent

Refinement
• You can feel the vibrations in the diesel model and it’s noisy in town
• Petrol is quieter in the city but louder when pressed harder
• Oddly, it’s noisier in the back than in the front at speed

IN THE CABIN

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Behind the wheel
• Raised driving position gives good visibility, is easy to step in and out of
• Basic Visia doesn’t have a height-adjust driver’s seat, and all models lack steering wheel reach adjust
• Curiously, no Nissan Note has a clutch footrest

Space and practicality
• High seats and deep windows give good all-round visibility
• Excellent packaging means front, rear and boot space is excellent – it’s much bigger than a conventional supermini
• Brilliant Nissan Around View Monitor on posher models gives a bird’s eye view on a central display screen

Equipment
• All models have USB and Bluetooth, but only mid-spec Acenta has the essentials
• NissanConnect comes on upper-spec versions; it includes sat nav and DAB
• All tech is easy to use, if not the last word in sophistication

BUYING AND OWNING

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Price and running costs
• Prices are very competitive and retained values are good
• Diesel returned a decent 55.2mpg True MPG figure
• Low CO2 means tax is cheap on all engines

Quality and reliability
• Solid cabin feels built to shake off the ravages of family life
• Nissan has a decent reputation for reliability
• JD Power customer satisfaction ratings for the previous model are good

Safety and security
• The 2013 Euro NCAP rating is four stars, not the full five stars
• Higher-trim models have Nissan Safety Shield active safety kit, including blind spot monitoring
• An alarm is optional on all models

Instant verdict: It’s a bit on the utilitarian side, but the Note delivers a lot of practicality for the money

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