The Nissan Note is a mini MPV that came out in Japan in 2004. A European model followed suit in 2006 and it’s been in production ever since. The Note shares some similarities with the Renault Modus and was made to compete with the Citroen C3 Picasso and the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva. It was made in Nissan’s Washington plant in England so it’s considered to be somewhat of a successor to the medium-sized hatchback Almera. The second-generation Note was revealed in 2012, a production version of the Invitation concept Nissan unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier in the year.
While barely bigger than regular superminis, the Nissan Note is able to offer better headroom by using a high roofline. This also contributes to a more spacious cabin than what standard small hatchbacks can provide. Add in intelligent interior features and an assortment of storage options in the cabin, and you’ll get an excellent sense of space inside despite being confined in a small car.
It’s also very practical, offering a boot that at its maximum can fit over 1,300 litres. That’s a lot of luggage space for a small car. There’s even more space underneath though and when rear seats are slid at their farthest possible, there’s a lot of legroom thanks to a 2,600mm wheelbase. When needed, the front passenger seat can also be folded to let loads up to 2.4m long be placed inside.
It’s heavier than new superminis at 1,146kg but the Note is still capable of going from 0 to 60mph at a competitive 12.9 seconds. A more realistic acceleration for real-world conditions from 30 to 50mph while in 4th gear will give you 9.7 seconds. This is leisurely but it is respectable, decent enough for driving around in the city. A1.6-litre engine is best paired with a regular five-speed manual gearbox, although four-speed auto may do good as well. The latter though is more suitable if you stick to city roads.
There are engine options for the Nissan Note so there’s a bit of freedom to choose whatever will be more suitable for you. However, these options are limited, starting you with an 87bhp 1.4-litre petrol to a 108bhp 1.6-litre engine. If you’re looking for a diesel engine, you’re stuck with just one—an 89bghp 1.5-litre dCi.
Inside, the Note is relatively well-designed. However, big areas of hard black plastic can get in the way of appreciating what Nissan has done. There’s really nothing exciting inside, though everything operates smoothly and feels decent. If more textures and materials were integrated, an improved feel would have been achieved.
The cheapest specification won’t offer you much safety and convenience in terms of equipment. A mid-spec Note though will feature six airbags, cruise control, air conditioning, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity. An entry-level model, on the other hand, only has four airbags, manual windows in the rear, and don’t get underfloor boot storage and air conditioning. It would seem that value for money can only be enjoyed as you move up the Note’s range. Also, rival cars are cost slightly less to insure.
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