Performance in the Note is fine for this type of car...
The Nissan Note has always enjoyed popularity for its roominess within compact dimensions in a relatively tall and chunky body. In the latest version, new on UK roads in the autumn of 2013, Nissan has given its Note a makeover and made it more streamlined-looking and mainstream.
The previous Nissan Note was a little bigger and chunkier-styled. It was more of a mini-MPV than this new second-generation one, which has been modestly down-scaled into a more typical supermini in looks and proportions. It is just over four metres long, with a sleeker design and a slightly lower roofline. What hasn’t changed is the interior spaciousness packaged into the car, which is generous for a model with these exterior measurements, continuing what has always been a key incentive for the Note’s loyal following amongst owners.
In its new guise, the Nissan Note is up against tough competition in the most closely-fought part of the car market, going head-on with some of the most popular cars on the road, such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. That gives it a tough job to do, and it is not as much fun to drive as some of its rivals, but it has enough going for it to make it worth a look. The Note is a five-door, five-seater, front-wheel-drive hatchback, with body dimensions of 410 cm in length and 170 cm wide, not counting the door mirrors.
The engine choice is between two 1.2 litre petrol engines, with either a 79 bhp or 97 bhp power output, or a 1.5 litre diesel with 89 bhp. The transmission options are a five-speed manual or continuously variable CVT auto. There are four trim and equipment levels: Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna. Prices start from £11,900 for a 1.2 litre, manual transmission Visia with the least powerful engine, and rise to £16,950 for either a higher-power-output 1.2 Tekna with CVT or a 1.5 dCi manual Tekna.
Performance in the Note is fine for this type of car, if not exactly stimulating. It has a very adequate top speed, and an average 0-62 acceleration time of around 12 seconds. The engine is modestly sized, but the car is relatively light weight at not much over a ton. Power output in this diesel version is 89 bhp peaking at 4,000 rpm, and peak torque is 147 lb feet at 1,750 rpm.
The car doesn’t feel particularly quick off the mark, but it gets going quite briskly for around-town driving, and it copes happily enough with motorway pace. The driving experience is quite civilised, but a Fiesta is more fun behind the wheel. The Note’s fuel economy is pretty good, with a combined figure of 78.5 mpg in this dCi diesel-engined model, and 60.1 mpg from the lowest-powered petrol version.
The car’s five-speed manual gearbox is slickly efficient and nice to use. If an auto model interests you, do test-drive it first because although the one-speed, continuously variable CVT transmission available in this car is easy to use and does the job well enough, that type of auto box does not suit every taste.