Nissan NOTE

The new Nissan NOTE is a dynamically different take on the conventional family hatchback. Exceptionally spacious, it was designed, engineered and will be manufactured in the UK. There’ll be a choice of three engines and three equipment levels. Prices will start from a notable £9995 for the 1.4 S topping out at £13,395 for the 1.6 SVE automatic. All are orderable now for delivery in March (April for diesel).

Because Nissan has designed the NOTE for a customer group (primarily young families) rather than a specific market sector, it might need a little dimensional positioning. So at 4083mm long, the NOTE fits into Nissan’s range above the Micra and is larger than the Modus, say, from Alliance partner Renault. It’s shorter than a Volkswagen Golf overall but the NOTE’s 2600mm wheelbase is actually longer than the German favourite. Why? To give maximum interior space versus exterior size.

One area where NOTE doesn’t beat the established competition is in its overall height. NOTE is significantly lower than the Vauxhall Meriva, for example, (1555mm/1625mm respectively) to the benefit of NOTE’s design and on-road dynamics. Clever packaging, however, means it offers just as much interior height.

The overall result is class leading passenger space matched by a flexible luggage compartment. NOTE has a sliding rear bench seat designed to increase leg room or load space as required: it moves up to 160mm. And it’s so simple to use, male owners won’t lose face by having to defer to the NOTE’s handbook.

The load area is a lesson in design versatility. With the rear seats in place, there’s a minimum of 280 litres of load space available. But there’s more. The load area has a false floor, covered by a split luggage board on all but the base model. This is also so simple to use that a child could do it. Or even the well fed dog it’s been designed to carry.

Lifting one or other of the boards reveals a secret storage space beneath the boot floor ideal for stowing valuables out of sight. Slide the rear seat forward - a simple, one-handed operation either in the trunk or inside the cabin - and lowering the luggage board, the load area rises to 380 litres. Should extra space be needed for larger items, the boards can be removed altogether, raising total load space potential to 437 litres.

The boards are also reversible, with conventional carpet on one side and a waterproof covering on the other. When carrying wet or muddy items e.g. the dog, the interior of the car can be kept clean simply by reversing the boards and then wiping them down at journey’s end.

More flexibility is provided by the front passenger seat which reclines to the horizontal and thus, in combination with the folded rear seats, allows objects as long as 2.4m to be carried - ideal for anyone with a passion for self-assembly shelving.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 12/01/06 Author : Melanie Carter

Nissan Note News

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