Nissan Note review (2013 onwards) – MSN Cars UK

14 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Nissan Note review (2013 onwards) – MSN Cars UK
Nissan Note

Nissan Note

review (2013 onwards)

Nissan Note: summary

The new Nissan Note delivers amazing practicality, space and fuel efficiency despite being smaller than its predecessor, but this new supermini can’t quite match the Ford Fiesta in terms of entertainment.

Nissan Note: first impressions

Nissan has morphed its previous generation Note mini MPV into a B-segment supermini targeted right at the heart of the class, according to the Japanese firm. It’s explicitly taking on the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. Which means it’ll have to be good.

It does at least feel urgent and willing at anything from town to motorway speeds

First impressions suggest it could well give these two vehicles something to think about: it’s remarkably efficient, practical, well priced at £11,900 (given the standard kit included) and looks interesting enough with the additional styling pack, boasting larger wheels and meaner front and rear bumpers.

The problem is, stemming from the first generation Note the car has to overcome certain connotations. Although the new second generation version does bring with it more contemporary design, can it shake off the compact people carrier image and establish itself as a genuine rival to the best superminis in the class?

Nissan Note: performance

Two engines were available to try at the launch of the new car – a 90hp 1.5-litre turbodiesel (developed as part of the Nissan-Renault alliance and also found in the latest Clio) and a 98hp 1.2-litre supercharged three-cylinder petrol. Put simply, the diesel is the one to have.

The 0-62mph sprint is completed in 11.9 seconds – that’s adequate performance, and with a 147lb ft of pulling power developed as low as 1,750rpm, it does at least feel urgent and willing at anything from town to motorway speeds, even if it is vocal when worked.

It was happy to cruise at 80mph on an Austrian motorway and despite some rather blustery conditions during our test drive, the car felt stable and planted – a reassuring trait in a small vehicle.

The way the car rode the bumpy streets of Bratislava on the launch was impressive

The petrol is marginally quicker to 62mph at 11.7 seconds, but in the real world the 39lb ft torque deficit shows, meaning you have to rev the engine harder, negating the fuel economy benefits of the downsized triple. The supercharger does its best to bolster the mid-range, but it then feels strangled at higher revs.

Both engines are mated to a five-speed gearbox, which is positive enough with well-spaced ratios. A CVT automatic transmission will also be available on the 1.2 supercharged petrol when it hits the UK next January.

From launch in the UK there’ll also be a naturally aspirated 80hp 1.2-litre petrol triple alongside the diesel. You’ll have to wait until next year for the supercharged three-cylinder.

Nissan

Nissan Note: ride and handling

Performance might not be the Note’s strongest suit, then, but the way the car rode the bumpy streets of Bratislava on the launch was impressive. The Note’s suspension smoothed out ruts and potholes, even on the larger 16-inch wheels and unique suspension of the DIG-S supercharged variant.

It’s huge in the back, too, with more legroom than a BMW 7 Series, according to Nissan

It’s comfortable and quiet, with the chassis biased towards the relaxing end of the scale. This means the Note isn’t the most capable or composed to drive quickly and would be outshone by a Fiesta on a B-road.

There’s enough grip and the steering is nicely weighted and fairly direct, but the car does roll when pushed harder. We suspect most Notes won’t be driven in this manner, however, and for the standard runs to school and the shops, the setup is nicely judged.

Nissan Note: interior

Fundamentally, the Note’s interior layout is sound, with a large central display clothed in gloss black plastic. The heater controls are big and the buttons positive to push. It feels robust and hardwearing.

There’s plenty of equipment on offer, including a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system combining the Note’s optional satellite navigation, around view 360-degree camera systems and Nissan’s latest connected services option.

Even the entry-level Visia trim gets electric windows, remote central locking, cruise control with speed limiter and stop-start. Although priced marginally above the Fiesta, Nissan believes you get more than £400 worth of extra kit compared to the Ford.

Nissan Note

The diesel returns an impressive 78.5mpg combined with only 95g/km CO2

You certainly get more practicality. The Note’s boot stands at 325 litres (including the under floor storage) with the seats up, rising to 411 litres with them folded. There’s also an optional family pack, which adds a sliding rear seat bench.

It’s huge in the back, too, with a best-in-class 640mm of legroom in the rear – more than a BMW 7 Series even, according to Nissan.

The only thing that lets the Note’s cabin down is the lack of soft touch plastics. From the dash to the door cards, everything is solid and not all that nice in terms of feel.

Nissan

Nissan Note: economy and safety

Efficiency is strong on both the petrol and diesel models. With stop-start fitted as standard across the range, the 1.2 supercharged petrol will return 65.7mpg combined with 99g/km CO2 emissions – the diesel betters that with 78.5mpg combined and only 95g/km CO2.

As a small, everyday car to do many different jobs, the Note a worthy companion

Safety is excellent, too. The second generation Note debuts Nissan’s Safety Shield technology, comprising of a lane departure warning function, blind spot assist and the firm’s 360-degree around view camera system with moving object detection – features that together have not previously been seen in the supermini sector.

The latter even features a ‘wash and blow dry’ function for the rear camera to keep it clean. We aren’t joking…

There’s no Euro NCAP crash safety rating as yet for the new Note but expect this little car to receive a full five-star rating given the features it’s packing.

Nissan Note: the MSN Cars verdict

Despite Nissan waxing lyrical about how the new Note is now a true supermini, attacking the heart of the sector, we can’t help feeling it’s still rooted in the compact MPV class.

It is smaller and does look a whole lot better than before, but it’s not as fun or engaging to drive as the Fiesta or VW Polo. Where it does excel is on efficiency, practicality and flexibility. As a small, everyday car to do many different jobs, the Note a worthy companion.

Nissan Note
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