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First drive: Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.

First drive: Nissan Note
Nissan updates the Note before it gets ready to send out the Invitation. Not new, but it's still a useful small family car.

   



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| First Drive | Sunderland, England | Nissan Note |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

It might be awaiting the final curtain as Nissan readies the new Invitation, but the Note remains a hugely practical yet compact family car.

Key Facts

Model tested: Nissan Note 1.5 dCi N-Tec+
Pricing: 14,525
Engine: 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door mini-MPV
Rivals: Honda Jazz, Kia Venga, Toyota Urban Cruiser
CO2 emissions: 110g/km
Combined economy: 67.3mpg
Top speed: 104mph
0-62mph: 12.8 seconds
Power: 90hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 200Nm at 1,750rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

The Nissan Note has always been a good looking car, its two-box style embellished with some nice detailing. The rear lights in particular have always exhibited a flair that's unusual in its class, their pillar mounting that carries up over the roofline an appealing feature. Larger two-tone 16-inch alloys, privacy glass and some chrome highlights up front make the most of what's otherwise a fairly ordinary shape.

Inside it's more of form meets function, the Note's interior not exactly dripping with artistic flair. What it does achieve though is simplicity of use, and the materials are all of decent quality and fitted tightly. The Note's key appeal remains its amazing provision of space. The rear seats slide to offer legroom to rival limos, there's an under floor cubby that can be compartmentalised and if you drop all the seats it's absolutely vast.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

You could be forgiven for overlooking the Nissan Note on the driver enjoyment front, but for a car that was conceived as a practical machine first and everything else after the Note isn't without appeal. The steering might not be full of feel, but its weighting and accuracy are fine, while the five-speed manual transmission shifts with a pleasingly mechanical action. The suspension mixes ride comfort and body control adeptly, the Note doing an admirable job of smothering poor road surfaces despite its new, larger alloy wheels.

The 1.5-litre dCi engine might not be punching out mighty power, but its 90hp is enough to give the Note respectable performance - though use all the car's capacity and it might prove a bit more sluggish. There's little incentive to rev it past 2,500rpm, as not only does it become a bit percussive, but it's punchy enough below that. Keep those revs down and refinement levels are high, the Note's small car status not denying it ability on bigger roads, making it a capable all-rounder

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

As you might expect in a model that's nearing the end of its life Nissan is being generous with kit to attract buyers into the showroom. Indeed, this new N-Tec+ spec underlines that, the range-topping model coming fully loaded. That means touch-screen satnav, audio and Bluetooth telephony and automatic air conditioning among its standard kit.

Worth Noting

Drive the Note sensibly and it'll get close to the official combined consumption 67mpg figure. CO2 emissions are just 110g/km, keeping running costs sensible as well.

The Note's space provision remains a surprise even now. With the seats folded it offers a load space of 1,332 litres. That's only 190 litres short of a Qashqai+2 with its seats folded.

Summary

While it's certainly not in its first flourish of youth the Nissan Note remains a desirable, compact yet hugely practical car. It might lack the excitement and interior flair of some newer rivals, but a decent drive and plentiful standard kit more than make up for that. If you're too impatient to wait for the Nissan Invitation next year then the Note is still worth seeking out if you value space in a small package.


Kyle Fortune - 4 Apr 2012



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2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.

2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.    


2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2012 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 






 

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