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First drive: Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.

First drive: Nissan Note
Nissan reckons its new Note is a competitor for the Ford Fiesta these days.

   



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| First Drive | Bratislava, Slovakia | Nissan Note |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

Nissan has always had a pretty solid reputation for building good, small cars. Although the name may be the same, the all-new Note is hoped to fill the gap between the small Micra and hugely successful Juke crossover.

Key Facts

Model tested: Nissan Note 1.5 dCi
Pricing: from 11,900
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Ford B-Max, Vauxhall Meriva, Volkswagen Polo
CO2 emissions: 95g/km
Combined economy: 78mpg
Top speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Power: 90hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 200Nm at 1,750rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

It would be a fair criticism to have described the previous generation of Nissan's Note as slightly dull to look at, but be that as it may, it still managed to hit the mark with consumers. For this new Note Nissan has drawn styling cues from some of its more interesting models - especially the Juke - to create a car that has some sharp styling features without going overboard.

An all-new front-end design bears resemblance to the electric Nissan Leaf, while the high roofline allows for easy access in and out of the cabin. The rear doors open to almost 90 degrees too, which will be a huge help to parents putting small children into child seats in either of the two Isofix points. The overall silhouette remains reminiscent of the previous generation, but there is no chance of mistaking this for the old model. The rear lights have a three-dimensional design to them that is similar to that seen on the Juke and 370Z, but overall the details on this new Note are tamed down in comparison to its crossover sibling.

The interior has received a makeover and the centre console now has a well laid out appearance that makes all the usual controls easy to find and manage. The only real downside to the cabin is the finish of the plastics used, which, despite being well put together, do give the impression that Nissan could have used materials that felt of higher quality.

Driving it: 3 3 3 3 3

Like most cars in this segment, the real emphasis is on practicality, comfort and economy rather than out-and-out driving dynamics. Taking this into account, the new Note does perform reasonably well.

In town driving the 1.5-litre engine does little to hide the fact that it is a diesel, but once out on the open road it performs well, offering adequate levels of performance and returning some quite respectable fuel economy figures. This is partly down to some subtle but clever aerodynamic touches such as a windscreen that helps airflow and wiper blades that are housed below the bonnet line to keep them out of the way. Overall, the on-road driving performance has been improved, the main areas being ride comfort and reductions in road noise.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

The big talking point on the new Note is what Nissan calls the Safety Shield, which uses the self-cleaning parking cameras along with other sensors to provide the driver with blind spot monitoring and moving object detection, as well as lane departure warning to make up one of the most complete safety systems available to order on a car in this class.

Nissan will be offering the Note in four different trim levels: Visia, Acenta, Premium and Tekna. Prices start at 11,900 for the 80hp 1.2-litre petrol model in Visia trim. Other engine options include Nissan's supercharged 1.2 DISG-S petrol unit producing 98hp yet returning 65.6mpg and emitting just 99g/km. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard throughout with a CVT automatic optional with that DIG-S engine.

Worth Noting

For buyers who wish to express their sportier side, Nissan will also be offering a Body Pack (as in the red car pictured), which consists of enhanced front and rear bumpers, side sill covers, a back door moulding and a roof spoiler. Other packs available to order include a Family Pack featuring a rear armrest, picnic tables for rear occupants and privacy glass.

Summary

Even with this improved new Note, Nissan will still face some stiff competition. What will help are the fresher looks and good value offered by the different trim levels that should keep the majority of buyers satisfied. The Note may not have the most advanced levels of engineering or the cutest of looks, but it'll appeal to those that need a dependable addition to the family.


Dave Humphreys - 23 Jul 2013



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2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.



2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 

2013 Nissan Note. Image by Nissan.
 






 

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