The Nissan Note was first revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2004. This car is visible in Ireland but it wouldn’t be even nearly as popular as the Micra, Qashqai or Juke. The Note was initially introduced in Europe as an MPV but at some stage in 2013 the vehicle entered its second generation and it lost its MPV appearance. This vehicle now sits in the same category as the Nissan Micra. Obviously the Note is a much bigger vehicle but it is in direct competition with the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2, the Volkswagen Polo and the Skoda Fabia.
There are two engines available to the Irish market. The 1.2 litre petrol engine is tweaked to offer three power outputs. One offers 80 bhp and a maximum torque of 110Nm at 4,000rpm. This reaches 0-100 km/h in 14 seconds and has a top speed of 168 km/h. The next option offers 98 bhp and maximum torque of 147 Nm at 4,400rpm, the third tweak is mated with a CVT transmission and it offers 88 bhp. The diesel offering gives 90 bhp and it comes with a five speed manual gearbox. This 1.5 litre engine will bring you from 0-100 km/h in 12 seconds and on-paper it is the most economical of the lot.
The handling of the Note is far better than the smaller Micra. The steering is well-weighted and is precise. The suspension could be improved with the ride being a bit too firm over road imperfections. The Nissan Note performs nicely in cities and is very easy to park. Where the Note falls down against the competition of the Fiesta, the Mazda2 and the Fabia is its lack of fun.
Nissan has done well with the sound insulation in and around this vehicle. Road and wind noise are kept minimal on the motorway. The diesel offering can be a little bit loud but it’s by no means the worst that you will hear. Naturally, the petrol engine is the quieter option.
Like in the Micra, the plastics within the vehicle are not presented as nicely as the rest of the Nissan range. The interior of the Mazda2, the Fabia and the Fiesta would be presented in a better way. However, the Note does offer some nice technology as standard. The car comes with Bluetooth and USB connectivity as well as cruise control & speed limiter. It also has a 12V power outlet as well as a multifunction steering wheel.
Optional with the SVE trim (top of the range trim) is an “Around View Monitor”. This is very clever and it gives you a bird’s eye view of your vehicle. This is very handy for parking by showing you entire surrounds on the touchscreen. In 2013 the Note received four stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests. It received 86% for adult occupancy and 82% for child occupancy. For pedestrian safety it scored 58%. All trims have six airbags, an immobiliser and ISOFIX anchorage points for child seats.
This is where the Note shines. It has ample space and like the Skoda Fabia it feels like it should be in a segment with the Volkswagen Golf. The boot can offer up to 411 litres if you push the seats fully forward (325 litres normally). Leg and head room is very good and four adults would comfortably sit in this vehicle.