Nissan Note Hatchback full 9 point review
The supercharged petrol engine is smooth, but has to be worked quite hard to make decent progress. The diesel is better in this respect, as long as you keep it in its sweet spot, which sits lower down the rev range than the petrol's. It quickly runs out of puff at high revs, although it happily keeps up with traffic on the motorway.
Ride & Handling
The Note isn't exactly fun, but the steering feels natural, consistently weighted and precise. It's also light enough around town to allow for easy manoeuvring. The suspension set-up is pretty sound, too. Stability is good and there's minimal body lean in fast corners. The UK's scarred roads don't pose a problem, either; the Note remains settled over patchy surfaces in town, while expansion joints and potholes are rounded off well at higher speeds.
You can feel vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals in the diesel model; the engine is also noisy around town, although it is hushed on the motorway. The supercharged petrol model is quieter, with a lot less grumbly engine noise at low speeds. Whichever version you go for, there's little wind noise and only minimal road noise at higher speeds.
Buying & Owning
The Note is cheap to buy, and a combination of its brilliant fuel economy, low insurance groups and efficient engines will ensure it doesn't cost the earth to run, either.
Quality & Reliability
The Note's cabin feels more upmarket than those of the Juke and Micra, but it still isn't particularly plush or exciting. It's likely to be a reliable car, though; build quality appears to be good and the previous-generation car consistently performed well in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
Safety & Security
All Notes come with six airbags and stability control as standard. Higher-trim cars can also be specified with Nissan's Around View Monitor with Safety Shield. This is an affordable option and uses cameras around the car to give a virtual 360-degree view of the surroundings, which helps make parking and low-speed manoeuvres easier and safer. It also includes lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. Security kit includes an engine immobiliser.
Behind The Wheel
Entry-level Visia trim doesn't offer seat-height adjustment, and taller drivers may struggle because the Note's steering wheel adjusts only for height, not reach. The seats are supportive and all-round visibility is good, however.
Space & Practicality
The Note offers plenty of space; even taller adults will have enough headroom, while there's considerably more legroom in the rear than in a Citroen C3 Picasso. There's 325 litres of boot space, too, which expands to 411 litres with the rear bench slid fully forward, although this flexibility isn't available on entry-level models. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold almost flat, but it's a shame they can't be moved forward and back as independent units.
Every Note comes with cruise control, Bluetooth, front electric windows and a USB socket. We'd go for Acenta trim, which adds air-con, rear electric windows, a multi-position boot shelf and 15-inch alloy wheels. It's also the entry point from which you can specify the supercharged 1.2-litre petrol engine. Acenta Premium gives you automatic lights and wipers, climate control and a 5.8-inch touch-screen sat-nav system. Tekna models have some desirable high-tech kit, but they're pretty pricey.