Nissan Note Hatchback full 9 point review
The supercharged petrol is quiet and 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. It quickly runs out of puff beyond it, although the Note's tall fifth gear helps it keep 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 car also has a well-judged suspension set-up. There's minimal body lean in fast corners, and the UK's scarred roads don't pose a problem. Over patchy surfaces in town the Note remains settled, while at speed, expansion joints and potholes are rounded off well. Stability is good.
The diesel engine can be slightly grumbly around town, and it transmits too much vibration through the wheel and pedals, but it's hushed on the motorway. In fact wind noise isn't a problem and only minimal road noise creeps into the cabin at higher speeds. The 1.2 petrol is quieter, with a lot less dirge at low speeds.
Buying & Owning
The Note is cheap to buy and a combination of its brilliant fuel economy, low insurance groups and clean engines will ensure that it doesn't cost the earth to run, either.
Quality & Reliability
The Note's cabin feels more upmarket than the Juke's and the face-lifted Micra's 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 old 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, designed to make parking and low-speed manoeuvres easier and safer. It also includes lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.
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. However, the seats are supportive and all-round visibility is good.
Space & Practicality
The Note offers plenty 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 available in the boot, expanding to 411 litres with the rear seat 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 CD player with USB input. We'd go for Acenta trim, which adds air-conditioning, 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 satellite-navigation system.