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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Nissan Note is quirky yet practical and well designed. It's spacious for a supermini, too, with room for up to four adults

Against The Note's firm ride can become unsettled in town, and engine noise may get irritating on motorway journeys.

Verdict The Nissan Note is different to most superminis, yet has all the space of a small MPV wrapped up in an attractive package.

Go for… 1.4 S

Avoid… 1.6 SVE auto

Nissan Note Hatchback
  • 1. There's room inside for four adults to travel in comfort, and there is good headroom because of the Note's high roofline.
  • 2. The Note's 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines return 44.8mpg and 42.8mpg, while the newer diesel manages up to 62.8mpg.
  • 3. There are two petrol engines: an 87bhp 1.4-litre and 108bhp 1.6. Early 1.5 diesels came with 85bhp or 102bhp, but in '08 the more powerful version gave way to an improved 85bhp unit.
  • 4. Road tax should be reasonable, with the newer diesels producing CO2 emissions of just 118g/km.
  • 5. Many owners have complained about electrical issues caused by the car's electronics.
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Nissan Note Hatchback full review with expert trade views

If you like your superminis oversized, then a used Nissan Note is worth a look, because this well-designed hatchback is capable of accommodating smaller-sized families with ease.

It's easy to drive around town thanks to its light and accurate steering, but the firm ride does make the car thump over potholes. However, faster roads can be tackled with confidence, as the Note remains stable at speed. Motorway speeds are not a problem, but you could tire of the boomy engine noise at higher revs. Wind and road noise aren't an issue, though.

There's room inside for four adults to travel in comfort, and there is good headroom because of the Note's high roofline. The rear bench seat can slide back or forwards to maximise legroom or luggage space, and the boot has the option of a split-level floor, which creates a flat loadbay when you fold down the rear seats.

The driving position is good, with well laid-out controls, but the steering wheel adjusts only for height, not reach. Twin front and side airbags come as standard, while the entry-level car misses out on curtain airbags.

Trade view

Late 58-plate diesels are greener and more economical that the earlier cars, but only consider them if you do higher than average mileage.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

If most of your miles are driven around town, then you're best off with the 87bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine, which is nippy, yet hushed right up to motorway speeds. The 108bhp 1.6-litre petrol is better suited to faster roads. The 1.5-litre diesel originally came with either 85bhp or 102bhp, but in late 2008 the higher-powered version was deleted, and the fuel economy of the 85bhp version was improved.

If you want an automatic Note, you'll have to go for the 1.6-litre petrol model. Be warned, though, it's a rare car on the used market.

Early Notes came in S, SE and SVE trims, but this was changed in mid 2008 to the Visia, Acenta and Tekna. The S/Visia models come with electric front windows and a CD player, while the Visia + adds air-con. The SE/Acenta adds alloys and electric rear windows. The range-topping SVE/Tekna models come with climate control, parking sensors, automatic wipers and a CD multichanger.

Trade view

An oddball choice, but the Note is surprisingly spacious and practical for a supermini. Low-priced petrol models are the best value.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

There's not a huge difference between the two petrol engines when it comes to fuel economy. The 1.4-litre's official average is 44.8mpg, while the 1.6-litre manages 42.8mpg. The Note's early diesels return an average of 55.4mpg, but the improved 85bhp model (introduced in late '08), pushes that up to 62.8mpg. A diesel Note will cost you more to buy, so make sure your mileage is high enough to recoup the extra outlay.

Insurance is low, with all models in either groups 4 or 5. Servicing costs are roughly the same as those of rivals. Road tax should be reasonable, with the newer diesels producing CO2 emissions of just 118g/km. The later version diesel will also have the best resale value.

Trade view

Late 58-plate diesels are greener and more economical that the earlier cars, but only consider them if you do higher than average mileage.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Many owners have complained about electrical issues caused by the car's electronics. These include the foglights refusing to turn off and the windscreen wipers misbehaving. Dealers can reprogramme the ECU to solve such issues, or in some cases, replace the whole unit.

The Renault-sourced diesel engines have a history of failing, and requiring expensive repairs, although this fault is mainly restricted to earlier cars.

The SVE models use an unusual size of tyre, that's manufactured by just one company. The tyres wear quickly and can be expensive to replace.

Other issues include doors refusing to unlock and the rear seat jamming, so that it can't be folded down to extend boot space.

Trade view

An oddball choice, but the Note is surprisingly spacious and practical for a supermini. Low-priced petrol models are the best value.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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