What's the used Nissan Note hatchback like?
The recipe for this Nissan Note was quite simple. You see Nissan took the contemporary 2010-2016 Nissan Micra, stretched it in both height and length to increase interior space and turned it into a Note, a more practical small car for families. It followed on from the 2006-2013 first-generation Nissan Note, which had a similar stance but belonged firmly in the slightly unglamorous mini-MPV camp.
This second-generation Note now competes with the likes of the equivalent-generation Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris and Skoda Fabia in the used marketplace. It now makes for an intriguing used buy, being practical, spacious and good value for money.
Engines started from an entry-level 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol with 79bhp or 91bhp with a supercharger. There was also an 89bhp 1.5-litre diesel for those who valued low CO2 emissions and good fuel economy.
There are five trim levels are offered: Acenta, Acenta Limited Edition, Acenta Black Edition, Acenta Premium and Tekna. Entry-level Acenta trims include Bluetooth, a CD radio, cruise control, a trip computer, electric front windows, air conditioning, USB connectivity and alloys wheels. Opt for the Acenta Limited Edition and you get some bespoke Note decal floor mats, while the Black Edition comes with a 5.8in Nissan Connect touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat nav and numerous black exterior and interior details.
The mid-range Acenta Premium trims come with a sliding rear bench, climate control, auto headlights and wipers, and front fog lights, while the range-topping Tekna models get 16in alloys, a part leather interior, keyless entry and start, and a 360-degree camera.
The 79bhp 1.2-litre triple is unlikely to set your heart on fire. So although a headline figure of 12.6sec for the 0-60mph sprint doesn’t look sprightly, bear in mind economy is the name of the game here.
The supercharged engine feels a bit overwhelmed by the Note's bulk, although the deep three-cylinder sound is appealing. You'll probably enjoy the impressively torquey diesel more; although it is a grumbly unit under acceleration.
However, the Note is not that much fun to drive. There’s too much body roll when going down a country road and it’s also susceptible to side winds because it's a tall car. The steering is light for easy parking but it’s precise enough on faster roads.
The ride is a bit on the firm side and drain covers can cause the car to shimmy. It does settle a bit on faster roads, though.
Inside, the Note is highly practical for a vehicle with a relatively small footprint. There’s a big boot that comes with an adjustable boot floor in all but the entry-level Visia model. It removes the annoying load lip and enables longer items to slide into the load area.
There’s plenty of room in the front and head room is exceptional, while those in the rear are also treated to heaps of space. Top-spec Notes can be had with a sliding rear bench that gives you the flexibility of having more leg space or increase boot space. Parents of young children will also appreciate the wide doors, so putting a child in the car seat is that bit easier.
What used Nissan Note hatchback will I get for my budget?
Prices start at £3000 for an early 2013 1.2 petrol car with a high mileage. If you want a diesel, you’ll need to spend a little bit more, because they start at £4000.
The supercharged 1.2 petrol is rare, and therefore worth more money, so you would need to up the budget to £5000 to find one.
The Nissan Note was discontinued in late 2016/early 2017. If you are interested in going for one of the last examples registered, be prepared to spend up to £10,000.
How much does it cost to run a Nissan Note hatchback?
Fuel economy is very reasonable with the Note; even the worst-performing 1.2 DIG-S auto model has an average figure of 55.4mpg (according to the older NEDC tests that were current at the time) and costs £30 in road tax. The non-supercharged 79bhp version is a little better at 60.1mpg and costs £20 in road tax. Our preferred 1.2 DIG-S manual model is the best for fuel economy out of the petrol range, posting a combined figure of 65.7mpg, with free road tax.
The diesel beats that, unsurprisingly, with most models averaging 78.5mpg and scooting into the free road tax bracket.
Unlike most service schemes, a Nissan dealer can service your car according to its fixed-price list at any age. The fee even extends to individual repair costs, such as replacement brake pads. Taking advantage of dealer servicing also entitles you to one year’s worth of European breakdown cover.
Which used Nissan Note hatchback should I buy?
If you regularly drive on the motorway, go for the diesel. However, if you only drive in town in stop-start traffic, we’d stick with the higher-powered DIG-S petrol because its additional power copes better when loaded up with people than the entry-level petrol would.
Acenta Premium has plenty of additional kit such as sat-nav, a DAB radio, climate control and automatic lights and wipers for a little extra money over mid-range Acenta, so it’s the one to look out for.
Our favourite Nissan Note 1.2 DIG-S Acenta Premium
What alternatives should I consider to a used Nissan Note hatchback?
The Honda Jazz has plenty of interior flexibility, thanks to a rear bench that can fold down or be split in a number of ways – even allowing for a bicycle (without the front wheel, of course) to be loaded across the car. It’s also very reliable, featuring near the top of our most recent survey.
The Toyota Yaris stands out in this class because you can buy one with a hybrid engine, bringing useful benefits such as low fuel consumption in town and ultra-low road tax costs.
Meanwhile, the Skoda Fabia was never an expensive car when new, so it still represents good value for money. It’s very well equipped and, as well as in hatchback form, it is also available as an estate; that's unusual in this market and provides a useful amount of extra luggage capacity over the standard car.