News Road Tests

Handbook: Nissan Note

Time 7:51 am, August 21, 2013

72506nis-107050_1_5Nissan established itself strongly in the B-segment with the Note. But can the new one continue that? Dave Brown reports.

What is it?

In a nutshell, Nissan’s new B-segment contender. The holy grail for all manufacturers (well, anyone who makes anything really) is to retain existing customers and win new ones and that is what Nissan are hoping to achieve. They say they have retained the practical feel of old Note, keeping existing buyers on board; yet added vim and vigour to attract a new breed of Note driver. A boat-load of marketing activity is on its way in the autumn to target these potential new – and younger -– Note drivers.

What’s under the bonnet?

Three engines are available from launch: A 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit that generates 78bhp; a 97bhp 1.2-litre supercharged DIG-S and a newly-engineered 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine that produces 88bhp. It’s this diesel engine which emits the lowest CO2 in the Note range – just 95g/km. A CVT transmission is available on the 1.2-litre DIG-S engine.

What’s the spec like?

The four-model range starts with the entry-level Visia from £11,900 that features Idle stop/start, front electric windows, remote central locking and cruise control. Acenta models – expected to be the best-sellers of the bunch – start at £13,250 and add alloy wheels air-conditioning, Bluetooth and a sliding rear seat bench. The £14,150 Acenta Premium features NissanConnect, and climate control. The range-topping Tekna model starts at £15,950 and features 16-inch alloy wheels, part-leather seats and automatic air conditioning.

What’s it like to drive?

We tried two models during a special Nissan small car event in Bratislava: the 1.2 DIG-S model and the 1.5 dCi, both with manual transmission. Of the two, the diesel-powered Note was easily the one we preferred, capable and willing, with direct, accurate steering and an eager, torquey feel. The 1.2 didn’t quite rise to the occasion in the same way, though still provided a perfectly pleasant drive. The tech is all very clever too – all the gizmos and gadgets really do add to the driving experience.

What do the press think of it?

Autocar said: ‘As a very roomy alternative to a Fiesta it makes much sense if you don’t mind the dynamic dullness.’

What do we think of it?

As we’ve said, Nissan certainly have high hopes for the Note and we’re sure it can do well if they get the marketing right this autumn. At the moment, it maybe has the image of a car for retirees, but if more families and youngsters get behind the wheel they’ll be home and dry and could sell up to 20,000 units a year. New Note deserves to do well. It’s practical, priced well and is now styled to suit a wider age range. And it’s built in the UK – which is great news.

Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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