Review

Nissan Note mini MPV

Price  £9,995 - £17,630

Nissan Note mini MPV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Lots of luggage space
  • Frugal engines
  • Plenty of legroom in back seats
Cons
  • Diesel engine is noisy
  • Not the most fun to drive
  • Hard plastic interior

At a glance

The greenest
1.5 dCi Acenta Premium 5dr £16,425
The cheapest
1.2 Visia Limited Edition 5dr £9,995
The fastest
1.2 DIG-S Acenta Premium 5dr £15,525
Top of the range
1.5 dCi Tekna Style 5dr £17,630

“The Nissan Note packs loads of space into its small dimensions, making it a really practical and economical little car.”

The Nissan Note is a small car along the lines of the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo. It is cheap to run and has a practical, spacious interior.

The Nissan has light controls that make it easy to drive and the car has comfortable suspension. Despite this, the suspension does allow to much body lean in corners.

The car gets Nissan's latest engines and no Nissan Note is costly to run. Engine options include two petrols and one diesel. The diesel engine is the one we would go for because it is quicker than the basic petrol, but is very economical and qualifies for free road tax.

Buyers can choose from three trim levels – Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium, and Tekna. The basic Nissan Note comes with a Bluetooth phone connection, cruise control, USB and Aux plugs and keyless entry. It does without air-conditioning, (that's included in the rest of the model range) which some might find annoying omission given the UK's ever-hotter summers.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.1 / 5

All the Note's engines are frugal - especially the 1.5-litre dCi diesel

The Nissan Note uses the same engines as models such as the Nissan Qashqai. The basic 79bhp 1.2-litre petrol is the most expensive to run. Nissan quotes fuel economy of 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km for road tax of £20 a year. Go for the more advanced 1.2-litre DIG-S petrol engine and fuel economy rises to 65.7mpg, while CO2 emissions of 99g/km mean free road tax. It’s the only engine available with Nissan’s CVT automatic gearbox, but fitting it drops fuel economy to 55.4mpg and increases CO2 emissions to 119g/km for road tax of £30 annually. Most economical of all is the 1.5-litre diesel engine, which can achieve fuel economy of 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 90g/km. It is exempt from paying road tax and is our pick of the engines available.

Nissan offers fixed-price services that are priced from £149 and include one year’s roadside assistance, a free courtesy car, and free software updates. Nissan will also extend the car’s standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty by one year for £199.

You can expect the Nissan Note to be worth between 36 per cent (1.2-litre DIG-S Acenta) and 42 per cent (1.5-litre diesel Acenta) of its original value after three years and 36,000 miles. Insurance runs from group six in the basic 1.2-litre petrol, to group 10 in the DIG-S Acenta model.

Engines, drive & performance

3.4 / 5

Nissan Note's diesel engine offers the best performance

Of the engines on offer, the 89bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel feels the quickest and is also the cheapest to run. It can get from 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds, but can be quite noisy when accelerating, although it settles down on the motorway. 

The 1.2-litre DIG-S is quieter, but doesn’t feel as quick even though it is more powerful and actually faster from 0-62mph – taking 11.8 seconds. Choosing the CVT automatic gearbox dents performance, so 0-62mph takes 12.6 seconds.

We would avoid the basic petrol engine, which is the least economical on offer and, with 0-62mph taking 13.7 seconds, also the slowest.

The latest Nissan Note feels sportier to driver than the old model thanks to firmer suspension that stops the bounciness that afflicted the old model. 

Interior & comfort

3.7 / 5

Nissan Note's interior is quiet on the motorway

The Nissan cannot match the quality of a car such as the Volkswagen Polo. It is nice enough to look at, though, and uses some soft-touch plastics. The Note’s steering wheel only adjusts for rake, while basic Visia models do without height adjustment on the driver’s seat. 

The suspension can’t quite match the comfy ride in the old Nissan Note, but it does feel more settled at motorway speeds. At a cruise, the car’s interior is quiet and there’s little road or wind noise.

Practicality & boot space

4.4 / 5

The Note offers more space than a conventional hatchback

If you want a car that is cheap to buy and spacious then there is a lot to like about the Nissan Note. Getting comfortable in the front seats should be easy and there is also plenty of space in the back. The Note gets a back seat that can slide forwards and backwards and, when it is pushed back as far as it will go, rear legroom is impressive.

Luggage space is decent, too, and the Nissan Note gets a 325-litre boot, which is 45 litres bigger than the old model’s. All models apart from Visia get a false boot floor that can be raised to sit flush with the boot lip.

Fold down the rear seats and the Nissan offers a 1,465-litre carrying capacity and big items should be relatively easy to load thanks to the Nissan’s big boot opening.

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Plenty of optional safety equipment and decent reliability

The Nissan Note doesn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power survey, but in our manufacturers’ rankings the company dropped from 12th to 22nd out of 33 firms. The Note does use parts from across the rest of the range, which should mean they are tried, tested and reliable.

There’s is also room for improvement in terms of safety and the Nissan Note was only awarded four stars (out of a possible five) when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. Nonetheless, it comes with six airbags, electronic stability control, and a seatbelt reminder.

Buyers can also equip their Note with Safety Shield, which includes a 360-degree camera to help with parking, a lane departure warning, blind spot assistance and moving object detection. It comes standard in Tekna models and is a £400 option in Acenta trim.

Price, value for money & options

3.8 / 5

Nissan Note has lots of interior space and a massive boot for the money

Even basic Nissan Notes come with cruise control, a Bluetooth phone connection, USB and AUX plugs, and remote central locking. Air-conditioning is a £650 option that we would recommend taking. Acenta models add sliding rear bench seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a subtle body kit, while Acenta Premium trim adds Nissan’s sat-nav system, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, and Nissan’s safety shield. Tekna models sit at the top of the range thanks to keyless entry and start, plus part-leather seats.

The Nissan Note won’t hold its value as well as cars such as the Volkswagen Polo, but Nissan offers the Note with discounts of up to £1,000, if you buy the car with Nissan finance. 

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4 / 5
"The latest Nissan Note is just as practical as ever, but it's now more stylish and better to drive, too."
4 / 5
"The Note offers generous passenger space and the sort of technology you'd expect from a family car in a supermini-sized package. What's more, it looks competitively priced against rivals from Ford and VW."
Last updated 
5 Aug 2014

Sponsored Links

Own this car? Leave your review.