Review

Nissan Note mini MPV

Price  £10,995 - £17,895

Nissan Note mini MPV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Impressive boot space
  • Good rear legroom
  • Efficient engines
Cons
  • Noisy diesel engine
  • Not much fun to drive
  • Suspect interior quality

At a glance

Our Pick
1.5 dCi Acenta 5dr £15,785
The greenest
1.5 dCi Acenta Premium 5dr £16,795
The cheapest
1.2 Acenta Limited Edition 5dr £10,995
The fastest
1.2 DIG-S Acenta Premium 5dr £15,895
Top of the range
1.2 DIG-S CVT Tekna 5dr £17,895

“Given its small stature, the Nissan Note offers a huge amount of space and practicality, while low running costs mean it won’t break the bank, either.”

The Nissan Note is a small hatchback that, thanks to a slightly raised roofline, offers far more space than you might expect from a car of this size. The closest competitors to the Note are the Honda Jazz and Kia Venga, but you may also want to consider a conventional hatchback like a Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia or Volkswagen Polo, as these cars offer a more enjoyable driving experience – although they’re not quite as practical.

Inside, the Nissan Note majors on usability, with sliding rear seats allowing you to prioritise legroom or boot space. Most models also feature a clever false floor in the boot, which can be raised to sit flush with the loading lip, making sliding heavy loads in and out easy.

Nissan offers the Note with two 1.2-litre petrol engines producing either 79 or 97bhp, as well as an 89bhp 1.5-litre diesel. The less powerful petrol is best avoided: it’s the only Note that isn’t road-tax-exempt and it really needs to be worked hard in order to make progress. The 97bhp petrol makes the car much easier to live with, while fuel economy of 65.7mpg means it’s also cheaper to run.

The diesel engine’s 80.7mpg is very impressive, and it’s actually cheaper to buy than the more powerful petrol, so if you do a lot of miles, it’s easy to recommend. If you want an automatic gearbox, though, this is only an option with the more powerful petrol, but it’s best avoided: the CVT automatic gearbox makes the Note noisier, slower and less efficient than with the five-speed manual.

On the road, the Nissan Note prioritises comfort over driver involvement. It’s great in town, with light steering and soft suspension making parking a doddle and potholes barely perceptible, but out on the open road this translates into lots of body lean in corners. Also, the steering feels vague, as opposed to light.

Nissan offers the Note in eight trims, and even the entry-level Visia Limited Edition gets Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control and a CD player. We recommend the mid-range Acenta trim, as this adds extras like alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a leather steering wheel. It’s also the lowest trim in which the more powerful petrol engine is available.

For roughly an extra £1,000, Acenta Premium adds sat nav, DAB radio, automatic headlights and wipers and climate control. The top-spec Tekna Style model is very well equipped but, at over £7,000 more than the entry-level Note, it’s hard to justify.

While Nissan’s reputation for reliability has traditionally been strong, it’s taken something of a tumble in recent years, with a 28th-place finish in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey giving some cause for concern. The Note didn’t fare much better, coming 143rd out of 200 cars.

In its Euro NCAP safety tests, the Nissan Note scored four out of five stars. While this is by no means disastrous and the tests have become more stringent in recent years, the Honda Jazz managed the full five-star rating.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.1 / 5

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

Engines, drive & performance

3.4 / 5

The Nissan Note diesel engine offers the best performance in the range

Interior & comfort

3.7 / 5

The Nissan Note interior stays quiet on the motorway and all models are well equipped

Practicality & boot space

4.4 / 5

The Nissan Note offers more space inside than a conventional hatchback

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

The Nissan Note offers plenty of optional safety equipment and decent reliability

What the others say

3.5 / 5
based on 3 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."
5 / 10
"Note strikes a happy balance between mini MPV and supermini. An able competitor for the Honda Jazz."
What owners say 
2.9
2.9 /5 based on 10 reviews
30%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
6 Apr 2016
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