Nissan Note mini MPV

Price  £9,995 - £18,200

Nissan Note mini MPV

reviewed by Carbuyer

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

At a glance

Our Pick
1.5 dCi Acenta 5dr £15,675
The greenest
1.5 dCi Acenta Premium 5dr £16,615
The cheapest
1.2 Visia Limited Edition 5dr £9,995
The fastest
1.2 DIG-S Acenta Premium 5dr £15,715
Top of the range
1.2 DIG-S CVT Tekna Style 5dr £18,200

“For such a small car, the Nissan Note is impressively spacious inside. It should prove cheap to run, too.”

The Nissan Note is a small hatchback that majors on making the most of its compact dimensions. As with the Honda Jazz and Kia Venga, there's way more space inside than you might expect looking at it from the outside. 

This is achieved thanks to a slightly higher roof than a normal supermini, as well as some clever details inside. The rear seats slide forward and back, depending on whether you want to prioritise legroom or boot space. Most Notes also get a cleaver false floor in the boot, which can be raised to sit flush with the boot lip, making it easy to slide heavy items in and out. 

If space isn’t your first priority, then you might want to consider rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo or Skoda Fabia. They sacrifice some of the Note's impressive interior space for a more involving driving experience.

You can have any one of three engines in your Note – two petrols and just the one diesel. The two 1.2-litre petrols produce 79 and 97bhp respectively, while the 1.5-litre diesel manages 89bhp. Neither the more powerful petrol nor the diesel emit more than 100g/km of CO2, so there's no road tax to pay, while fuel economy is 65.7 and 78.5mpg respectively. 

The less powerful petrol should really be avoided, as it makes the Note slower, less efficient and more expensive to tax than the other two. Also avoid the more powerful petrol engine with the CVT automatic gearbox if you can. It's slow, noisy and nowhere near as efficient as the manual. 

Apart from that entry-level petrol, the engines are nippy enough to keep up with most traffic. You won’t find the Note a bundle of laughs to drive, however. Its tall profile and softly sprung suspension leads to significant body lean in the corners, while the steering is light and vague. In the urban environs it was designed for, this makes it easy to manoeuvre and park, but robs you of driver involvement out of town.

Astonishingly (and confusingly) there are a grand total of eight Note trim levels to choose from, but even the entry-level model is well equipped. All models get Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control and a CD player. Acenta is our favourite trim level, as it adds things like alloy wheels, air-conditioning and leather interior trim. You also get a height-adjustable driver's seat and some chrome exterior detailing. 

For around £1,000 more, you can upgrade to Acenta Premium, which should have all the kit you’ll ever need. This includes sat nav, DAB digital radio, automatic headlights and wipers, and climate control. 

Nissan has a good reputation for reliability and the Note is based on some well-proven mechanical components, so there shouldn’t be any major issues. It scored four out of five stars from Euro NCAP for crash safety. This doesn’t sound too stellar, but the testing body's evaluations have become a lot more stringent in recent times and four stars is about par for the course in this class.

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's 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 
4.1 /5 based on 96 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
13 Nov 2015
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