Nissan Note mini MPV

£9,995 - £17,870

The Nissan Note is a small car along the lines of the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo. It's cheap to run and comfortable to sit in. As a small MPV it can also be considered a direct rival to cars such as the Hyundai ix20, Kia Venga and Honda Jazz.

The Nissan has light controls that make it easy to drive and the car has comfortable suspension. Despite this, the suspension allows a bit too much body lean in corners. It's never going to be as much fun to drive as the Fiesta, but few cars in this class are.

The car gets Nissan's latest engines and no Nissan Note will work out costly to run. Engine options include two petrols and one diesel. The diesel engine is the one we recommend, because it's quicker than the basic petrol, yet also very economical and not liable for road tax.

Buyers can choose from five main trim levels – Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium, n-tec and Tekna. The basic Nissan Note comes with a Bluetooth phone connection, cruise control, USB and MP3 player ports and keyless entry. It does without air-conditioning, (that's included in the rest of the range), which some might consider an annoying omission given the UK's recent hot summers.

The inside is spacious for a car of this size, with a good amount of headroom throughout. Sliding the rear seats all the way back means there's plenty of legroom in the rear, too. The glovebox is large, but boot capacity isn’t class-leading.

Prices for the Nissan Note start at just over £12,000 for the 1.2-litre petrol in Visia trim, with the diesel costing around £2,000 more in the same spec. It won’t hold its value as well as cars like the Volkswagen Polo, but Nissan offers the Note with discounts of up to £1,000, if you buy it through the company's own finance scheme.