THE Nissan Note is a car of contrast. On the one hand, it resoundingly achieves the company’s aim of providing a new scoop in the mini-MPV sector. But it falls down in others – such as the marketing claim that seating five people and carrying lots of luggage at the same time is a real possibility.
On the plus side, I’ve found that there is generous space for my tall frame in the driving seat. Headroom and legroom are good, to the point of having to shift the seat forwards rather than automatically push it back to its extremes as I would normally have to do, even in larger cars.
I am a little uncomfortable about the seating height. I feel very high up and not necessarily in a comfortable way.
There is not enough adjustment for the seat to go lower. I also found the backrest adjustment sits behind the seatbelt attachment in the floor and it is hard to adjust without nipping fingers and rubbing knuckles.
The rear-seat passengers will feel comfortable, though, with the legroom. This is a five-seater in more than name.
However, I’m not convinced about the claims made about storage space. Sure there are cubby holes in the front, zip up pockets on the back of the front seats for passengers which are great for short trips, say between offices, but for longer-haul journeys the boot is inadequate. It’s narrow and great if you need vertical space, but even a normal large suitcase would not fit in comfortably.
The sliding rear seat provides more space, but isn’t much comfort for your passengers.
The removable rear panel – also known as Flexi-board – that reveals an extra bit of space is little compensation. I’d be inclined to use it as somewhere to stash valuables (laptops, briefcases) for which it is ideally suited, rather than pretend it’s additional storage space in the traditional sense.
It’s important to stress, though, that with the rear seats down you have 1,663 litres of luggage space more than competitors like the Renault Modus and Vauxhall Meriva.
To drive, the Note is more fun than you might first think with the smallest engine in the range, the 1.4 petrol, 87bhp and 94lb-ft torque. Don’t let the glacial crawl 0-62mph time of 13.1 seconds put you off. On busy urban streets, it’s a pleasure – steering is light and responsive and there are plenty of guts in the little engine. And the mpg rate is admirable, whether you look at our figures or the manufacturer’s.
I wouldn’t recommend the 1.4 for one of your high-mileage drivers. For a start, its tank is small at 44 litres. Previous tester Adele Burton noticed more frequent fuel stops. And on long motorway journeys, the engine sounds like it’s struggling between 60 and 70mph.
Price: £11,240 (as tested £11,615)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 150
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £29 per month
Combined mpg: 44.8
Test mpg: 41.3
CAP Monitor RV: £3,750/34%
Contract hire rate £259
Expenditure to date: Nil