I’VE been playing the test car equivalent of musical chairs recently, jumping from supermini, to luxury car, off-roader and even a van.
But in all my travels, I still haven’t lost the soft spot I have for the Nissan Note.
As you will recall from previous testers it is not without its faults, with Jeremy Bennett highlighting some of its shortcomings in his last report.
Although he pointed out concerns with the balance between rear legroom and boot space, seat height and the 1.4-litre engine’s performance on the motorway, I still can’t shake my admiration for this car.
Maybe it’s my age, but the light steering and controls take all the strain from driving. Perhaps such blandness is equivalent to preferring Pinot Grigio to something more exotic, but that’s what I want from a city car. The engine is revvy and strong enough around town, too – its natural habitat.
You get used to its buzzy nature at motorway speeds, especially when you realise that its fuel economy can easily hit 45mpg.
And in last week’s road test against the Skoda Roomster, Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Meriva it performed very well.
It was second only to the Berlingo on price, had the lowest emissions and tax (3% lower than the next nearest car, the Roomster), lowest fuel costs, lowest depreciation cost and the lowest wholelife costs (£500 cheaper than its nearest rival over three years/60,000 miles).
But the packaging issue can’t be ignored and it finally lost out to the Roomster.
In the real world, how you use the car will define your choices.
I haven’t needed to carry three people in the back plus luggage yet, but I have managed to put two adults in the rear, one of them more than six feet tall, with all their bags in the boot and they still had plenty of knee room thanks to the sliding rear seat bench which can create either more rear room or increase boot space.
The boot, even at its smallest size, does its job well and has held everything from a pram to a week’s shopping.
And for the money, I think it’s pretty stylish too, managing to hide its city/MPV shape under neat lines and eye-catching front and rear lights.
But, like most car choices, the Note isn’t perfect, falling just short in a few key areas.
But in my opinion, its strong performance in most areas outweighs the niggles that hamper it elsewhere.
Then again, I like Pinot Grigio.
Price: £11,240 (£11,615 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 150
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £29 per month
Combined mpg: 44.8
Test mpg: 43.8
CAP Monitor RV: £3,750/34%
Contract hire rate : £259
Expenditure to date: Nil