Nissan is keen to emphasise that its new Note isn’t a boxy people carrier like the old model.
It’s gunning for the Ford Fiesta and does not want to be associated with the letters ‘M’, ‘P’ or ‘V’ (we’ll ignore the 640mm of rear legroom then, not to mention the picnic tables in the rear).
This is primarily down to the poor reception of the latest Micra prompting Nissan to revise its strategy in the small car segment.
With a range of technology available, Nissan is hoping to tempt younger buyers.
This includes an around view monitor – first seen on the Qashqai – which displays a bird’s eye view image of the car with everything that’s going on around it, meaning that drivers can thread the Note into tight city centre parking spaces with ease.
Other safety features include an alert that sounds if it thinks you’re changing lane unintentionally and a blind spot warning signal in the mirrors.
When the first deliveries take place in October, the Note will be available with three engines: an 80bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol, a 98bhp 1.2-litre supercharged DIG-S unit and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel that produces 90bhp.
Prices start at £11,900 for the base spec Visia which isn’t available with the DIG-S unit, meaning most will go for the mid-range Acenta.
The Acenta DIG-S we tested costs £14,250 (£15,250 with the CVT gearbox) and comes with 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, as well as air conditioning and a sliding rear seat.
The DIG-S makes a lot of noise but lacks power and feels strained at motorway speeds.
It’s best to stay away from the button marked Eco, which cuts power and makes overtaking manouvres slow in the name of fuel efficiency.
Around town it’s perfectly willing, if a little noisy.
The figures are good though, with a combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions creeping under the 100g/km benchmark at 99g/km, but Nissan expects the naturally-aspirated unit (with its 60.1mpg and 109g/km of CO2) to be more popular within the corporate sector.
Fleets that prioritise low CO2 will go for the diesel, which starts at £14,550 for the base-spec Visia.
It produces 95g/km of CO2 and, although you do have to work the slick gearbox hard on hills or to get it up to speed, once there it’s a comfortable cruiser and around town it feels eager.
It’s clearly geared towards efficiency but for most users the performance is more than adequate, and it has combined fuel consumption of 78.5mpg.
The Note’s large dimensions means the inside feels light and airy, and the driving position is comfortable.
If practicality is high up on your agenda then the Note should be considered.
By Andrew Brady