The new Nissan Note has been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. It’ll be built at the Sunderland factory and is due on sale in the autumn – but the big news is that it’s no longer a supermini-MPV rival to the Honda Jazz, and is instead targeting regular superminis like the Ford Fiesta.
The new design was previewed by last year’s Invitation concept, and is softer and more stylish than the previous Note’s. The headlights now interlock with the grille, and there’s a U-shaped crease in the doors. This is called the ‘squash line,’ and is inspired by the flight of a squash ball travelling round a court.
Inside, the information displays on the dash encourage greener driving, while the sliding rear bench seat is carried over from the previous car, allowing owners to easily alter the amount of legroom or boot space.
Three specs will be available – Visia, Acenta and Tekna – and all cars get stop-start systems, six airbags and cruise control. The flagship Tekna also features Nissan’s new Safety Shield – a combination of a blind spot and lane-departure warning system.
Moving Object Detection is another new function that alerts the driver if an object or person moves into the path of the car when it’s reversing. Both new systems use a wide-view camera at the rear, rather than radar. To ensure they work in poor weather, the camera is self-cleaning and incorporates a water jet and blow-dryer.
The Safety Shield system is complemented by the Around View Monitor (AVM). This is already available on the bigger Nissan Qashqai, and uses four cameras to project a bird’s-eye view of the car on to a 5.8-inch dash screen, for easier parking. The kit is part of Nissan’s Connect sat-nav system, which also uses Google’s ‘Send to Car’ software – so routes planned at home can be transferred to the car.
The new Note is the same length and width as the current car, with an identical wheelbase, but is a little lower, and boot space is up from 280 to 300 litres.
It’s based on an enlarged version of the V platform used by the latest Nissan Micra, and features three engine choices. There’s a 79bhp 1.2-litre petrol that promises 60.1mpg economy and 109g/km emissions, plus a supercharged version of the same engine, with 97bhp, 65.7mpg and emitting 99g/km. The sole diesel option is a 1.5-litre that emits 95g/km of CO2 and returns 78.5mpg.
Who will buy the Note?
“The Micra is more feminine, the Juke more masculine. But Note customers will be equally split between male and female. They’ll also be ‘grown up’, so 40-plus, but interested in design and modern technology.”
Is the Note still a rival for the Honda Jazz?
“No. We’ve moved it away from mini-MPVs toward traditional superminis, so we’re talking Fiesta and Polo here.”
How about a hot Note Nismo version?
“It's not in the plan. But if we did, it would be a full, re-engineered package like the Juke Nismo.”
It was developed by Nissan Europe, but can we claim it as British?
“The Note is already out in Japan and the US, but the engineering for the demands of European customers took longer. And since the engineering was done in Cranfield [Bedfordshire], it was designed in Paddington [London] and is built in Sunderland, it’s not far off at all.”