While the funky Juke has stolen all the headlines, the Nissan Note supermini-MPV has soldiered on, providing a no-nonsense alternative for buyers wanting practicality in a user-friendly package. Now there’s an all-new Note, and Nissan claims it’s targeting big-hitting superminis such as the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio – and we tried it on British roads for the first time.
The new model has a more restrained look than before, and the distinctive boomerang tail-lights and squared-off rear end of the old car are replaced by a rounded rear. Inside you get a distinctive centre console and shiny black plastics, while the rear bench slides and there’s a false boot floor that slots cleverly into place. Overall quality is good, while cabin space is excellent for the class.
Depending on what model you go for, big-car safety kit such as lane departure warning and blind spot detection is available, while tech includes Nissan’s tried-and-tested sat-nav and a USB connection hidden in the glovebox that allows you to hook up your MP3 player to the stereo.
Our car came with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol, and while the smallest engine in the range makes a modest 79bhp, short ratios mean it feels nippy in town and only really feels underpowered at motorway speeds. What’s more, there’s an Eco button that illuminates the instrument binnacle in blue, with the lights changing in brightness according to your throttle input.
Soft suspension and small 15-inch alloy wheels mean the Nissan is comfortable on all but the roughest of surfaces, although the ride can feel a little floaty at higher speeds. Still, in corners the chassis feels responsive and the light steering means the Note is easy to manoeuvre when parking. Another bonus is Nissan’s surround view system, which uses four cameras to show the car’s surroundings when parking, and is offered instead of parking sensors.