2013 Nissan Note 1.2 review

27 Sep, 2013 3:30pm Dean Gibson

We review updated Nissan Note on UK roads for the first time


The new Nissan Note takes the clever interior of its predecessor and adds more hi-tech gadgets and user-friendly touches. Opting for the small 1.2 petrol is no hardship if most of your driving is done in town, while a generous kit list and competitive pricing mean the Note is a serious contender for supermini honours. If only it was a bit more inspiring to look at and drive.

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.

Nissan Juke review

Disqus - noscript

I'm not so sure about the interior. While the steering is okay the round dials or only so-so. But the new Note does look better outside than the nerdy albeit practical outgoing model.
Could Autoexpress shed light on how the petrol unit fared in their MPG test. Another publication reported a very impressive 62mpg from the Renault-sourced 1.5L diesel engine.

Can't say I adore the exterior, which is now just another me-too wallowy blobmobile.

A pity Nissan didn't just sharpen up the neatish lines of the old model - the interior was first-rate, and far more useful than the bigger Qashqai.

Mind you, I could say similar things of the new-gen Honda Civic's exterior - so it's not just Honda that specialises in uglifying its cars.

Nissan seems to insist on using this radial control business on the interiors and it's just not working.

Key specs

  • Price: £14,150
  • Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl, 79bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph: 13.7 seconds
  • Top speed: 104mph
  • Econ/CO2: 60.1mpg/109g/km
  • Equipment: Six airbags, sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers, tyre pressure monitors, climate cruise control, Bluetooth
  • On sale: Now