In-depth reviews

Nissan Note review

Although the Nissan Note isn’t the most youthful supermini-MPV on the market, it still offers practicality, style and value

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Practical cabin, sharp handling, good visibility
  • Cheap materials, poor kit on basic models

The Nissan Note first arrived in 2006 and changed the game in the supermini-MPV class. Since it was introduced, manufacturers all over the world have copied the format, reaping sales from a previously unknown niche. The baby Nissan offers a greater degree of practicality over a basic hatchback, but manages to be just as easy to drive, both in and out of town. Bold styling, a practical load area and buckets of innovative touches make the Note an attractive buy.

Our choice: Note 1.5 dCi n-tec+

Engines, performance and drive

Given the purpose of the Nissan Note, it's actually a joy to drive. In town it is easy to park, thanks to light steering and bulging headlamps that indicate exactly where each corner lies. On the open road the feedback through the wheel has a bit more weight, and the car feels reassuring at motorway speeds. The Note first appeared in 2006, and aside from a light facelift in 2010, it remains largely the same car today – which is pleasantly surprising when you consider how capable it is next to newer rivals like the Kia Venga and Toyota Verso S.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Compact dimensions and lightweight materials help the Nissan Note when it comes to efficiency and running costs. It's a full 200kg lighter than the Kia Venga, meaning the like-for-like diesel motor manages almost 5mpg more than the Korean – 67.3mpg for the Note vs 62.8mpg for the Venga. This is especially impressive when you consider it is quicker from 0-62mph and cheaper to buy in the first place. However, the Kia does come with a seven-year warranty, compared to the Nissan’s three. This is particularly painful when you realise to get basic kit like air-conditioning you’ll need to upgrade to a mid-spec model.

Interior, design and technology

For a supermini-MPV the Nissan Note stands out from the crowd with bold styling and high levels of standard kit. The Nissan is well proportioned and does well to disguise its van-like shape with body coloured bumpers and a set of boomerang rear light clusters. Mid and top spec models are well equipped – the flagship n-tec+ model gets 16-inch, two-tone alloy wheels, chrome foglight surrounds and body coloured mirrors. Inside the dash is simple but well designed, but is let down slightly by the over-use of hard plastics, which can make the Note feel cheap in places.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

The Nissan Note excels when it comes to practicality. In the boot there is plenty of removable storage, including a false boot floor, meaning you can transport fragile items without fear of them being crushed by heavy shopping bags. And although the boot is smaller than in rivals, offering just 280 litres compared to the Vauxhall Meriva’s 397 litres, it is a useful shape and the rear seats fold flat with very little effort whatsoever. Up front, the cabin is positively cavernous, with cubbyholes dotted around the dash. The glovebox is huge, and the door bins are generous, too. Thanks to the van-like proportions, the Note is also extremely easy to drive – it has a large glass area, which makes visibility great and parking a doddle.

Reliability and Safety

Disappointingly, electronic stability control isn’t even an option on the Note until you get to the mid-spec cars, which feels a bit stingy when you consider it’s standard on the Toyota Verso S and Kia Venga ranges. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, but the Note only scored a four-star crash test rating in its 2006 Euro NCAP test - new cars such as the Kia Venga and Vauxhall Meriva scored five-stars in an even tougher test. The Note placed a respectable 45th in the 2012 Driver Power survey, proving drivers are largely satisfied with the ownership experience.

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review
Mercedes C-Class - front
Mercedes C-Class

New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review

The new Mercedes C-Class compact exec gets S-Class-inspired tech and new suspension to challenge the BMW 3 Series
21 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space
Peugeot 308 SW - front
News

New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space

The Peugeot 308 SW joins the hatchback in the range and arrives with two plug-in hybrid options
22 Jun 2021
New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech
Dacia Duster facelift - front
Dacia Duster

New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech

The budget-conscious Dacia Duster has been updated for 2021 with some subtle design tweaks and a new eight-inch infotainment screen
22 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’
opinion: charging
Opinion

‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’

Andy Palmer sees electric car uptake revving-up in the UK but says targeted investment is needed to prevent a stall…
22 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - front
Volvo XC40

New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950

Volvo has revised the electric XC40’s pricing and trim-level structure, with a simplified three-tier system
22 Jun 2021