Nissan doesn’t really do ‘regular’ cars any more. Micra aside, its lineup instead focuses on niche vehicles, like the Juke and Qashqai crossovers.
It seems to be working, as both are selling in great numbers. The old Nissan Note, a more spacious take on the supermini theme, was always popular too, and now there’s a new version heading our way.
Nissan will launch the new Note at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March, and it comes bundled with all manner of clever technologies. But what do you really need to know about the voluminous new supermini?
1) Music to your… eyes?
The old Note never looked too bad, with funky rear lights that climbed from bootlid to roof, and some neat details inside and out. At the same time, its raised profile, easy-access interior and inoffensive demeanour made it perfect for young families and elderly drivers.
The new car isn’t as original as its forebear. It shares a similar silhouette and features the obligatory complicated metalwork of modern cars. It’s not unattractive, but it breaks no new ground – the rear end in particular looks like a toned-down Juke crossed with a Honda Jazz. But is it suitable for previous Note customers? Absolutely. Nissan already has the Juke to attract bright young things, so the Note can play a more familiar tune.
2) Clean ‘n’ green
Under the bonnet, the Note is less conventional than its styling suggests. Two new 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engines are offered, both of which return more than 60 mpg.
The first is a naturally-aspirated unit producing 80 PS and economy of 60.1 mpg, while CO2 emissions of 109 g/km mean lowly £20 per year road tax. Upgrade to the 1.2 DIG-S engine and you get 98 PS, courtesy of a supercharger. The innovative ‘Miller cycle’ engine mixes improved performance with excellent economy – 65.7 mpg.
A more familiar 1.5-litre diesel joins the two petrols, with 78.5 mpg economy and 90 PS at its disposal.
3) Symphony of technology
One of the Note’s highlights is a long technology roster. All models get stop-start, six airbags and cruise control with a speed limiter, while mid-spec Acenta models add air conditioning, Bluetooth, and rear electric windows.
Top-end Tekna models are incredibly well equipped. An Around View Monitor aids parking, by showing you all four sides of the car on a 5.8-inch dashboard screen. Nissan Connect is also standard, as is part-leather trim and keyless entry.
4) Nissan Safety Shield
Topping the technology list is Nissan Safety Shield, a collection of advanced safety systems, many of which are new to the class.
The Safety Shield incorporates Blind Spot Warning to alert drivers to vehicles in their blind spots, Lane Departure Warning, and Moving Object Detection (an audible warning should a child or pet walk behind the car out of your field of view). This feature also shows a 180-degree view behind the car thanks to the rear-view camera.
Impressively, the tiny camera even has its own cleaning system – squirting the camera with a jet of water and compressed air to clean and dry it!
5) Simple, practical
Like the exterior, the interior is all quite familiar visually, but practicality and quality have been Nissan’s main aims. A clear, informative dashboard display keeps drivers up to date, and also incorporates an eco meter to aid more frugal driving.
There are five seats, with a sliding rear bench as before, and a dual-height boot floor. It may be new, but the Note has lost none of the practicality of the previous model.
Priced from: Not yet announced
Available from: Autumn 2013
After Nissan previewed the new Note with the exciting Invitation concept launched at Geneva last year, the styling of the new model is a little disappointing – but its features and practicality are anything but. Like other Nissans, the Note has carved out a convenient niche for itself and should continue to sell in large numbers. We’ll bring you full pricing details when the model is officially launched.
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