Nissan Note review
Nissan is back with a new Note, which it claims brings 'big car technology'.
Dave Humphreys
Dave Humphreys

Published on July 11, 2013

Overall rating: 3/5

Nissan has always had a pretty solid reputation for building good, small cars making it a household name in Ireland. Although the name may be the same, the all-new Note is hoped to fill the gap between the small Micra and hugely successful Juke crossover.

In the metal 4/5

It would be a fair criticism to have described the previous generation of Nissan's Note as slightly dull to look at, but be that as it may, it still managed to hit the mark with consumers. For this new Note Nissan has drawn styling cues from some of its more interesting models - especially the Juke - to create a car that has some sharp styling features without going overboard.

An all-new front-end design bears resemblance to the electric Nissan Leaf, while the high roofline allows for easy access in and out of the cabin. The rear doors open to almost 90 degrees too, which will be a huge help to parents putting small children into child seats in either of the two ISOFIX points. The overall silhouette remains reminiscent of the previous generation, but there is no chance of mistaking this for the old model. The rear lights have a three-dimensional design to them that is similar to that seen on the Juke and 370Z, but overall the details on this new Note are tamed down in comparison to its crossover sibling.

The interior has received a makeover and the centre console now has a well laid out appearance that makes all the usual controls easy to find and manage. The only real downside to the cabin is the finish of the plastics used, which, despite being well put together, do give the impression that Nissan could have used materials that felt of higher quality.

Driving it 3/5

Like most cars in this segment, the real emphasis is on practicality, comfort and economy rather than out-and-out driving dynamics. Taking this into account, the new Note does perform reasonably well. Most Irish buyers are likely to opt for the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, although the 1.2-litre supercharged petrol engine does fall into the same tax bracket.

In town driving the 1.5-litre engine does little to hide the fact that it is a diesel, but once out on the open road it performs well, offering adequate levels of performance and returning some quite respectable fuel economy figures. This is partly down to some subtle but clever aerodynamic touches such as a windscreen that helps airflow and wiper blades that are housed below the bonnet line to keep them out of the way. Overall, the on-road driving performance has been improved, the main areas being ride comfort and reductions in road noise.

What you get for your money 3/5

Nissan will be offering the Note in three different trim levels, much like the rest of its range, XE, SV and SVE - with the latter expected to only account for around 10 per cent of overall sales. The big talking point on the new Note is what Nissan calls the Safety Shield, which uses the self-cleaning parking cameras along with other sensors to provide the driver with blind spot monitoring and moving object detection, as well as lane departure warning to make up one of the most complete safety systems available to order on a car in this class. We don't expect it to be standard however. Irish pricing is yet to be confirmed.

Worth Noting

For buyers who wish to express their sportier side, Nissan will also be offering a Body Pack, which consists of enhanced front and rear bumpers, side sill covers, a back door moulding and a roof spoiler. Other packs available to order include a Family Pack featuring a rear armrest, picnic tables for rear occupants and privacy glass.


Even with this improved new Note, Nissan will still face some stiff competition. What will help are the fresher looks and good value offered by the different trim levels that should keep the majority of buyers satisfied. The Note may not have the most advanced levels of engineering or the cutest of looks, but it'll appeal to those that need a dependable addition to the family.


Tech Specs

Model testedNissan Note SVE 1.5 dCi
Pricingto be confirmed
Engine1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmissionfront-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body stylefive-door hatchback
RivalsFord B-Max, Opel Meriva, Volkswagen Polo
CO2 emissions95g/km (Band A2, €180 per annum)
Combined economy78mpg (3.6 litres/100km)
Top speed201km/h
0-100km/h10.5 seconds
Power90hp at 4,000rpm
Torque200Nm at 1,750rpm