MO­TORS

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS -

NO, YOUR eyes do not de­ceive you. We’re start­ing the clock on this used test in 2009, fully three years af­ter the Note was first launched in the UK be­cause the model we’re look­ing at here is the up­dated car which was launched in mid 2009 and which in­cor­po­rated a suite of changes not only to the styling but also to equip­ment pro­vi­sion and also to the ef­fi­ciency of the pow­er­plants.

Re­vised gear ra­tios boosted fuel econ­omy and im­proved emis­sions of the 1.4 and 1.5dCi mod­els. Fur­ther in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments were vis­ited upon the car’s emis­sions for the 2011 model year petrol- en­gined Notes which be­came fully com­pli­ant with the Euro 5-emis­sions re­quire­ments.

The styling changes are the key clue-in that you’re look­ing at one of the facelifted cars. Look for a chrome strip run­ning along the bot­tom of the front grille be­neath the big Nis­san badge. The 3008 is cer­tainly an One in­ter­est­ing but use­less nugget of in­for­ma­tion is that this car was de­signed by Toy­ota - Taiji Toy­ota that is - one of Nis­san’s most tal­ented stylists.

On pa­per, this car is roughly equiv­a­lent in size to its im­me­di­ate ri­vals at just un­der four me­tres long, 1.53m high and 1.69m wide.

The facelifted model we’re look­ing at here got a 2009 pack­age of tweaks in­clud­ing a re­shaped bumper and bon­net, re­vised head­lights and a shiny black front grille.

At the back, com­pared to the orig­i­nal Note, the tail lights are darker and mod­els with park­ing sen­sors got them in­cor­po­rated more neatly into the bumper.

It’s on the in­side, how­ever, where own­ers of the orig­i­nal 2006 to 2009 Note model will no­tice the most sig­nif­i­cant changes. Af­ter that date, all mod­els got bet­ter-qual­ity, soft-touch in­te­rior plas­tic and mildly re­designed in­stru­ment graph­ics.

As be­fore, this Note is squared-off at the rear with the nat­u­ral roofline tak­ing an un­usual last­minute jerk up­wards to max­imise cargo ca­pac­ity in the back. There really is very lit­tle to re­port here.

The Note is a very re­li­able car and runs on mainly tried and tested me­chan­i­cals. Try and imag­ine a GTi hot hatch version of the Note. You can’t can you? And that’s just the point.

Giv­ing a car like this a pow­er­ful en­gine or stiff sus­pen­sion would be as point­less as giv­ing a fish legs. It’s not what it’s about.

Still, the Note al­ways feels highly nim­ble on the road with ride firm enough to re­sist roll and steer­ing that’s light but ac­cu­rate.

It’s per­fect for buzzing through the city streets and it in­spires con­fi­dence thanks to good all-round vis­i­bil­ity and a tight turn­ing cir­cle.

If you really value syrupy, sup­ple sus­pen­sion, one of the Note’s ri­vals may be a bet­ter op­tion but oth­er­wise, this Nis­san should suit its in­tended buy­ers pretty well.

Three main en­gine choices are of­fered, all shared with the model that at launch was this car’s arch-ri­val, the Re­nault Modus.

Low mileage buy­ers will choose be­tween a 87bhp 1.4-litre and 108bhp 1.6-litre pow­er­plants, but those who might want to take their Notes fur­ther afield may want to con­sider the im­proved diesel en­gine, a 1.5-litre dCi com­mon rail unit bor­rowed from the Mi­cra range with 85bhp. There’s so much that can go wrong with buy­ing a used car that many peo­ple are com­pletely de­terred. The Nis­san Note re­li­a­bil­ity and sheer prac­ti­cal­ity means that it’s a car that you can buy used with­out too much worry.

They’re usu­ally owned by ma­ture or fam­ily buy­ers who have the cars dili­gently ser­viced.

Just as long as you don’t chance upon one that’s been rav­aged by un­ruly kids or pets, you shouldn’t go far wrong.

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