Nis­san Note buyer’s guide

We re­veal what to look for on used su­per­mini-mpv

Auto Express - - Contents - Richard Dredge

WHEN Nis­san teamed up with Re­nault to cre­ate the orig­i­nal Note and Modus/grand Modus re­spec­tively, only the Ja­panese car en­joyed sales suc­cess.

Neatly de­signed, bril­liantly prac­ti­cal and gen­er­ally re­li­able, the Mk1 Note was a de­cent small car that still makes a lot of sense to any­body on a bud­get look­ing for a cheap car with low run­ning costs.

So when the sec­ond ver­sion ar­rived, ex­pec­ta­tions were high, and we weren’t dis­ap­pointed. Look­ing more stylish and fea­tur­ing a raft of hi-tech kit, the Note Mk2 was a big ad­vance over the first car.

Now avail­able only as a used buy, does this Nis­san strike the right note?


THE sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Note hit UK roads in Oc­to­ber 2013 with ei­ther diesel or petrol en­gines. The for­mer was Nis­san’s 89bhp 1.5 dci unit, while the lat­ter was of­fered in 79bhp nat­u­rally as­pi­rated or 97bhp DIG-S (su­per­charged) guises. The DIG-S didn’t ar­rive un­til spring 2014, bring­ing with it the op­tion of a CVT au­to­matic gear­box, dubbed Xtronic.

The lim­ited-run Note N-TEC ap­peared in Fe­bru­ary 2015, based on the Acenta and fit­ted with Nis­san­con­nect, DAB, a touch­screen dis­play with in­te­grated nav and a re­vers­ing cam­era. At the same time, the ex­te­rior de­sign got a light re­fresh.

In July 2016 the lim­ited Black Edi­tion ar­rived; this was based on the Acenta.

Which one?

CON­SIDER only the DIG-S or dci en­gines; the 1.2 is too un­der­pow­ered un­less you never es­cape the city. The diesel en­gine is eco­nom­i­cal, but re­fine­ment is poor.

The en­try-level Note Visia comes with stop/start, elec­tric front win­dows, re­mote cen­tral lock­ing and cruise con­trol. Next up is the Acenta, which brings 15-inch al­loys (16 inches on DIG-S mod­els), air­con, Blue­tooth and a slid­ing rear bench seat. Acenta Pre­mium adds au­to­matic lights and wipers, plus cli­mate con­trol.

Range-top­ping Tekna spec has 16-inch rims, part-leather seats and key­less go. All DIG-S cars have a sportier steer­ing and sus­pen­sion set-up. The Around View Mon­i­tor, a 360-de­gree cam­era, is worth hav­ing; it was op­tional on the Acenta Pre­mium and stan­dard on the Tekna.


THE Note’s clos­est ri­vals in­clude the Kia Venga, Hyundai ix20 and Vaux­hall Meriva, with the lat­ter be­ing the eas­i­est to find. Only con­sider the Mk2 Meriva (launched in 2010) with its rear-hinged back doors; it’s spa­cious, ver­sa­tile and gen­er­ally well equipped. Used prices are keen.

The Venga and ix20 are closely re­lated, but both are easy to rec­om­mend

if rather unex­cit­ing choices, be­cause they come with long war­ranties, so you can ex­pect de­cent re­li­a­bil­ity.

Don’t over­look the Honda Jazz, ei­ther; this car of­fers un­ri­valled space and ver­sa­til­ity in the su­per­mini seg­ment, along with class-lead­ing re­li­a­bil­ity – plus it’s avail­able in hy­brid form.


THE sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Nis­san Note wasn’t a game-changer, al­though it did in­tro­duce a se­ries of safety fea­tures to the seg­ment. It’s neatly de­signed and, as long as you avoid en­try-level cars, equip­ment lev­els are gen­er­ous. The Note is pop­u­lar mainly with pri­vate and Mota­bil­ity buy­ers, so there are lots of low-mileage ex­am­ples around.

Read the owner reviews on our sis­ter web­site Car­buyer and you’ll see some peo­ple re­gret buy­ing a spe­cific de­riv­a­tive due to en­gine or gear­box char­ac­ter­is­tics. So while we can rec­om­mend the Note, it’s very im­por­tant that you buy the right spec for your needs to en­sure you’re not to be dis­ap­pointed with the Nis­san.

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