Used Nissan Note (2013 - 2017) Comfort

Review by Graeme Lambert on
Last Updated: 08 Jun 2015
3.5
The Nissan Note has been a popular family car since its introduction in 2006 but this new model with low CO2 emissions and more safety systems could be an even bigger hit with the UK car-buying public. Manufactured in Sunderland, this five-door hatchback is based on Nissan's small car, the Micra.

3.5 out of 5

Comfort

Handling may not be a priority for this car but traditionally Nissan Note comfort has come far up the wish list for prospective buyers – and it’s no different for the latest version. The good news is, overall the new Note is actually pretty good in this department.

Over some rough roads, where the firm’s Micra model felt positively painful in the way it struggled to deal with potholes and surface imperfections, the Note soaked up most that was thrown under its axles without complaint. At higher speeds the dampers did struggle to contain the cars movement as quickly as we’d have liked, but it’s far better than previous models.

The same could be said for the engine, and refinement – we found the 1.2-litre supercharged petrol far noisier in the Micra than the Note, while the 1.5-litre diesel was refined right round to 3,500rpm, it only becoming intrusively noisy beyond that.

That said we just didn’t find the seats very comfortable – they look interesting enough, especially when finished with leather bolsters, but without lumbar support our lower back suffered quickly and at speed an extra slice of side support would have been welcome.

However there’s no complaining about comfort for rear passengers; sliding the seats rearwards allows passengers to enjoy legroom that is greater than a BMW 7 Series. And even though the rear bench is raised 23mm the Note’s tall roofline ensures there’s plenty of headroom too.

4.5 out of 5

Practicality

Something of a raison d’etre for this car, Nissan Note practicality is key to its appeal. So while it’s not as much fun to drive as the Ford Fiesta Nissan are directly targeting with this car, it is far more practical.

And this is especially apparent in the rear where the sliding seat bench means buyers can liberate more legroom than a Ford Mondeo, and more crucially a BMW 7 Series. And with that tall roofline, which reminds us more of a small MPV than a regular family supermini, there’s an abundance of headroom too.

That means adults can stretch out behind other adults.

It also means that boot space shrinks though, from 295-litres to 325-litres. Still there’s a handy 30-litre storage area under the bootfloor, which is itself adjustable for height, perfect for keeping under-used but mainstay items in place. And maximising this car’s carrying capacity by folding the rear seats flat offers a van-like 2,012-litres of loadspace to take advantage of.

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How does the boot space compare?

440 litres
Nissan Note (13-17)
411 litres
300 litres
290 litres
3.5 out of 5

Behind the wheel

It’s disappointing in this day and age to find that a car only offers rake adjustment for the steering wheel, and instantly the Nissan Note is left on the back-foot because of it. The seat does offer height adjustment, but there’s no lumbar support and the centre armrest (driver only; the passenger makes do without one) won’t be suited to everyone.

You soon adjust yourself to the position though, and a look around the rest of the cabin improves the mood a little.

Certainly the new Note has a more interesting cabin than the one that came before it, the gloss black centre console adding a feeling of quality that’s much needed. Of course further examination of the rest of the plastics coating the dashboard and doors yield less excitement, and there’s not one ounce of soft-touch material to be found.

Still the climate controls, available on the Acenta trim with Auto pack, are easy to use with intuitively laid out controls. All the buttons are on the large side and ‘very clearly labelled’, though this may have something to do with the car’s target average age range.

The main instruments are also easy to read; clearly laid out and without too much styling frippery to snatch your attention away from the crucial details. That is until you turn on the ECO mode, which illuminates the area above the speedometer. LED lamps on its crest illuminate in green should you be pressing only gently on the accelerator, and a digital display within indicates when to lift off.

The bank of switches to the left of the multi-function steering wheel, housing the mirror controls, start stop, ESP button and information page controls is a design and ergonomic nightmare though, and you need to reach round the plastic steering wheel rim to get to some of them. It’s clear the design of the individual switchgear looks dated too.