The new Nissan Note occupies a segment that's tough to love: that of the supermini-size MPV.

As packed with cost-effective worthiness as they may be, most inflated superminis inspire a level of must-have desire roughly equivalent to that of a built-up shoe.

By seeking to do an unglamorous job in the most inoffensive way possible, most disappear under the car-fancier radar and get hoovered up by mature buyers who sensibly value decent ingress and egress more than a raked B-pillar.

This self-limiting fact has clearly not passed Nissan by. The previous Note was typical of the breed, and although it found a grateful audience (not to mention a four-star road test grade), it was too tall and boxy to effectively battle the cutely turned – and massive-selling – Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio.

The new model, underpinned by an entirely new platform and cleverer engines, seeks to redress that balance. As before, the Note is built in Britain at Nissan's Sunderland factory. Its 'V' (for 'versatile') platform is shared not with the new Renault Clio, despite the Nissan/Renault alliance, but with the current Micra, albeit suitably enlarged in this instance.

It still claims highly competitive practicality but has adopted a much more typical supermini body that, Nissan hopes, will prove more palatable to a much wider pool of potential customers.

Top 5 Compact MPVs

  • The BMW 2-series Active Tourer goes up against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf SV and Ford C-Max

    BMW 2-series Active Tourer

    1
  • B-Max's unique construction means it doesn't need conventional B-pillars

    Ford B-Max

    2
  • It’s longer and more expensive, but does bigger mean better?

    Vauxhall Meriva

    3
  • Quirky Citroëns are back, but is square the new cool?

    Citroën C3 Picasso

    4
  • Ford Tourneo Connect
    The Tourneo Connect, left, is the five-seater; on the right is the Grand Tourneo Connect which is available with seven seats

    Ford Tourneo Connect

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    7 July 2015
    Honda's reborn HR-V crossover offers Qashqai-rivalling interior space and practicality, but this automatic version feels outpaced
  • Car review
    6 July 2015
    Ariel's third model takes the all-terrain car to another level. It's one of the best driving experiences we've ever had
  • First Drive
    3 July 2015
    Charming four-door city car gets Smart's new six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, in a bid to make the Forfour more versatile
  • First Drive
    2 July 2015
    First UK drive in the latest-generation MX-5 reveals an iconic roadster that's back to its best
  • First Drive
    2 July 2015
    Extra firepower and pared-down kerb weight conjure even greater brilliance from the Boxster's chassis. Pricey – but superb to drive