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 Family hatchbacks

  • Seventh generation Volkswagen Golf
    More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • The popular Ford Focus in 1.5 TDCi Zetec form
    The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon
    Seat offers five engines for the Leon, ranging from a 104bhp 1.2 petrol to a 181bhp 2.0 diesel

    Seat Leon

    3
  • Mazda 3
    The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

    Mazda 3

    4
  • Peugeot 308
    The 308 marks the first time a carry-over name has been applied to an all-new Peugeot

    Peugeot 308

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet
    First Drive
    6 May 2016
    Better than ever, in terms of its handling and the characteristically ballistic performance, and with little compromise for the soft-top
  • Car review
    6 May 2016
    Toyota claims another first: Europe’s first ‘ownable’ hydrogen car
  • First Drive
    6 May 2016
    The Rolls-Royce Dawn is back in the UK after its South African debut. Our second look doesn't disappoint
  • 2016 Fiat Tipo Lounge 1.4 T-Jet
    First Drive
    5 May 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers a Focus-sized car for little more than Fiesta money. We try the turbocharged petrol version in and around Turin
  • First Drive
    5 May 2016
    Peugeot has facelifted its small SUV 2008 for 2016, changing its looks and adding this Puretech 130 GT Line model. We've driven it abroad