On the inside, the Nissan Note sets the right tone with a well-assembled interior, the harmony only spoiled by the great swathes of black, hard plastic. But although the switchgear operates smoothly and with decent feel, there’s little to surprise and delight. A wider bandwidth of materials and textures would certainly make for a warmer and less austere ambience.
There’s little wrong with the Note’s driving position, however, even though the steering wheel adjusts for rake alone. The driver’s seat gets a folding centre-side armrest, ratchet height adjustment and a rotary knob to adjust the backrest – welcome touches that give a clue to the fact that the Note was designed and engineered in the UK rather than Japan.
The little Nissan scores highly on practicality, too, with a 280-litre, flat-floored boot that can accommodate more than 1300 litres of luggage at its maximum. The floor is false, and there are two easily reversible, removable sections, with carpet topside and wipe-clean plastic on the underside. They’re good quality, and you wouldn’t hesitate in landing a heavy load on them. There’s more storage space underneath, and the rear seatback splits 60/40 and folds at the nudge of a lever. That leaves a quite high, flat floor because the seat squabs don’t fold. Those back seats do slide back and forth however and, in the rearmost position, give bags of rear legroom; thank a sizable 2600mm wheelbase for that one. The front passenger seat also folds to allow loads of up to 2.4m long to be threaded through.
There are plenty of useful cubbies, too. The door pockets are relatively small, but there’s a glovebox and large map pocket in the dash, as well as a couple of front cupholders, supplemented by trays and seat pockets for rear passengers.
Safety and convenience equipment is also generous – provided you don’t go for the cheapest specification. Mid-spec cars offer six airbags, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Entry-graders only get four airbags and manual rear windows, and don’t get Bluetooth, air con, a USB jack or underfloor storage in the boot.