The Note’s market segment is now mature enough to contain entrants of various sizes and types, among them budget-brand newbies and second-generation, fully mature sophisticates. The Nissan sits right in the middle of the crowd. It’s neither brimming with standard equipment and obvious value-for-money, nor suffused with the kind of space, quality, style or premium brand appeal that customers would be expected to pay that bit extra for.
The cheapest Note undercuts most entry-level MPVs, some by as much as £2000, but it’s not as generously equipped as budget brand options at a similar price. Air conditioning and ESP don’t feature on the basic Nissan, for example: the Kia Venga offers both as standard.
Move higher up the Note range, however, and the value for money quota improves. A mid-spec 1.6 comes with cruise control, ESP, electric windows all round, heated mirrors, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth and body coloured mouldings; a Skoda Roomster at the same equipment level and power output will cost you about 12 percent more though, admittedly, it is a bigger car.
Ownership costs are competitive. The 110g/km diesel Note qualifies for a £20-a-year tax disc – although rivals are slightly cheaper to insure.
Our 1.4-litre test car returned 49mpg on our touring economy route, which is better than many petrol-engined cars of its type. Its 35.8mpg average return is a little underwhelming, but the touring result suggests that anyone willing to drive with conservatism can expect to do almost as well as Nissan’s 53.3mpg extra-urban economy claim suggests. Even getting 49 to the gallon, you could expect to put 465 miles between visits to the pump, which is a very commendable cruising range for a car of this type.