With the latest breed of superminis offering plenty of added space for not much extra cash, the Nissan Note needs to offer something special to grab buyers’ attention. And its spaciousness, comfort and cabin versatility ensure that it just about does that, while distinguishing dynamic performance, wrapped in an appealingly compact overall package, seals the deal.
And yet, while it’s not the most square, utilitarian-looking ‘monobox’ in the class, the Nissan’s shortage of visual charisma and charm is regrettable. Other cars in the class make this one look bland: they woo buyers with a more instantly appealing warmth of character, and by doing so, carve out a niche for themselves with greater authority. The gap between superminis and small family hatches is now narrower than ever, after all – and those looking to maximise passenger and cargo space while minimizing financial outlay will find more sheer space elsewhere, as well as a more disarming sense of fun.
But accepting all of that, in the tiny sliver of daylight that remains, there is room for the Note. Although its entry-level specification is less than generous, the Nissan is well-priced, well-packaged, seems robust and well-built, and appeals in a slowly percolating but lasting, sensible fashion. Some might call it boring, but one or two of the detractors may be won over by the rounded maturity of its handling and ride, the refinement of its cabin, the versatility of its seating or the efficiency of its engines. Because, although the Note’s light is definitely hidden under a bushel, there’s plenty to like here.