Nissan Note 1.5 dCi

n-TEc+

Nissan Note 2011

WHILE most car makers put together some extremely desirable models the finished product does not always satisfy potential buyers watching and waiting in the wings.

However, the latest Nissan Note is something of an exception to the rule in terms of practicality, value and style.

While the Note may have been most certainly a million miles away from being the most youthful supermini/MPV on the market, this particular Nissan has ticked all the boxes.

The Nissan Note arrived in the spring of 2006 and began changing the face of this particular family car genre. Manufacturers worldwide quickly jumped on the Note bandwagon.

Both car makers and buyers swiftly recognised the greater degree of practicality and thoughtfulness which had been introduced into the Note to set it aside from your standard issue hatchback.

Standing out from the crowd, the Nissan is well proportioned and camouflages its more van-like set-up with body coloured bumpers and a set of smart looking rear light clusters.

The inside finish is one of decent quality within a cabin which is well finished with a two-tier dashboard which presents its row of switches in logical fashion, a further quality to add to its entertaining performance.

As a new year approaches the Note has been provided with some new acoutrements and the new Note N-tec+ 1.5 dCi includes two-tone 16-inch alloys, body coloured trim, new seat fabrics, climate control, automatic headlights, cruise control, electric windows all round, climate control air con and rain sensitive wipers in its manifest.

Also included in the mix is Nissan's Connect touch screen sat nav, communication and entertainment system along with rear parking sensors, privacy glass, six-speaker sound system with steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, USB and MP3 connections while a large glass area makes overall visibility good and parking up an agreeable exercise.

Following a makeover in 2010, the Note has retained its softer touch materials in an interior which is perhaps more functional than daring in its design.

But, the Note is a hugely practical car. Split folding and sliding rear seats providing estate car-like carrying capacity when folded and plenty of legroom for the tallest of passengers when not.

Boot space, too, follows the purely practical route, a false floor with fold up "flexi-board" panels makes for east partitioning for the weekly shop or a visit to your local garden centre.

It's a good move although overall the bootroom at 280 litres with all seats taken is perhaps more shopper than long haul carrier.

On the road the Nissan Note delivers a pretty enjoyable drive. A highly responsive low rev level helped by a precise five-speed manual gearshift makes for easy progress while Nissan's official economy figure of a little over 67mpg is set fair to help keep running costs well up in the user-friendly stakes.

Very much a family model the Note takes a conservative 12.8 seconds to do the 62mph "dash. Neatly in control in and around town and well composed over the longer run the diesel proved much quieter than some.

The well set up suspension system mixes ride comfort and control in equal measure while the nicely weighted power steering has a natural feel.

Over the past six years the Note has proved a very well received family model and even though its days are now perhaps approaching the final countdown, it remains a very capable all rounder.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Note 1.5 dCi n-TEc+

Price: £14,750

Mechanical: 86bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 104mph

0-62mph: 12.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 67.3

Insurance Group: 6

C02 emissions: 110g/km

Bik rating: 13%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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