Nissan are gearing up for a head-on collision, metaphorically speaking, with their biggest and toughest rivals, and they are confident of success.
The reason is simple. Their confidence is based on giving more - more space, more features, more technology - within a tight pricing structure.
Welcome to the latest Nissan Note. The range is not a revolution in terms of new shape and styling, but is a serious opponent for the biggies like the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and VW Polo in the small family car market because of the list of goodies on offer, plus other considerations like running costs and so on.
Cruise control, Bluetooth and Start/Stop ignition system are part of the much improved standard package (see list below). With the latter the engine turns off when the car comes to a halt to save energy and emissions, and then restarts when you disengage the clutch (manual).
The Note is available with petrol (1.2l, 80bhp and 98bhp) and diesel (1.5l dci 90bhp) engine options, plus three levels of trim, XE, SV and the highline SVE. Prices begin at 15,995 euro. The latter’s package includes an advanced monitor which gives a 360 degrees all round view of the car. This is an extension of the reversing camera driving aid and, to be honest, is a top class addition.
My test car also had sat nav, lane departure warning system and blind spot warning (an amber icon illuminates in the top right corner of the good size wing mirrors if another vehicle enters the area of detection),plus a consumption stretching Ecometer and Start/Stop system. You have to ask yourself, what more would you want?
We are in small family car territory, remember. You just couldn’t fault the package. And the 1.2-litre compact, lightweight engine is a lovely little performer, especially the energetic super charged version.
Much of the rest of the main story about the Note has to do with the provision of space, for passengers and their belongings. There is a commanding driving position. There is lots of knee and headroom all round. The rear seat slides forwards and backwards, depending on whether the demand for space is in the cabin or boot.
Note is not equipped with a regular spare wheel. Instead you have a ‘get you home’ repair kit which is accommodated in an additional space providing cubby hole under the floor of the boot. The Note is a neatly put together car that produces a drive that is friendly too all, including the environment.
Standard features - cruise control, Bluetooth, six airbags, central locking, 15” steel wheels, electric front windows and door mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring system, Ecometer and Start/Stop system.
Nissan Note 1.2-litre super charged petrol, 5-dr SVE 21,345 euro; 3-cylinder, 5-speed manual, 98bhp with 147Nm torque, C02 emissions 99g/km, 4.3l/km (combined cycle), annual road tax 180 euro.