Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review

Published:26 July 2006

Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 2 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

What is this? It looks like a supermini with elephantiasis.

Its the Nissan Note, the production version of last year's Geneva show concept car, the Tone. Together with the Qashqai softroader and the crushingly dull-looking Tiida which arrive this time next year, it effectively replaces the Almera and Tino.

A segment buster then. Who's going to buy it?

It's aimed at parents on a tight budget who want something big enough to swallow the kids (and all that goes with them) without emptying their wallet.

So it's worthy but dull?

Given the head-turning coolness of recent Nissan designs, the Note is visually disappointing, both inside and out. But some perspective here - it's an absolute sex god compared to the Almera. There are some neat touches, like those boomerang rear lights, Murano-lite nose and blistered headlamps that make parking a doddle. The cabin is a bit plain, but it's solidly made and well equipped.

And I'll bet the seats are more malleable than a Russian gymnast.

The cabin is huge, with loads of usable space. You can get four six-footers lounging in there with ease, helped by the rear bench that slides back and forth to boost leg- or luggage room by 160mm. The rear seatbacks also flip forward to create a vast, flat load bay for B&Qers. But the cabin is let down by some niggles. The numerous differently textured plastics are hard to the touch, the dash design is no award winner, and the many oddments bins - which include a huge air con-cooled glovebox - are all unlined so that your clutter rattles like a skeleton in a filing cabinet.

But is it any good to drive?

Yes. It's made in Sunderland, and its ride and handling have been tuned on UK roads. So, firmish low-speed ride aside, it feels taut and rides with a well-damped compliance. The steering is light and direct and the front end turns in keenly.

And has it got the mechanical guts to make the most of a decent chassis?

Unfortunately, the engines are the weak link. The 1.6-litre petrol pulls keenly and feels responsive, but it's thrashy higher up the rev range, and that's where you spend most of the time because of the short gearing. The clattery 1.5-litre turbodiesel also needs either taller overall gearing or a sixth gear. It's a bit buzzy on the motorway.

Verdict

It ticks the family box nicely, and excellent versatility and packaging make up for its dynamic pitfalls. It won't win any design awards but the Nissan is a likeable and easygoing car that delivers the kind of real-world motoring benefits - affordability, versatility and reliability - that cash-conscious buyers want.

Specs

Price when new: £12,140
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1598cc 16V four, 109bhp@6000rpm, 113lb ft@4400rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 10.7sec 0-62mph, 114mph, 42.8mpg, 159g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1240kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4083/1691/1550

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  • Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review
  • Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review
  • Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review
  • Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review
  • Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review
  • Nissan Note 1.6i (2006) review

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

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