Straddling the classes of MPV and hatchback, the 2013 Nissan Note is a car that screams practicality. Since first hitting the market in 2006, the Note line has been met with a lot of praise and popularity. This second generation has made massive strides in terms of its chassis and engine, not to mention a smoother, more attractive shape. Though some things have changed, this version of the Note certainly hasn’t sacrificed anything in space and practicality. Here’s a closer look at this great runner.
We’ll great straight into this by looking at the 2013 Note’s performance. Though the entry-level version only gives you a 1.2 petrol setup, the engine is surprisingly lively. With this model, you’ll also notice one of the major setbacks tied to a car that’s meant to be exceptionally versatile. When you’ve got the car fully loaded and it’s up to a higher speed, the engine remains nice and responsive. However, when you’re weighing it down like this and starting out slow, you may find that the acceleration is a little stiffer than you’d like. The supercharged 1.2 also has to be worked fairly hard to get up to sixty, but the extra torque of the 1.5 diesel model will fix these issues. For drivers with low mileage, I’d recommend the mid-range petrol engine. However, if you’re planning to spend a lot of time on the motorway I’d go all the way with the 1.5 diesel.
The overall ride is very comfortable, and feels even better when you’re on dual-carriageways and motorways. The suspension could probably have been improved, and you’ll notice a distinct shudder when you’re passing over drain covers and other rough surfaces. I can’t be sure if this issue gets any worse when it comes to used Nissans for sale, but it’s a small blemish to an otherwise perfectly decent car. Steering isn’t exhilarating, but it’s always precise and weighted, and feels natural with the movements of your hand. When it comes to handling, it’s the shape and weight of the actual body you need to be more concerned about! The 2013 Note is pretty tall compared to other cars in its class, and as a result you’ll feel it leaning slightly into corners. On those particularly tight turns, you’ll also notice that the Note’s grip to the road isn’t as tight as it could be. All models are noisier in built-up towns than they are on the motorways, but the supercharged 1.2 petrol is noticeably more quiet.
When you climb into the 2013 note, there won’t be any nice surprises, but you certainly won’t be disappointed either. The driver’s seat is slightly raised compared to the Note’s competitor models, which many people will find more comfortable. I found the positioning of the steering wheel and pedals a little awkward, but from what I’ve heard from other people this is just down to my pickiness! The dashboard is set out in a sensible and convenient way, and you won’t risk any crashes trying to figure out where that button is. On the subject of safety, the visibility in the 2013 Note is fantastic. The raised seat works nicely together with the fairly deep windows, and gives you clear, all-round visibility of the road. The front windshield pillars are a bit chunkier than I’d like. Still, they only get in the way when you’re turning at junctions and certain corners. All models come with electric wing mirrors, but it’s only the supercharged and diesel versions which come with heated ones. Auto wipers and headlights are also reserved for the higher-spec models.
Fortunately though, you don’t have to worry about which version you plan on getting when it comes to infotainment. Even the entry-level Note will kit you out with aux and USB inputs, as well as Bluetooth capability. This is pretty impressive when you stack it up against other 2013 hatchbacks and people carriers. Having given us this little treat though, Nissan have decided to make using it that little bit harder! You’ll need to splash out for the middle-of-the-range Acenta model if you want to control your stereo from the steering wheel. Overall though, the infotainment system is very functional and easy to use. You’re sure to get a lot of enjoyment out of it whether you have buttons on the wheel or not!
Although the drive could have done with a few little tweaks, the 2013 Note is a highly practical and versatile car. If you’re looking for something to see you and your family through a few years, you could certainly do worse!