Nissan Note (2013-2017) Review

It might be small but the Nissan Note is big on space and value-for-money.

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Mostly efficient engines
  • Spacious interior with flexible luggage space
  • Cheap
  • Loses value quickly
  • Diesel engine is powerful but noisy when stretched
  • Not much fun to drive
Nissan Note prices from £5,795.
Finance from £226.21 / month.

It's easy enough to park, being little longer than a Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo, but the Nissan Note offers an interior that’s got space for a family of four, with a big boot, tall roof, and the option of flexible seating that allows you to boost either legroom or luggage space.

The Note is as much a mini people carrier as a supermini such as the Fiesta, mixing compact dimensions with practical features that enable it to adjust to the demands of family life.

There’s up to 411 litres of space in the boot with the seats up, which is 130 litres more than in a Polo and only slightly less than the Kia Venga, another mini people-carrier. The opening is wide for bulky items, and on more expensive versions, you can slide the rear seat backwards to increase legroom, or forwards to boost boot space. On most models, there’s also an adjustable divider called Flexiboard to divide the boot into different compartments.

It all makes the car very adaptable, but anyone buying the car brand new will have paid for it, with prices going beyond £15,000 for cars that had the sliding rear seat as standard.

The Nissan Note is no longer on sale. (it was effectively replaced by the new Nissan Micra, which is much larger and more advanced than the previous model) but the car has always represented better value for money as a second-hand purchase because it lost value extremely quickly. 

So a diesel Nissan Note in top-of-the-range Tekna specification was priced at almost £18,000 when new, but you can now get a 2016 model for just £10,000. Similar petrol cars start at around £1,000 more. Go for a 2014 car, and you'll pay under £6,000 - or under £100 a month - for the cheapest.

This makes the car cheaper than an equivalent Kia Venga or Honda Jazz, which also has its own clever flexible seating system as standard, a similar amount of space for front and rear passengers, but feels better-made. 

On the road, the Nissan Note strikes a good balance between comfort and stability, soaking up the worst of bumpy roads, while remaining composed without too much of the bouncing around that can induce car sickness. You’ll find a Jazz more comfortable, though.

The Note’s steering is light, which makes it easy to manoeuvre at low speeds, but it doesn’t feel particularly sharp or precise when cornering on faster roads. Instead, the Nissan feels best-suited to steady and smooth driving - ideal for a family car.

All recent Nissan Notes come with air conditioning, alloy wheels, a wireless Bluetooth phone connection for music and calls, as well as heated door mirrors.

Options, some of which were fitted as standard to high-specification cars, include sat-nav, reversing camera, part leather seats and that sliding rear seat.

The Note has four out of five stars for safety after being independently crash tested by Euro NCAP, which is a reasonable result for this type of car but reliability is only average. In the latest Auto Expresss Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, its reliability score was just below 90%. The majority of cars in the survey scored more than this.


Key facts

Warranty 3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 411 litres
Width 1695mm
Length 4100mm
Height 1530mm
Tax £0 to £30

Best Nissan Note for...

Best for Economy – Nissan Note 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium

If you’re looking to save money, the diesel-powered Note is cheap and economical, while Acenta Premium cars are well equipped and barely cost more in the used market.

Best for Families – Nissan Note 1.2 DIG-S Acenta Premium

The Nissan Note's petrol engine is best for regular short trips, such as the school run, while Acenta Premium trim brings a host of convenience features including a sat nav and sliding rear seat, plus high-tech safety kit.

Best for Performance – Nissan Note 1.2 DIG-S Tekna

The 1.5 dCi diesel engine feels powerful but the 1.2 DIG-S is, on paper, slightly quicker. It’s quieter, too, economical and costs nothing in road tax, plus Tekna brings a sat nav, safety kit and a sportier design outside.

One to Avoid – Nissan Note 1.2 Visia

The least powerful 1.2-litre petrol engine is slow and thirsty. In combination with Visia trim it lacks air conditioning, alloy wheels and audio controls on the steering wheel.


  • 2013 The current Nissan Note is launched with choice of three engines (two 1.2-litre petrols and a 1.5-litre diesel)
  • 2015 Notes built between July 2013 and March 2014 are recalled for a possible malfunction of engine push start switch.
  • 2015 Launch of N-Tec trim level, based on Acenta Premium with the addition of a reversing camera and blind spot warning.
  • 2017 Production of the Nissan Note ends, as the new, larger Micra is launched.

Understanding Nissan Note names

Engine 1.2 DIG-S

The size of the engine is given in litres (here it’s 1.2). Petrol engines either have no letters after the size or DIG-S, which indicates a more sophisticated and efficient design. Diesels are badged dCi.

Trim Acenta Premium

The trim level dictates how much standard equipment is included with your Note. There are seven trim levels ranging from basic Visia to top-of-the-range Tekna Style.

Gearbox CVT

The automatic gearbox is called a CVT. This doesn’t have a set of gears but can constantly adjust its arrangement for the most efficient set-up. It means that the engine can sound like it’s droning because it doesn’t rev as frequently.

Nissan Note Engines

1.2, 1.2 DIG-S, 1.5 dCi

The cheapest engine available in the Note is the standard 1.2-litre petrol. With acceleration from 0-62mph taking a tortoise-like 13.7 seconds and fuel economy of 60mpg, it's off the pace in terms of performance and fuel economy. However, you can often find some extremely good deals on Nissan Notes with this engine.

The more advanced 1.2-litre DIG-S is a better choice, feeling much more energetic, with less dawdling and better official fuel economy figures of up to 65.7mpg. In real-world driving, this will be closer to 50mpg. Fitted with a manual gearbox, it’s exempt from road tax, as long as it was registered before April 2017. But if you choose the automatic, fuel economy drops, emissions increase and tax is £30 a year. The automatic is also noisy.

The diesel engine is a good option if you regularly travel far because it's more efficient and, generally, cheaper than the 1.2 DIG-S cars. You don’t need to rev the engine hard for powerful acceleration and it’s quiet at steady speeds, if a bit rough when pushed. 





0 - 62

top speed







1.2 DIG-S


65.7 - 55.4mpg


11.8 - 12.6s


1.5 dCi






Nissan Note Trims

Acenta Limited Edition, Acenta, Acenta Premium, Tekna

The trim levels available on the Nissan Note changed during its production run, so you should check to ensure that any car you're looking at has the equipment you need.

For example, Visia trim was offered for some time, which was the cheapest version of the Note and lacked air conditioning, alloy wheels and steering wheel audio controls as standard. It may have made sense as a new car, but with little difference in price between a better-equipped model, it's a trim level worth avoiding.

Nissan stopped offering Visia cars before production ended. At that point, the Nissan Note range started with Acenta Limited Edition trim, featuring air conditioning, cruise control, electric front windows, Bluetooth and alloy wheels. It was only available with the slowest 1.2-litre engine but was by far the cheapest Nissan Note.

Acenta was at least £3,000 more - but the price premium is much less on the used market. You could only choose this specification with a diesel engine and manual gearbox or the DIG-S petrol engine and an automatic. It also includes steering wheel audio controls and the flexiboard to divide the boot.

Acenta Premium adds a 5.8in touchscreen with sat nav and DAB digital radio, as well as the very useful sliding rear seat.

The range tops out with Tekna which adds safety technology, including a warning if someone is in your blind spot on a multi-lane road, as well as lane departure warning that alerts you if the car drifts out of a road’s white lines.

Nissan Note Reliability and warranty

The Nissan Note has a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty, whichever comes first. It's transferrable to the next owners, as long as the car has been serviced on schedule.

The car's reliability isn't a strong point: in the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, it was ranked 65 out of 75 of the most popular cars with a score of less than 90% - lower than average.

Used Nissan Note

Compact, practical and economical it may be but these virtues don’t stop the Note from losing money quickly.

You can pick up a year-old Note 1.5 dCi Tekna with almost 40% off the list price, which makes the car a bargain - particularly in this high specification, with sat-nav and climate control. After three years, the car has lost well over half of its value, making it an economical proposition.

Representative finance on some 2014 models can be lower than £100 a month - or less than £6,500. If you're looking in this price range, then your choice will largely be limited to the fairly basic Acenta models, as well as the previous-generation Nissan Note, which is no bad car in itself. You can identify the newer one from the grille that curves into a notch in each of the headlights.

it doesn't take much money to progress to better-equipped and more powerful Nissan Notes, particularly as there's little price difference between the different trim levels, allowing you to buy much more for your money.

If you're looking for a car costing between £6,500 and £12,000 (or with a representative monthly finance cost of £110 to £200), then it's worth aiming for an Acenta Premium car at the bare minimum, which will ensure that you get sat-nav, a digital radio and the sliding rear seat for little - if anything - more than an entry-level car.

The N-Tec trim level appeared in 2015, offering the Acenta Premium specification, plus some added technology, including a reversing camera, blind spot warning and an alert if you drift out of your lane on the motorway. It's useful equipment, and you're unlikely to have to pay a large premium for it.