A Japanese that is more European than the brand suggests. Although it is far from perfect, it also has its advantages. Unfortunately, the problem is very strong competition. Is Nissan Note a car worth recommending?
Nissan Note Characteristics and construction
Nissan Note was presented in 2006, while Honda was preparing the second generation of the highly regarded Jazz model. We mention it not accidentally, because they are competing cars.
10 years ago, the microvan segment was quite popular. Their biggest advantage is a large amount of space at a relatively low purchase price.
The first-generation Nissan Note is less than 4.1 meters long, which is about 10 cm shorter than a traditional compact hatchback.
However, the long wheelbase of 2,600 mm and the short bonnet form a body that can accommodate four adults and will still have plenty of room for legs and head.
In fact, the Nissan Note is not a Japanese cars. Technically, it has more to do with the French. The floor plate was borrowed from the Renault Grand Modus.
The suspension with a very simple structure – MacPherson at the front plus a torsion beam at the rear – is designed to offer decent comfort and a safe ride. He is doing it correctly.
Coming back to the Japanese of the car. The Note was manufactured in an English factory in Sunderland, as was its successor. Virtually all parts for production were delivered from Europe. T
he diesels that actually come from Renault are also “Japanese”. Only gasoline engines were imported from distant Asia.
Apart from the actual origin of the car, it deserves attention. It is decently made, although it must be remembered that its market and price positioning is segment B. The materials and their quality of assembly meet the Nissan Micra standards.
The cabin is equipped with several practical solutions. It is a rear bench that can be moved by 16 cm, a 10-liter storage compartment under the passenger seat or tables for people sitting in the rear.
There is also a luggage compartment with a capacity of 280-437 liters with a double floor. Its size is regulated by the position of the couch. It’s just worth remembering that the base version of Visia didn’t have everything. The car obtained four stars in crash tests, which is a good result for the segment and year.
Nissan Note engines
The car could have one of three engines to choose from. The 1.4 and 1.6 gasoline engine, as we have already mentioned, come from Japan.
They should not be confused with Renault engines, which have similar characteristics. The smaller one develops 88 HP, while the larger 110 HP.
Gasoline engines are relatively economical. 6.5–7.0 l / 100 km fuel consumption is 1.4, while 1.6 needs about a liter more. There is one advantage that the 1.4 engine has over the 1.6 engine – better cooperation with gas installations.
Renault 1.5 dCi diesels engine develop 68, 86, 90 or 103 hp. These are French constructions, but with Japanese accessories. They are extremely economical – on the road you can reduce fuel consumption even below 5 l / 100 km, and the average consumption is 5-6 l / 100 km.
Which engine to choose on the Nissan Note?
Basically, 1.6 gasoline is the best choice. It not only has the power to ensure good performance, but is also the most refined.
Although there are problems with the exhaust gas aftertreatment ( EGR ) system, throttle (contamination), minor oil leaks or engine control malfunctions, these are not things that are difficult to deal with. This has only one problem – head does not like gas installations.
A chain is responsible for the timing drive in both petrol engine. It is not defective, but in the models with higher mileage, it is worth controlling its voltage or at least listening to the work. Even if it stretches, it won’t have any consequences. Unfortunately, a set of parts costs about $335.
A set for a 1.4 engine is a bit cheaper – about $180 to $230. Stretching does happen here too, but that’s not the biggest problem. The engine burns up a little less fuel and offers significantly worse dynamics.
We will feel the lack of power mainly on the road. It is also more troublesome. Oil leaks are almost certain. There are failures of coils, dampers and sensors.
The most risky engines are 1.5 dCi diesels. The 68 HP version has one advantage – it is an extremely simple construction without a dual mass flywheel with cheap-to-repair accessories. The 86, 90 HP and 103 HP variants will be slightly more expensive to repair.
Two masses are particularly expensive repairs. You will pay up to $560 for a set with a clutch and labor. Unfortunately, they are also burdened with a serious design defect, consisting in premature wear of the crankshaft bearings. But take it easy.
The bushings can be replaced before the shaft seizes, it is best to do it prophylactically after buying the car. Such a procedure costs $230 to $340.
Moreover, the weakest engines are less likely to have a problem in this area. The only preventive measure is regular oil change every 10,000. km. By following this recommendation, you will extend the service life of the turbocharger.
What Common Problems on the Nissan Note?
- Engines are not the biggest worry for Nissan Note owners. It is a car very similar to the French – relatively crash, but mostly trinkets break down. Overall, however, the durability of the car is high. It is also rare that it refuses to obey on the road.
- The running gear, thanks to its simple design, can be repaired cheaply, but it has to be done frequently. Suspension bushings, especially the front ones, quickly break out. Not only the wishbones, links and stabilizer rubbers, but even the subframe mounting bushings. It is much better at the rear – the elements of the shock absorbers most often refuse to cooperate.
- The steering system is not very durable. Apart from the rod ends, the gear itself wears out quickly. Initially it was replaced under warranty because it was knocking and loose. It was similar with the attachment of the subframe.
- Unfortunately, it is difficult to have a good opinion about the quality of the car. You shouldn’t be surprised if your windshield suddenly breaks or water leaks into the cabin – through the windshield or the tailgate. The knock of the chassis is not always the case – the muffler is often loosened. Rust occurs on the tailgate, which will not always open due to a wiring failure, and on the doors and sills, and on the exhaust. Howling while driving wears down the wheel bearings.
Sounds scary? Relax. Contrary to appearances, the car rarely needs to be towed to a mechanic, but it is worth having a friend in this industry who you will visit even several times a year.
Nissan Note Operating costs, pricing and parts availability
The market is well stocked with spare parts for this model and you rarely need to visit a Nissan Dealership. It is also easy to buy used components, and some even fit from Renault.
In general, the car is cheap to run, but a lot depends on the vehicle. If you buy the inferior sort, you may complain about frequent repairs of small items. However, there are Note owners who have no problem with their cars at all.
Parts are cheap not only because of the association with Renault Note. It is also the effect of the car’s class. The European origin of the suppliers is also a big advantage.
The owners of the Honda Jazz are definitely worse in this respect, although they rarely have to buy anything.
Nissan Note Market situation
The Nissan Note aftermarket is plentiful and you can choose from vintages and engines. 1.4 petrol engines dominate, there are over three times less diesels.
Domestic cars account for as much as 20 percent. and the vast majority are pre-facelift cars. Yearbooks from 2009 onwards are only beginning to appear on the market.
Cars often have low mileage, and if they come from Europe, they are usually serviced at an authorized service station. Thanks to this, you can check their history.
If the service has been performed in accordance with the recommended mileage, be careful with diesels. Unless their mileage is low, up to 50-60 thousand. km. It was the infrequent oil changes that most often finished off the bushings.
The prices of the cheapest cars from the first years of production start at $2250 to $2700. Virtually every Note can be purchased for the facelift for up to $4500.
We recommend restyled cars in the vicinity of $6750. You can buy a four- or five-year-old car with this money.
Is the Nissan Note worth buying?
In our opinion, yes, but only if you find a really nice, well-kept model. Unfortunately, Note is burdened with quite common faults and problems that will not stop the car, but will be irritating.
We recommend the petrol versions, especially the 1.6, but we also do not advise against the diesel. It is important to keep an eye on frequent oil changes.
The Nissan Note is a bit bland, so we think it’s worth buying, but it’s not a model we’d recommend looking for. In our opinion, the Honda Jazz is better in almost every way, and the Opel Meriva or the refined Ford Fusion are at least as good.
Nissan Note’s competition is also the technical counterpart of Renault – the Grand Modus model, and that would be what we would put in front of Nissan.