Nissan NOTE 1.2 DIG-S Review
Noted with thanks...

Story and photos by Azfar Hashim
25 Jan 2013

Nissan's compact mini arrives to replace, well, everything else in its segment - but does it have all the right notes?

Introduction, Exterior

This is the new Nissan Note, which is poised to compete and most probably replace (cue drum roll) almost everything else in its class; namely Honda’s Jazz and Volkswagen’s Polo. 

If you were to notice though, this particular compact mini segment has been rather quiet, no thanks to the catastrophic COE that has pushed prices of cars in this class even way above the roof. Case in point, the most basic Chevrolet Aveo5 is hovering just below $130k – you could get a well-spec’d Volkswagen Golf Sport (with spare change) for that price four years ago.

Oh well. Ranting aside, the Nissan Note is now here to not compete, but merely replace the aging-gracefully Jazz and Polo; in a clearer perspective, to represent compact minis in our market.

Let’s begin with the styling. To Nissan’s credit, the Note looks new, vibrant and refreshing. It may not be the prettiest car ever - if you can spend half an hour scrutinizing the car you’ll notice how it has the outline of the Latio Sport – but in an increasingly competitive marketplace, simple good looks are no longer enough.

Character, flair and a kind of palpable practicality matter more. Previously, the March had it – now the Note’s got it too. And although some may opine it has styling more in line with the MPV sector, but to it’s advantage, at least its styling will also likely be perfectly acceptable to the young family with space and practicality high on the agenda.

Nissan obviously spent a fair bit of time coming up with the exterior. The headlamps are cool – like a pair of Pac-mans (remember that?) eating into the grill. So who said the Japanese lack any sense of humour? 

With its rather long wheelbase and stocky stance, the car has just the right amount of decoration. Of the seven colours available, the black here is the least dramatic. The locally fitted bodykit, standard only on the DIG-S variant, gives an additional cool factor to the car for sure, together with that nicely sized roof-mounted spoiler - nothing too monstrous. Those 15-inch alloys, on the other hand, may come across as a little too boyracer; paired to a set of 185/65 R-15 Continental ContiComfortContact-1 and suddenly the Note looks a little odd… 

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Engine Capacity 1198cc
Engine Type Inline 3
Compression Ratio 10.2:1
Bore x Stroke (78 ◊ 83.6)mm
Power 77bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 106Nm @ 4400rpm
Power to Weight 72 bhp per ton


Acceleration 11.7s (0-100 km/h)
Fuel Consumption (combined) 19.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 4 -speed Xtronic CVT Mode
Drive Type FF
Steering Hydraulic


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4100 x 1695 x 1525) mm
Wheelbase 2600 mm
Turning Circle 5.2 metres
Kerb Weight 1070 kg
Boot Capacity (folded) 325 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 41 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Drums