NOTEworthy Value - Nissan NOTE 1.2 DIG-S

clifford chow
10 Dec 2016

The supercharged engine under the hood is really a gem, efficiently producing enough zip, while keeping fuel costs down

Introduction and Exterior

The Nissan Note is a hatch with quite a few surprises. The compact dimensions might just fool you into thinking that a small car would mean cramped quarters, overly upright seating, and plenty of judder going over not-so-ideal road conditions.

Our test car came as a surprise. Well proportioned, with minimal rear-wheel overhang, the car did look good from all angles. Door and fender styling is subtle, and there is large side glass space, to let in more light into the passenger cabin.

A smiley chrome accented grille, is flanked by large sculpted grille-accommodating headlamps. The rear tail lamp design incorporates vents for cabin pressure reduction, and flow forward, forming part of the side profile of the Note.

Light-weight aluminium alloy wheels carrying 185/65R15 tyres create a plush ride, together with the set-for-comfort suspension.


Getting into the cabin, reveals plenty of legroom for both front and rear passengers. For a car which is just 4,100mm long, the 643mm of maximum rear legroom is extremely generous, which most cars one segment higher. Nissan had kept their design brief right, we believe, with careful consideration for rear occupant space. Those who have a need to fit in child seats, will also be glad to know that the legroom in the rear, helps facilitate seat installation and removal. Also, this gives you that much-needed space to manoeuvre yourself when securing your child. It’s not just kids who sit in the rear, but you may be transporting the parents too.

Rear seat belts can be positioned away, if there is a need to lower the 60:40 folding rear bench. The middle three-point seatbelt can be disconnected, and neatly retracted into the roof.  Boot space is at a generous 330 litres, which can easily contain a baby’s stroller, or an array of shopping bags. Folding the rear seats down greatly increases cargo space to 1,495 litres, thanks to the excellent interior room.

We loved the array of useful cubby holes and compartments made available. Bottles, cups, boxes of tissue… Things we would use in the real world will easily find their space in the cabin.

Hopping into the driver’s seat, you are greeted by a well sorted out instrument binnacle. Large gauges are easy to read, and digital displays provide information about distances travelled, and in “ECO” mode, informs the driver how he is driving.

For an entry-level hatch, we were also pleased that the Note came equipped with a reverse camera, to aid in parking, provided Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and facilitated SatNAv on its infotainment system.

How it Drives

On the road, 3-cylinder, 1.2 litre supercharged engine was muted. We did expect more vibration compared to other 4 cylindered engines. We got instead was smooth power delivery, sans the anticipated vibrations. Gearshifts were virtually non-existent, thanks to the CVT transmission.

Taking off from the lights, there is just a slight whine coming from the transmission, but acceleration is brisk, with a build-up of torque, which peaks at 4,400rpm, producing a healthy 142Nm. The Note goes to 100km/h in a respectable 11.7 seconds.

Good performance is just part of the picture. The Note’s fuel economy is aided by Nissan’s Idling Stop System, when cuts the engine off at the lights. Together with the fuel sipping engine, and efficient CVT, Nissan states that the Note does just 21.7km/l.

Pitching the car into a series of tight bends did show a softer side to the Note. Mild understeer is noticeable, but multi-directional changes were not met with an unsettled wobble. The Continental ContiComfortContact tyres do offer decently good grip and comfort.

We loved the narrow 5.2m turn radius, which meant that U-turns in tight spaces could be done in confidence.

Safety-wise, there is that added assurance that you are in good hands. ABS is standard, as in most cars. But we did like it that Nissan had also included Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), which correctly balances the braking power between front and rear brakes, depending on how the car is loaded. Additionally, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is part of the car’s standard equipment offerings, ensuring that any sideway slipping of the car is managed by use of brakes and engine power.


We all love it when there is that trickle down of tech from bigger models. The Note has benefitted from this, safety-wise. The supercharged engine under the hood is really a gem, efficiently producing enough zip, while keeping fuel costs down.

The lower COE prices, makes the Note a very attractive offer. The base 1.2 Lite is currently going for $84,300, while the top specced 1.2 DIG-S is now $90,300 (10 December 2016). Prices are before in-house discounts.

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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