NISSAN'S NOTABLE NEWCOMERCombining the interior space of an executive saloon with the agility of a conventional small hatchback, Nissan's unconventional NOTE is designed to appeal to the head and the heart.
'The Nissan Note is a car that is both rational and emotional. On one hand, this is a sensible compact car for families, thanks to its roomy interior and thoughtful features. At the same time, its sporty side is sure to satisfy enthusiasts who seek driving pleasure. Nissan aims to offer products that customers will feel good about, and the new Note appeals on both counts.'
Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan Motor LimitedAt a glance
- Distinctive design
- Dynamic driving experience
- Class leading interior space
- Multi-position Flexi-Board double-sided trunk floor
- Four engine options at launch
- Versatile intelligent storage
- Built in the ÚK at Europe's most efficient plant
NOTE (n): a distinctive element, feeling, quality or atmosphere; distinction or excellence.
Nissan's latest model, the NOTE, is a boundary-busting family hatchback, combining the comfort and equipment of a C-segment car with the agility and easy driving qualities of a B-segment hatchback.
Not only that, it has more interior space than many, bigger, luxury saloons: indeed, it boasts enough rear leg-room to embarrass an executive saloon.Emotional and practical appeal
NOTE, developed from the Tone show car shown at the 2004 Paris motor show, has been designed to appeal on both emotional and practical levels. As well as having the roomiest interior in its class – and a wealth of innovative storage opportunities – NOTE is also fun to drive.
'After all,' says Taiji Toyota, Product Chief Designer, Nissan Motor Company, 'an enthusiastic driver does not become disinterested in driving just because children have arrived. NOTE has been designed to appeal to both the head and the heart. It has plenty of space for the family, yet has outstanding dynamic qualities, too.'From Tone to NOTE
The Tone show car was originally created as a solution to the needs of a younger member of the Nissan design team, an enthusiastic driver who was celebrating the birth of his first child.
But it was quickly realised that in his desire for a fun-to-drive yet practical car, the designer was by no means unique and Tone accrued more significance as a production version was given the green light. Little wonder Nissan confidently referred to Tone as ‘a show car of real NOTE' at its Paris debut.Styling influences
Externally similar to the show car, NOTE shows clear styling influences from the acclaimed Murano SÚV to make it demonstrably a member of the Nissan family. Yet its distinctive profile – highlighted by the ‘ski-ramp' roof-line and boomerang rear lights – ensure NOTE remains a highly individual design in its own right.
NOTE is built at Nissan's highly productive Sunderland plant in the ÚK, on an extended version of the flexible ‘Alliance B' platform. The platform first saw service in the current Micra model, launched in 2003 and since then, has also been used by Nissan for the new Micra C+C. It has also being used by Alliance partner Renault for its Modus and new Clio III models.Class leading interior space
NOTE uses a version of the Alliance B platform with an extended 2600mm wheelbase and an overall length of just over 4m. But rather than offer three rows of seats, Nissan's engineers have chosen to give NOTE's five passengers the roomiest cabin in the class without compromising its ample luggage capacity.
'As part of the development programme, we interviewed not only potential owners, but also their passengers,' says Chris Lee, Nissan Europe, Product Planning Manager. 'We asked groups of young people what they wanted from their parents' cars and the most significant demand was for plenty of space. In particular, no-one enjoyed sitting behind Dad if he was driving, because their leg room was invariably drastically reduced.
'These comments were completely in-line with our own theories of what owners and their passengers would require from the NOTE.'Sliding rear seat
To ensure NOTE remains as versatile as possible, it features a sliding rear bench seat. It moves forward by up to 160mm to increase luggage space when it's needed. But even when the bench has been pushed as far forward as possible, NOTE's minimum rear seat legroom can still accommodate 2 adults. And when the bench is pushed back, available rear legroom rises to a D segment level.
Minimum luggage space of 280 litres (VDA) rises to 437 litres with the seats pushed forwards, and increases to 1332 litres when the rear seat backs are folded. For maximum versatility, the front passenger seat can also be reclined flat so that items of up to 2.4m can be carried within the cockpit or stretched out as on a sofa.Multi-position trunk floor
The trunk area is also unusual in having a multi-position luggage board which doubles as the load area floor. Known as Flexi-Board, the twin steel-framed boards can either be positioned over a luggage well providing a flat load area floor with a ‘secret' storage area beneath, or at the bottom of the well itself if the maximum load area height is needed. The boards can withstand loads of up to 50kg.
They are also reversible with carpet on one side and an easy-to-clean waterproof surface on the other allowing, for example, muddy outdoor footwear, garden plants, ski boots, wet swimming gear etc to be carried without fear of marking the interior.Cabin storage
In addition, NOTE has dozens of thoughtful stowage places within the cabin. The backs of the front seats not only house folding trays for those in the rear, but aircraft-style expanding pockets for books, magazines and the other ephemera collected by young children.
A large glovebox – which can be heated or cooled – has a useful slot incorporated into its lid, ideal for maps, while the centre console has ample storage space for coins, mobile telephones and CDs.
Taking the well acclaimed feature from Micra, NOTE also has a secret compartment under the front passenger seat squab.Power sockets
There are 12v power sockets in the front and rear compartments and the trunk to facilitate charging mobile phones, powering portable DVD, portable electronic games and cool boxes while there are no fewer than six cup holders.
With its flexibility and versatility assured, Nissan's engineers then made certain NOTE also appealed to the heart. Featuring MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle, NOTE is starting with an acclaimed handling package. Its extended wheelbase and widened track ensure road holding remains of the highest order, while ride comfort is enhanced even further.Power units
NOTE's proven power units, are equally well respected. Four engine options will be available from launch, two petrol and two diesel.
Both petrol units are Nissan designs and EÚ4 compliant. The NOTE 1.4 is powered by a 1,386cc version of the all-aluminium 16 valve CR engine, developing 64kW (88 PS) and 128Nm of torque. The 1.6 powertrain is , a member of Nissan's HR family of engines – also featuring aluminium construction and four valves per cylinder – and this 1,598cc unit develops 81kW (110 PS) and 153Nm of torque.
The 1.5-litre diesels were developed by Alliance partner Renault. Both turbocharged dCi diesels, which displace 1,461cc, are EÚ4 compliant and feature common rail technology. Both intercooled, they develop 50 kW (68 PS) and 160Nm of torque, and 63 kW (86 PS) and an impressive 200Nm of torque respectively, for a perfect blend of performance, refinement and fuel economy.
All versions feature a Renault-developed five-speed manual transmission, though the 1.6 petrol also has the option of a new Nissan-developed four-speed automatic.Three trim levels
Following established Nissan practice there are three trim levels – entry level Visia, rising through Acenta to range topping Tekna. All engines are available on Visia and Acenta models while Tekna versions are powered by either the 1.6 petrol or 63kW 1.5 dCi.Safety equipment
Standard safety equipment on all models includes four airbags as well as anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist (BAS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), while the top Tekna model also incorporates the electronic stability programme (ESP) as standard. Isofix installation for child seats is also standard.
All models feature the sliding rear seat, central door locking and Friendly Lighting while the Flexi-Board system, secret storage, seat back tables, expanding seat back pockets, front and rear armrests are available on Acenta models and above.Leather trim
Top-of-the-range Tekna adds part leather seating, fog lamps and 16 inch alloy wheels.
'In creating NOTE we have listened long and hard to the needs of our customers, both those who sit in the front and those who sit in the rear,' says Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice-President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Limited. 'The result is a family car which appeals on every level: it's fun to drive and easy to handle. It's versatile and practical and it is the roomiest car in its class.'INDIVIDÚAL – BÚT STILL A FAMILY MEMBER
With its swooping roof-line, unusual rear lights and long, lean look, NOTE is a highly individual design. But subtle use of Nissan styling cues means there can be no doubt as to the car's parentage: like Micra, Murano and 350Z, NOTE is distinctly different yet demonstrably a member of the Nissan family.
'Combining a roomy interior and the benefits of a high driving position with a design that appeals on an emotional level was a real challenge. But thanks to NOTE's long wheelbase and short overhangs, we are confident we have achieved just that.'
Taiji Toyota, Product Chief Designer, Nissan Motor CompanyAt a glance
- Long wheelbase for increased interior space
- Styling cues from Murano
- Swooping roofline adds sporting touch
- Boomerang rear lights
- Lower than traditional mini-MPVs
- Quality fittings for big car feel
- Sophisticated and practical
Satisfying both the transport needs of a growing family and the desires of a driving enthusiast is one of the most difficult juggling acts in the motor industry. But with the distinctive NOTE, Nissan feels it might have achieved the impossible.Remarkable design
NOTE is a five seat hatchback, powered by a series of petrol and diesel engine displacing 1.4-, 1.5- and 1.6-litres with power outputs ranging from 50 kW to 81 kW (68 to 110ps). But behind those bald facts lies a remarkable piece of design that manages to provide more than enough space for a family of five at the same time as being a dynamic performer.
NOTE began life as a doodle from one of Nissan young designer based in Japan. 'He was feeling a little depressed, a little sad, because his wife was expecting their first baby,' says Taiji Toyota, Product Chief Designer, Nissan Motor Company.
'I mean he was full of joy about the new child, of course, but sad because he felt he would have to buy a sensible car for the first time in his life. He felt his fun driving days were over. But before he gave up on driving pleasure he decided to try to design a car that would answer all his desires.'Pet project
Although it began as one man's pet project it wasn't long before the rest of the design – and more importantly their boss – saw merit in the plan. Plans were quickly drawn to create a car that appealed on practical, emotional and financial levels, an affordable, fun-to-drive, family hold-all.
That NOTE should perform and handle well was a given, therefore. The trick would be to make a practical proposition as well.Long and low
Mr Toyota says: 'By using the extended chassis of the Alliance B platform, we were able to ensure NOTE would have enough interior space. But instead of creating a car as tall and boxy as the Cube we designed a car that would look long and low in profile.'
In fact, with an overall height of 1.55m and more than 4m from bumper to bumper the effect is of a car that appears sleek and sporty alongside the ‘cuddly' hatchback.Dynamic profile
Achieving this dynamic profile has involved borrowing a number of styling cues from current Nissan road cars and recent concept vehicles. Most notable, perhaps, is the arched roof-line, a feature that has reappeared time and again on production vehicles.
On NOTE, the roof-line rises gently from the top of the windscreen to a peak just above the B-pillar. From there is falls away until, unusually, is rises again towards the rear of the car. This ‘ski-jump' effect gives NOTE extra dynamism by making it appear to be on the move even when it's standing still.Extended wheelarches
A fashionably high waistline and dramatically extended wheelarches give an impression of strength while the generous glasshouse adds to the roominess of the interior. The trapezoidal third set of side windows echo the style found on Murano and the Qashqai concept car, leaving behind a strong D–pillar that's almost triangular in shape.
The front takes its cues from both Micra and Murano, featuring enlarged – and even more powerful versions of Micra's headlights and a double-deck four slot grille reminiscent of Murano's face.Headlight bubble
The headlights retain the idiosyncratic yet practical ‘bubble' at the top of the reflector. This can be seen from the driver's seat and acts as a guide when slotting the car into a tight parking bay or driving it down a narrow street.
At the rear the almost vertical fifth door has been designed with the accent on practicality: the combination of a low loading sill and virtually square dimensions aids loading and unloading the trunk while its upright stance makes parking easier.Boomerang tail-lights
The tailgate is framed by another idiosyncratic styling feature, boomerang tail-lights. First seen on the Qashqai concept, as well as providing a highly individual styling element the lights are mounted higher than on conventional cars so they can be seen more easily by following motorists.
The bumpers – which are finished in a contrasting black coating – are fully integrated into the overall shape and accentuate the short front and rear overhangs. Driving – and parking – is also aided by the unusually large door mirrors. As well as adding to the quality feel of the car, they can be folded at the touch of a button minimising the potential for damage when the car is left in a busy street.
Although conceived on supermini running gear and designed to spend as much time in towns as out on the open road, NOTE's overall dimensions allow it to cross boundaries. Sitting on a wheelbase of 2.6m, NOTE is 4.08m long which brings it closer in overall size to Almera Tino - Nissan's C-segment mini MPV – than to Micra.
This extra length translates directly into a roomy interior, offering more space than any of its immediate rivals.Large door openings
And there are other practical features to be considered, such as the large door openings which ease ingress and egress, while thanks to the space in the rear compartment installing a child in a baby seat no longer needs a parent to double as a contortionist.
According to Mr Toyota, NOTE's height is a significant dimension. 'NOTE is tall, but not so tall. We wanted a roomy interior and the benefits of a raised driving position but we did not want the car to look top heavy. With the long wheelbase and body we fell we have achieved a shape that will appeal on both a practical and emotional level,' he says.
And the designer who inadvertently started the whole NOTE project? He and his wife now have a second child and, thanks to NOTE, he still enjoys driving even when most journeys these days are no more than family errands.NISSAN TAKES NOTE
By listening to those likely to travel in the rear of the new NOTE, as well as those expecting to ride in the front, Nissan has created arguably the ideal small family car. The design provides plenty of space for passengers and their luggage – and it has a host of unusual storage opportunities, too – but it remains fun to drive.
'Customer clinics are usually just that – meetings with new car buyers who help to shape the cars of the future. But for NOTE, Nissan targeted a group of important customers who are invariably forgotten during a car's development period: the youngsters who occupy the rear seats.'
Pierre Loing, Vice President Product Strategy & Planning, Nissan EuropeAt a glance
- Initial design from Japan re-thought for Europe
- Clinics with customers and their young passengers
- Features requested by youngsters included:
- Ample storage
- Maximum leg room
- Power sockets and individual reading lights
- Quality materials, including part leather trim
It sounds like a recipe for total anarchy: invite groups of eight to 16-year-olds and ask them what they want from their parents' cars. Yet, ignoring one or two unusual or impractical suggestions, requests from youngsters invited to Nissan Technical Centre Europe at Cranfield in the ÚK have helped shape the innovative new Note.
For although the basic architecture for the Note was originally developed in Japan, the NOTE for Europe differs quite considerably from its Japanese counterpart, especially when it comes to the interior. And much of that is down to the demands of groups of school children not yet old enough to drive a car themselves.
Right from the outset, NOTE was seen as a car that had to have a dual role. As well as fulfilling all the requirements of an active young family, it had to appeal to the enthusiastic driver. Blessed with state-of-the-art engines and a sure-footed chassis both targets have been achieved.
'Central to NOTE's development were the two cornerstones of interior space and positive driving dynamics. A long wheelbase and intelligent packaging took care of the first goal, while further refinements to the established class leading chassis meant the second was also achieved. NOTE really does provide the best of both worlds.'
Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice-President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Limited.At a glance
- Based on well regarded Alliance B-Platform chassis
- 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engine options
- Two common rail diesel options
- Strong levels of refinement, performance and economy
- Excellent handling and roadholding
- Electronic safety package
By adopting a stretched version of Nissan's Alliance B platform, NOTE started with a proven chassis and drivetrain hardware. The sure-footed chassis uses MacPherson strut front suspension and an effective torsion beam rear axle, while engine options include Nissan's familiar 1.4-litre and new 1.6-litre petrol engines as well as two Renault-developed 1.5-litre dCi common rail diesels.Superior noise insulation
NOTE's front suspension features a sub-frame mounted strut-type system with combined coil-over-strut assemblies and a forward lower link. The sub-frame features compliant rubber mounts to isolate road noise and vibration from the platform, improving both general refinement and ride comfort. The front anti-roll bar is attached directly to the strut assembly for more effective control of body roll under cornering.
At the rear, the torsion beam/trailing arm suspension system features separate coil springs and damper units to ensure minimal intrusion into the trunk area. Enhanced ride comfort
By tilting the trailing arm bushes horizontally, passive rear steer characteristics are optimised, while keeping the number of mounting points to a minimum reduces the potential for noise and vibration intrusion into the cabin. The beam design and the location of the damper units reduce friction in the rear suspension system to enhance ride comfort.
Nissan Europe's technical centres in the ÚK and at Barcelona in Spain have further refined the chassis to give NOTE a combination of sharp handling with excellent ride comfort and enhanced refinement.Stiffer shell
Benefiting from a stiffer shell than Micra – NOTE's torsional rigidity is 25 per cent higher while roll stiffness is increased by 19 per cent – handling is further improved by retuned spring and damper rates and revised suspension bushes. The front anti-roll bar has been stiffened by 10 per cent.
Ride comfort has not suffered, however. Thanks to the extra rigidity in the shell, it has been possible to reduce rear suspension stiffness by 8 per cent. A complaint ride is one of the benefits of the use of advanced ripple control shock absorbers. First seen in the 350Z, the Nissan developed units feature an extra damping control lip to counter small road imperfections.
Depending on the model chosen, NOTE comes with either 15 inch steel or alloy wheels or 16 inch alloys. The 15 inch wheels are shod with 175/65 or 185/65 tyres while 185/55 tyres can be found on 16 inch alloys.Easy manoeuvrability
Despite the longer wheelbase and greater overall length, NOTE remains as easy to manoeuvre around town as Micra. Short overhangs, high driving position and unique clearance lamp design in the headlamp make easy to place the car on the road. Electric power steering
Manoeuvrability is also aided by the adoption of electric power steering (EPS). This state-of-the-art system offers greater assistance at lower speeds with more steering feel provided as speeds rise. Úsing NOTE's CAN Bus communication network, the system checks speed inputs every 40 milliseconds and is speed sensitive to 0.01 km/h. The entire system is tuned specifically for European tastes to give a strong self-centring action at lower engine speeds for easier town driving and greater feel at higher speeds.
The system uses a brushless DC motor resulting in lower friction losses which, in turn, means reduced wear and lower service costs. And with no traditional hydraulic pump in the system, there are fuel consumptions benefits, too. The motor itself is mounted on the steering column.Advanced braking system
An anti-lock brake system (ABS) is standard on every NOTE, and is augmented by Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD). Brake Assist maintains maximum deceleration during an emergency stop even if the driver has reduced pedal effort while EBD constantly alters the front disc to rear drum balance to achieve optimum brake performance, automatically compensating for differing load conditions.
Also available on NOTE is the added security provided by the advanced Electronic Stability Programme (ESP). Úsing sensors linked to the brakes, steering, wheels and the body itself, ESP constantly monitors the way the car is being driven. A steering angle sensor and brake pressure sensor monitor the angle and attitude of the front wheels and the brakes, while yaw and lateral G sensor determine the car's slip angle.
If the car's stability appears to be threatened, ESP uses the brakes and the engine management system to slow the car and bring it back under control, greatly enhancing safety under extreme conditions.Engine options
With four engine options available, there's a power unit to suit most tastes. The two petrol options are Nissan units, while the pair of common rail diesels have been developed by Alliance partner Renault.Petrol 1.4
Petrol-powered NOTE have a choice of 1.4 or 1.6-litre units. The NOTE 1.4 is powered by a 1,386 cc version of Nissan's familiar CR twin cam, 16 valve, all-aluminium four cylinder engine.
In this guise it develops 64 kW (88PS) and a peak torque figure of 128 Nm at 3,200 rpm which with slightly revised ‘taller' gearing, allows NOTE 1.4 to achieve excellent fuel economy with refined performance. Top speed is 165 km/h (103 mph) with 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration taking 13.1 seconds. Combined cycle fuel economy is 6.4 l/100km (44.3 mpg) while NOTE returns a highly competitive 152 g/km of CO2 emissions.Variable valve timing
As well as being fully Euro IV compliant, the engine features Nissan's Variable Valve Timing control system and a 'Drive-by-Wire' electronic throttle. Extensive use of low friction moving parts and lightweight pistons improve not only the levels of noise, vibration and harshness but also fuel consumption.
Variable valve timing has two main gains. Torque is improved to boost in-gear acceleration and therefore driving pleasure, and emissions performance is improved. The use of a drive-by-wire throttle optimises throttle control giving better response, smoothness and flexibility.
Other significant features include the use of a single stage 'super-silent' timing chain system for improved NVH and greater reliability and longer inlet manifolds for improved torque.Petrol 1.6
The second petrol engine is 1.6 Nissan's new light-weight, low friction, high torque 1.6-litre twin cam. Developing 81 kW (110hp) and 153 Nm of torque (with 85% of peak torque available from 2000rpm), the all-aluminium design is notably lighter than similar capacity units from rival manufacturers.
Among its features are four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, multi-point port injection and vane-type continuous intake cam phasing, while extensive use of die cast aluminium includes the cylinder blocks, heads, head covers, upper oil pan and front covers. Iron cylinder liners are cast in the open-deck, half skirt block. The oil pan/block joint adds significant rigidity to the engine and also integrates a gear-type oil pump driven by a separate chain from the crankshaft.Compact unit
The engine is Nissan's first transverse unit with a front intake and rear exhaust which greatly aids packaging. Because it takes up less room under the bonnet more space can be given over to passenger and load space flexibility.
The engine is highly thermally efficient. Each intake port is divided into an upper and lower section by a cast-in aluminium plate. The lower section has a control valve within the plastic intake manifold tract at the entrance to the divided port. When closed at low and mid range engine speeds, air is directed to the upper section, so generating a tumble motion which is maintained by a shallow recess in the piston crown.Iridium tipped spark plugs
A relatively high volume of exhaust gas recirculation during low and mid range engine speeds benefits fuel economy and low emissions. To ensure a fast burn of this diluted charge, Nissan has adopted an ultra-high energy discharge ignition system which includes motorcycle-style long reach, small diameter spark plugs with an iridium tip and platinum side electrode. The engine also runs on a comparatively high compression ratio of 10.7:1, again for better low and mid range torque and economy.Circular bores
Motor racing techniques have been adopted to reduce mechanical friction by as much as 30 per cent compared to the QG unit. Of the total reduction, one third is attributable to a new machining method that ensures truly circular bores: this procedure is common practice in the machining of bores of racing engines but is seldom used in volume production engines.
A ‘dummy head' jig, which is shaped to include a simulated head gasket, is affixed onto the block exerting ‘virtual as-assembled' axial torque on the through-bolts; bores are then machined in this rigid state.
The result allows piston ring tension to be halved, greatly reducing sliding resistance which, in turn, translates into lower friction. Other features that lead to this reduction in mechanical friction include super-fine ‘mirror finished' crankshaft big ends.
It all translates into a car which combines low emissions and impressive fuel economy with strong performance and quiet running. Performance with economy
Complementing its top speed potential of 183 km/h (114 mph) is a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of just 10.7 secs. The fuel economy story is just as strong, NOTE 1.6 returning 6.7 l/100km (42.4 mpg) on the combined cycle while oil change services are needed only every 30,000 kms (approximately 18,500 miles).Diesel engines
With diesels accounting for between 40 and 60 per cent of sector sales across Europe's major markets, it comes as no surprise that NOTE is also available with the choice of two strong diesel options.
Both are advanced Euro IV compliant 1.5-litre dCi units which have been developed by Nissan's Alliance partner, Renault, and which are available in two states of tune. The turbocharged eight valve four cylinder engine featuring common rail technology and intercooler, is available in two versions: 50 kW (68 PS) and 63 kW (86PS).
Both engines have been acclaimed for their blend of performance and economy mixed with refinement and smoothness. Now featuring a second generation direct injection system, torque gains make both 1,461cc units particularly responsive from low engine speeds. The 50 kW version develops 160 Nm at a low 2,000 rpm while the 63 kW model boasts a remarkable 200 Nm, also from 2,000 rpm.
With a top speed potential of 155 km/h (97 mph), the 50 kW diesel takes 16.5 secs to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) from rest and returns 5.2 l/100km (54.6 mpg) on the combined cycle. Equivalent figures for the 63 kW version are 168 km/h (105 mph); 13.0 secs and 5.1 l/100km (55.6 mpg).Transmissions
Like the diesel engines, NOTE's cable-operated five-speed manual transmissions were originally developed by Renault. An advanced, Nissan developed, electronically controlled four-speed automatic with extended slip lock-up control offers smoothness, economy and sharp responses. It is available on the NOTE 1.6 petrol engine.STRIKING THE RIGHT NOTE
Over the past few years Nissan models have become known for their generous standard equipment lists, and NOTE is no different. But like Micra, Murano and the rest, NOTE has no gimmicky extras: if a feature is found on the specification list it's because it has a genuine reason for being there.
'Anyone who has used Nissan's Intelligent Key will appreciate how it enhances the ownership experience. It's the same with Friendly Lighting and Rain Sensing Wipers. All these features – and quite a few more – can be found on NOTE.'
Pierre Loing, Vice President Product Strategy & Planning, Nissan EuropeAt a glance
- Family Pack
- Sliding rear seat
- Automatic lighting control
- Friendly lighting
- Intelligent Key
- Full safety features Family Pack
Following customer clinics with typical rear seat passengers – youngsters between
8 and 16 years of age – Nissan has developed a special Family Pack for NOTE. Standard on Acenta and Tekna models, among its elements are a wide rear centre armrest, a fold down armrest on the driver's seat, folding picnic tables in the rear, each with a supported cup holder, and expandable double pockets on the back of the front seats.
Another unique feature of NOTE is the Flexi-Board. Also standard on Acenta and Tekna models, the modular double-sided boards can be fitted in a number of different positions in the trunk area to provide a flat floor for loading, a cover for a roomy luggage well or a washable surface onto which muddy items can be placed.
Other features found as standard on Acenta models include 15 inch alloy wheels, electrically controlled and heated door mirrors, reading lamps in the front and rear, front seat secret storage, trip computer and height adjustable driver's seat. Intelligent storage
The key to NOTE's practicality, however, lies in its interior space and the many intelligent storage features to be found. All models have a clever sliding rear seat, which can be moved a total of 160mm fore and aft to increase rear leg room or luggage space depending on requirements.
The rear seatback folds on a 60/40 split and there is no need to remove head restraints before so doing. In addition, the front passenger seat can be reclined to create a load area 2.40 metres long.Innovative glovebox
Oddment stowage is equally generous. The glovebox, which can be warmed or cooled, has a capacity of 9 liters, while its innovative lid incorporates a 4 liters capacity slot into which a road atlas can be stored.
The dashboard includes a lidded storage box above the audio unit which can hold up to three CDs, coins or mobile phone. At the base of the centre stack there are two cup holders each capable of holding a 500ml bottle. The centre console between driver and front passenger includes two further cup holders, CD storage and space for small items such as toll cards and coins.
Deep front door pockets can store A4 books or magazines or up to eight CDs while there are two coat hangers in the rear, a ticket holder incorporated into the driver's sun visor, up to three 12v power sockets and six luggage tie down hooks. Following the lead set by Micra, there is also a secret storage area underneath the front passenger seat squab.Lighting the way home
The Friendly Lighting system, which is standard on every NOTE, allows the headlights to remain lit for up to two minutes after the car has been parked and locked. Just before leaving the car, the driver pulls the main beam flasher stalk to allow the headlights to illuminate the path home. The lights automatically turn themselves off once their job has been done.
Auto Lights and Rain Sensing Wipers are both ‘set and forget' items. Once activated, sensors monitor the prevailing light, switching on the headlights at dusk or when the car enters a tunnel or an underground car park… and off again once the car returns to daylight. Similarly, the rain sensing wipers automatically operate and adjust the speed of the wipers if it starts raining. Another neat feature is the auto rear wipe: if the front wipers are switched on, the rear screen is automatically wiped when reverse gear is engaged.Intelligent Key
It's pouring with rain and the wind is threatening to turn your umbrella inside out. The sooner you can get inside your car, the better. Only trouble is, you've mislaid your key. It's either in a pocket, or at the bottom of a bag. Úntil you find it and press the button on the key fob, you're getting soaked and the door of your car remains resolutely locked.
Únless you have a Nissan NOTE, of course. Nissan's Intelligent Key means that it really doesn't matter where the key is – provided it's about your person somewhere, all you need is press a button on the door handle and you're in. Sensors in the car scan the airwaves for signals transmitted by the key and, providing they match, the simple act of pressing a button unlocks the door.
Nor do you need the key to start or stop the engine. Again, providing the key can be found by the sensors, all you need to turn the engine on or off is twist a knob on the steering column. Failsafe, too. Leave the key in a coat pocket on the back seat and the system won't let you lock the door until the key has been removed from the car.Ownership experience
Intelligent Key first appeared on the Micra and was an immediate hit with owners. It is typical of the ‘intelligent extras' to be found on Micra and now adopted on NOTE: but they only appear on either car if they genuinely add to the ownership experience.
Among the standard or optional equipment available on NOTE are manual or automatic air conditioning, an in-dash six disc CD changer, a comprehensive trip computer with steering wheel mounted remote control, auto lighting, Friendly Lighting, rain sensing wipers, auto rear wipe, parking sensors and privacy glass, electric folding mirrors. Digital Sound Processing
Every model has a radio/CD unit as market standard or option, either a single disc player or the double DIN in dash multi changer with six speakers. Four or six speakers are available depending on grades. The multi-changer unit also features Digital Sound Processing (DSP), which allows the user to choose one of four settings to enhance sound quality.
A further refinement is the provision of steering wheel mounted remote controls which embrace volume control, a mode button (for changing between radio wavelengths and CD playback) and station or track seek facility.
Another button operates the trip computer. The display, which can found in the centre of the instrument panel, shows a whole range of information from average speed and fuel consumption to outside temperatures and range to empty.Battery Save
There's little chance of running down the battery inadvertently, either. Should the interior lights be left on once the car is parked and the engine switched off, Battery Save will monitor the situation. If no passenger action is detected, the lights will be switched off after a set time.
Electric front windows, with one touch up and down control on the driver's side, are standard on all versions of NOTE, with electric control for the rear windows available on certain grades. Other standard features on all models include a passenger airbag cut off switch, electric power steering and remote central door locking.Leather upholstery
Top Tekna versions add part leather upholstery, aluminium pedals, front fog lamps, electric folding door mirrors, automatic lighting, rain sensing wipers and ESP on the 1.6 version. (On the diesel engine models, ESP is available as an option).Exclusive new colours
For those with an eye for colour, there's a range of ten body colours, including two exclusive new colours: Sport Blue and Sunny Yellow. There's also an eye-catching orange available which is reminiscent of the distinctive copper colour to be found on the Murano.
Stylish wheelcovers, black door handles, mirrors and side guard mouldings distinguish Visia versions. As well as alloy wheels, Acenta versions have body coloured door handles and mirrors while Tekna adds front fog lamps and body colour door mouldings.Safety first
As befits a family car, NOTE has a full complement of safety equipment. Active safety equipment embraces anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist (BAS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) while top-of-the-range versions also have the benefit of the electronic stability programme (ESP). Passive safety equipment starts with four airbags. Standard on all models, there are two at the front for the driver and passenger plus thorax side airbags mounted in the front seats, offering extra protection for the front passengers in a side impact. Additional protection is available to the head against side impact for front and rear passenger from the optional curtain airbag.
The front passenger airbag can be deactivated to enable a rear facing child seat to be used. The cut-off switch is located on passenger side of the dashboard and is accessible when the door is opened. It is activated using the vehicle key, so the bag cannot be switched on or off inadvertently. An audible driver's seatbelt reminder on all models is a further safety measure.
Front seat belts are equipped with pre-tensioners to take up any slack in the seat belt at the moment of impact. Úsing sensors to determine the speed of deceleration - and therefore the severity of the crash - the system triggers a pyrotechnic gas generator to rewind the retractor thus tensioning the belt. All three rear seats have full three point harnesses, the belt for the middle seat being incorporated into the seat itself rather than hanging from a housing in the vehicle's roof for ease of use. To avoid high loading from the seat belt, a load limiter is incorporated to minimise injury on the collar bone or thorax.
'The key to NOTE's items of equipment is not how flashy they appear under the showroom lights, but how often they will be used in the real world. We are confident that because they have genuine practical benefits, the features will have lasting appeal' says Gilles Moynier, Chief Marketing Manager, Nissan Europe.B+: A GROWING SEGMENT
Originally seen as no more than a small niche, the B+ segment is growing in importance in Europe. Offering more space than traditional B-segment hatchbacks, but without the extra cost of a C segment hatchback or MPV.
'This is still a young sector of the market as the wide variety of competitor cars – everything from estates to tall mini-MPVs – show. But most rivals are variations on existing themes: NOTE is genuinely different.' says Brian Carolin, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Nissan Europe.At a glance
- New market enjoying rising sales
- Germany and Italy biggest markets
- Varied competitor choice
- NOTE seen as dynamic, roomy and youthful
- The antidote to dull MPVs
A comparatively recent market phenomenon, sales in the so-called B+ segment of the European new car market are rising at an unprecedented rate.
NOTE is built at Europe's most productive plant, Nissan Motoring Manufacturing ÚK (NMÚK) at Sunderland in the North East of England.
'Nissan's plant in Sunderland is Europe's most productive plant and the ÚK's biggest exporter of motor vehicles. Thanks to the flexibility, efficiency and attention to detail at the heart of the Nissan Manufacturing Way, we are sure that NOTE will set the standard in terms of quality and reliability of cars in this part of the market.'
Colin Dodge, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing, Purchasing and SCM, Nissan Europe.At a glance
- Sunderland: 21 years of achievement
- Five model plant with more to come
- ÚK's biggest exporter of cars
- Europe's most productive plant
NOTE is built in Europe at Nissan Motor Manufacturing ÚK (NMÚK), the company's highly productive plant in Sunderland in England's North East. Its arrival takes the number of different models built at the site to five: the others are Micra, Micra C+C, Almera and Primera.
And by the end of 2006 yet another model will join that roster: known internally by its project name P32L, it's the production version of the crossover 4x4 Qashqai show car, first shown at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show. Success story
The Sunderland plant is an incredible success story. From a muddy field to a record-breaking facility took little more than 15 years. Nissan and the ÚK Government signed an agreement to build the plant in 1984 (NMÚK celebrated its 21st birthday in 2005) and by 1999 it was acknowledged as Britain's biggest car plant – a position it has held every year since.
It took just two years from that historic 1984 agreement before the first car for commercial sale – a Nissan Bluebird – rolled off the production line. By the end of that year, 1986, the plant employed 470 people and made a grand total of 5,139 Bluebirds all for home consumption. At that point it represented an investment of €70 million.Export achievement
From small beginnings the Sunderland facility quickly got into its stride. Exports began in 1988 with around one in every four cars produced destined for overseas. But just two years later, in 1990, exports accounted for 85 per cent of total production. Today around 250,000 of the 315,000 cars built annually – nearly eight out of every ten – are exported.Half million milestone
In 1990, the Bluebird was replaced by the original Primera and in 1992 the milestone half-millionth car was built. At the same time the plant in Sunderland opened a second production line, for the then current Micra.
Over the next decade NMÚK really hit its stride, producing record numbers of cars and winning award after award for export achievements. By 1995, it had built one million cars and one million engines while five years later a third model, Almera, was added.Most productive plant
In 2003, the year in which Sunderland built a record 331,924 vehicles, NMÚK was identified as the most productive plant in Europe… for the seventh successive year.
Last year, 2005, a total of 317,000 vehicles were built comprising more than 44,000 Primeras, more than 99,000 Almeras, almost 168,000 Micras and 6.000 Micras C+C. ÚK's biggest car exporter
Representing a total investment to date of more than €3 billion, NMÚK has been the ÚK's biggest car exporter for six years and accounts for 20 per cent of the country's total car production. It is estimated that Nissan's decision to locate in Sunderland has been responsible for more than 20,000 jobs being created in the ÚK's North East regions in the vehicle manufacturing, component supply and service industries.Source - Nissan