14 April 2024
Nissan Note e-POWER Facelift Review – The Great Gets Better

The all-new Nissan Note e-POWER combines technology and practicality into a neat little hatchback package.

In the bustling streets of Singapore, compact cars have always been well-received by the public. These pint-sized powerhouses are a hit among local drivers, offering the agility needed to navigate our compact urban sprawl with ease.

Within this fiercely contested segment, Nissan throws its hat in the ring with the Nissan Note e-POWER, eager to carve out its share of the market pie.

Embodying Nissan’s latest design ethos: “Timeless Japanese Futurism.”, it has just gone through a facelift, arriving fresh on our shores with new looks.

Nissan believes this philosophy sets the Note apart in a sea of hatchbacks, giving it a unique edge in a competitive landscape.

Compact Charm

The Nissan Note has certainly grown up from its earlier, more diminutive versions. The latest iteration sports a bolder, bulkier physique.

The Note’s new front fascia is much sleeker too, with its clean lines and uncluttered look.

The angular LED headlamps give it a distinctly aggressive look. Contrasting this fierceness, however, are arguably the smallest fog lights you’ve seen on any vehicle – adorable yet surprisingly effective at slicing through poor visibility.

The design is rounded off with a neatly styled rear diffuser and a black-accented spoiler, enhancing the car’s handsome profile. New bumpers are also colour-coded, giving the car a cleaner aesthetic.

In terms of aesthetics, the facelifted Note rolls out on stylish new 16-inch alloy wheels, though traditional steelies with hubcaps remain an option for the more conservative buyer.

Fresh colour options are also available; 10 in total, Nissan isn’t holding back. There’s something for everyone in this new palette. 

Bang For Your Buck

Nothing much has changed on the inside of the Nissan Note; it’s still the professional and premium aesthetic you know and love.

The first touchpoint that catches your eye is the Nappa leather that swathes the seats, extends to the door sills, and wraps the steering wheel, creating a tactile experience that rivals premium competitors like BMW.

Dubbed the “Zero Gravity Seats” by Nissan, these seats live up to their name, offering great comfort on long journeys.

While the front of the cabin boasts such luxurious touches, the rear seats maintain the premium feel with the same fine leather.

Accessibility is a key feature here, with all four doors opening to nearly 90 degrees, making ingress hassle-free for all passengers. However, the legroom might feel a tad cramped for taller passengers due to slightly shorter seats. Regrettably, the rear still doesn’t pamper passengers with charging ports, climate controls, or aircon vents.

Driving is managed by a D-shaped steering wheel that houses multifunction controls, enabling the driver to manage settings, audio, and phone calls with ease. Cruise control remains absent in this facelift.

One unique feature in the Note’s cabin is its futuristic gear selector lever. It’s slick, feels intuitive like a computer mouse, and shifts through gears smoothly. Nearby, a switch allows for seamless toggling between driving modes, as well as features like auto hold and EV mode.

The absence of a traditional transmission has allowed for a clever redesign of the centre console, providing a substantial storage area beneath the gear selector.

The same 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system is around, compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While these connections aren’t wireless, they work flawlessly with a charging cable, ensuring a stable link to all your smart devices.

Driver information is crisply displayed on a 7-inch Digital TFT Instrument cluster, which cleverly integrates traditional and modern display elements to show various driver aids and system statuses.

The practicality of the Note is not just skin deep. It boasts a spacious 340-litre boot, ready to handle the daily demands of life.

The wide aperture of the boot makes loading a breeze – an undeniable advantage in the compact car category.

Mighty Mouse

The Nissan Note e-POWER has proven itself that its new powertrain is simply fantastic.

For those not yet acquainted with the e-POWER setup, imagine it as an electric vehicle (EV) that’s escorted by an onboard generator. The 1.2-litre petrol engine doesn’t propel the car directly but acts as a dynamo, generating electricity that’s stored in the battery.

This stored energy then powers the electric motor that drives the wheels. Unlike hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, the Note’s wheels are exclusively turned by electric power, sidestepping direct mechanical engagement from the engine.

This arrangement allows the Note e-POWER to punch above its weight class. Despite a modest horsepower of 114 bhp, the torque figure – a robust 280Nm – speaks volumes about its underlying muscle.

The e-POWER drivetrain endows the Nissan Note with an almost instantaneous thrust akin to EVs, which is quite delightful. The Note responds with a zest that belies its compact dimensions, making overtaking and merging on roads feel effortlessly assertive.

Steering is light, adding to the ease with which the Note can tackle sharp turns, akin to a lively puppy eager to dash at every chance. Particularly noteworthy is Nissan’s One Pedal drive, which allows regenerative braking while decelerating.

EV mode is available too, albeit with a limitation: it only kicks in under ECO, provided the battery is sufficiently charged. But with a mere range of 3-5km, it’s more of a novelty than a practical feature.

However, the system isn’t without its quirks. Under full throttle, the engine can sound strained and noisy as it works overtime to charge the battery – a minor gripe only noticeable during spirited driving.

Most of our time testing the Note was spent in ECO mode, which felt more than adequate for everyday driving. There’s seldom a need to switch modes for an extra burst of speed.

Fuel efficiency is another strong point for the Note. Even with dynamic driving, we achieved 15.7km/litre. Nissan suggests that up to 21.7 km/litre is possible, though a more realistic expectation with conscientious driving would hover around 18-19km/litre.

The Note’s commitment to safety and convenience is evident in its suite of Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies. Features like Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Emergency Braking work diligently to prevent would-be accidents. 

All in all, the Nissan Note e-POWER is a testament to how traditional driving norms can be enhanced with clever engineering.

Improving On What Is Already Great

The Nissan Note e-POWER marries the pragmatic virtues of a fuel-sipper with the vivacious spirit of a sporty hatchback, transforming from one to the other with just a spirited press on the accelerator. It’s particularly well-suited for new drivers or those seeking a no-fuss, enjoyable ride.

Now that Nissan specs all new Notes with the good stuff from the Premium model of the past as standard (Nappa leather, alloy rims, battery warranty, etc), it gives even more reason to sign on the dotted line.

Nissan has been on an upward trajectory in recent years (just look at the e-POWER X-Trail), and the Note e-POWER is a testament to this progress. 

With its dual personality, the Nissan Note e-POWER ensures that whether you’re cruising for efficiency or darting through traffic with zest, you’re in for a ride that’s as rewarding as it is reliable.

Technical Specifications

Nissan Note e-POWER

Engine: 1,198cc 3-cylinder in-line 12-valve DOHC
Power: 114bhp (Combined)
Torque: 280Nm
Gearbox: Single Speed Reduction Gear (A)
Trunk Capacity: 340 Litres
Fuel Tank Capacity: 36 Litres
Fuel Economy: 24.4 km/L (claimed)

Price: S$149,800 with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Nissan Singapore

Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

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