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The new Nissan Note e-POWER offers improved fuel efficiency and better technology, while still remaining practical and accessible.

04 Mar 2021


This is Nissan's newest hybrid offering, the new Note e-POWER. Here, the second-generation e-POWER drivetrain makes its debut, a further improvement on the company's own take on hybrid technology.

Combining the brand's latest design concept, a much more modern interior, as well as an improved electrified drive, Nissan is hoping that the new Note will bring even more drivers into the fold when it comes to hybrid technology.

So, what's it really like?

Tech forward

The car comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity
Visually, the new Note is quite a handsome-looking car. With its clean lines and sleek design, it definitely evokes the visual style of the all-electric Leaf, and marks a much more modern aesthetic than the outgoing generation Note.

It is inside, though, where you will feel the greatest improvement. The Note has definitely taken a big step forward as far as modern equipment is concerned. You get a fully digital dashboard that can be configured to display a variety of information.

The Intelligent Rearview Mirror offers an unobstructed view of what's behind you
The 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In this Premium trim, the car also comes with black Nappa leather upholstery, which lends the cabin a touch more class and comfort. There's also an Intelligent Rearview Mirror that uses a camera to show you what's behind the car.

As far as practicality is concerned, the Note delivers sufficient space for a family of five. This compact hatchback has a 340-litre boot, while the rear will accommodate three adults reasonably comfortably.

Tune up

The e-POWER system provides you with a strong 280Nm of torque, capable of urgent acceleration
Of course, a key selling point of this Note e-POWER is its hybrid drivetrain. If you're unfamiliar with Nissan's e-POWER technology, it's the company's own interesting take on a hybrid drivetrain. In this series hybrid model, the petrol engine (here a 1.2-litre engine) is used as a generator to produce electricity, which is stored in the battery and sent to an electric motor. It is the electric motor that drives the car's wheels.

As a result, the Note e-POWER achieves power figures that far exceeds what you would expect from a typical 1.2-litre engine. Here, the car has a nominal 114bhp but, more importantly, 280Nm of torque. Put your foot down and acceleration is prompt and urgent, allowing to overtake cars with relative ease.

Driven with care, the Note e-POWER can achieve 20km/L 
A hybrid drivetrain also promises fuel savings. With extra judicious driving, we managed to eke out 20.4km/L. Realistically, you should expect to achieve around 18km/L with generally sensible driving, which is still pretty good.

However, the drivetrain isn't without its faults. The key one is refinement - the engine sounds rough and quite noisy when its running, and it sounds rather terrible when pushed hard.

Drive it lightly, though, and things are much better. Acceleration is brisk and, with the regenerative braking in effect, you can do a lot of driving without touching the brake pedeal. 

Intelligent Lane Intervention uses braking to keep you within your lane
The Note also drives relatively easily. Steering is light (though lacking in any sort of feel), and the suspension is nice and soft. However, you want to tread a little lightly over bigger humps - the extra weight and soft suspension will cause the car to bobble quite harshly over big humps.

The Note e-POWER also comes with a number of safety systems, including High Beam Assist, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Lane Intervention. The latter uses braking (rather than steering input) to guide you back when the car detects you veering out from the lane.

Pushing ahead

The Nappa leather upholstery adds a touch of extra class and comfort
Yes, electrification is all the rage these days, what with the promise of exciting performance, emissions-free driving and Earth-saving ambition.

However, fully electric cars are right now still largely the domain of bigger, more expensive cars. Part of this is physics - with the current state of battery technology, to have good range, cars need sizeable battery packs. That means you need to accommodate more space within the car, as well as accounting for addition weight. A car of the Note's size is less amiable to such requirements. 

Then, there is the matter of price. EVs tend to cost more than the comparable ICE car. When you're paying 200k to 300k for a car, an extra 20k may not be as scary as compared to a 100k car. It's all a matter of perspective.

The Note still scores high on practicality, with a good-sized 340-litre boot
Therefore, when it comes to these relatively affordable and more price-sensitive models, hybrid technology appears to be the way forward, at least for now. And that makes a ton of sense. It offers efficiency and emissions improvements compared to an ICE car. At the same time, you don't have to worry about some of the compromises that comes with an EV car in this segment - namely limited range, extra weight and a significant price difference.

The Note e-POWER, then, makes a lot of practical sense. It delivers all the practicality and sensibility of a compact hatchback, combined with the improve fuel efficiency and extra accelerative urgency of an electrified drivetrain. And, it's just a nice car to live with - easy to use, inoffensive to look at, and just a simple, practical hatchback. 

The new Note e-POWER makes hybrid technology accessible and practical, without compromising overall practicality and utility
Starting from $99,800, it's admittedly not the cheapest car you can buy. Other cars in this segment like the Mazda2 and the Suzuki Swift are a fair bit cheaper. But this is a hybrid after all - on top of the improved efficiency, you do get more equipment and safety features (and, the Note is a little big bigger).

The Note e-POWER's direct competitor, the Honda Jazz Hybrid, is priced very similarly. This top spec Premium variant, at $102,800, is just a hair pricier than the Jazz's $101,999 asking price. 

It's clear that Nissan is leaning into this new technology. This new generation Note is offered solely in this e-POWER configuration and, you know what, that should be the way ahead. With development on the third-generation e-POWER system already ongoing, things can only get better from here on out.

Car Information

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Nissan Note e-POWER Hybrid Premium (A)
Rate it

Price

: $104,800

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder in-line 12-valve DOHC

Engine Cap

:

1198cc

Horsepower

:

85kW (114 bhp)

Torque

:

280 Nm / 2900 rpm

Transmission

:

Single speed reduction gear (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

-

Top Speed

:

-

Fuel consumption

:

21.7 km/L

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