Nissan Note Strikes the Right Tone

New MPV makes its Japanese debut.

Nissan Note

The second generation Nissan Note makes its debut.

Tiny multipurpose vehicles have yet to establish a foothold in Canada or in the United States, but if such a vehicle was to come to the market, the Nissan Note might be one to fill that void. Also known as the Nissan Tone, the Note has been in production since 2004. This week Nissan announced that a new Note has made its debut, an MPV that has struck a responsive chord for more than 940,000 buyers to date.

B-Segment Model

Nissan’s Note sits on the automaker’s B-segment platform, what underpins the North American-spec Versa. The Versa is sold both as a sedan and a hatchback and as far as the design of the hatchback goes the two vehicles are similar, except the rear pillar of the Note pushes straight out and tapers down to the liftgate. This design gives it more storage room and offers buyers a layout that they would find in any MPV although on a smaller frame.

The new Versa Note goes on sale in Japan this fall and features a unique front fascia with large headlamps, rakish body lines and oversized wraparound tail lamps. The new style gives the vehicle greater room inside and comes with an advanced Around View Monitor to give drivers a better view of the car from above. This makes it easy for drivers to parallel park their Note by checking front and rear distances to other vehicles at the same time. AVM includes sonars located on the four corners of the vehicle and that information is featured on an in-dash display.

Strong Competition

Nissan’s goal with the Note is to help this model compete more effectively against similar offerings from Honda and Toyota reports Bloomberg Businessweek. The automaker has set a goal of selling 120,000 Notes annually in Japan with up to 230,000 sold elsewhere including in Europe.

Powering the next generation Nissan Note is a 1.2-liter four cylinder engine. That engine replaces the 1.5-liter four currently offered. Optionally, a supercharged three cylinder engine will also be offered. Both engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission.

Automotive Plants

Nissan has a plant in Japan and a second plant in the United Kingdom set aside for building the Note. Might this vehicle one day be built and sold in North America? It might given that one of its competitors, the Honda Fit, is sold here. Another model, the Toyota Aqua is sold as the Toyota Prius C here, but offered in gas-powered and hybrid editions in Japan. Both vehicles are hatchbacks with the Note having a more distinctive MPV shape.

Photo courtesy of Nissan Motors.