2012 Nissan Note Review
My initial view of the Nissan Note - and this was from a casual observer's point of view - was that, it's a mundane car with nothing really going for it. This is not a surprising view as many other people would tend to concur. But not until I stepped into this second generation Nissan Note that I was totally transposed. Beneath the passive veneer lies a serious contender to the hatchback throne.
The Nissan Note entered production in 2005 and was initially sold in Japan and other select markets. The first generation known as the E11 was in production from 2005 to 2013. The second generation known as the E12 has been in production from 2012 to Present. It’s marketed alternatively as the Nissan Versa and locally competes with the Honda Fit, Toyota Ractis and Mazda Demio.
The 2012 Nissan Note is offered with 2 engine options. These are; the 1.2L HR12DDR supercharged engine and the 1.2L HR12DE normally aspirated engine. These are linked to an XTRONIC CVT transmission and available in both 2WD and 4WD.
2012 Nissan Note Grades
- Nissan Note S – This is the base grade that comes with the 1.2L HR12DE engine, Key start, manual AC, Radio/CD player, and 14-Inch steel rims.
- Nissan Note X – This grade comes with the 1.2L HR12DE engine, smart start, manual AC, Radio/CD player and 14-Inch steel rims
- Nissan Note X FOUR – This grade comes with the 1.2L HR12DE engine, 4WD, smart start, manual AC, Navigation/Infotainment and 15-Inch alloy rims
- Nissan Note S DIG-S – This grade comes with the 1.2L HR12DDR supercharged engine, smart start, automatic AC, Navigation/Infotainment and 14-Inch steel rims
- Nissan Note X DIG-S – This grade comes with the 1.2L HR12DDR supercharged engine, smart start, automatic AC, Navigation/Infotainment and 14-Inch steel rims and fog lights.
- Nissan Note MEDALIST – This is the luxury grade that comes with the 1.2L HR12DDR supercharged engine, smart start, automatic AC, Navigation/Infotainment and 15-Inch alloy rims and fog lights.
Legroom & Space
On the inside, the fascia is given a total overhaul with new buttons and LED displays. But it still maintains the minimalist and functional design from the previous generation. The most significant improvement is on the seating space. The fuel tank and bumper have been redesigned to free up space at the rear. At the front, the size of the engine bay has been reduced and the accelerator pedal shortened. These changes have greatly improved on the seating space that was already good in the previous generation. The legroom is sufficient for both rows and even tall people will be comfortable.
There are several storage compartments in the cabin that are useful for storing items such as smartphones, beverages, goggles, handbags etc. At the first row there are 4 cup-holders, door panel storage, a glovebox and center-box. For the second row, there’s a storage bin on the center-box
2012 Nissan Note Boot Space
The boot is fairly spacious and is comparable in size to that of the Toyota Ractis. When extra space is required, the rear seats can fold flat in a split configuration.
Other Extras: Navigation, AUX Power, USB charging port
Safety Features: SRS Airbags, ABS, Electronic Stability Control
The exterior remains largely the same as the previous generation except for some tweaks to give it a sleeker and modern look.
2012 Nissan Note Fuel Consumption
2012 Nissan Note Consumes 25.2 Km/L
2012 Nissan Note Acceleration
2012 Supercharged 1.2L Nissan Note accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 11.8 sec.
2012 Normally Aspirated 1.2L Nissan Note accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 13.8 sec.
2012 Nissan Note Fuel Tank Capacity: 41 Litres
2012 Nissan Note Ground Clearance
The 2012 Nissan Note has a ground clearance of 5.9 Inches(150mm). This is below the minimum recommended clearance of 6.5 Inches for Kenyan roads and it will not clear some speed bumps. It may be necessary to modify the ground clearance to adjust the car to Kenyan roads. Read our guidelines here on how to safely increase a vehicle’s ground clearance.
2012 Nissan Note Stability and Handling
When compared to its rivals such as Toyota Ractis and Honda Fit, the Nissan Note holds up pretty well. The 1.2L HR12DDR supercharged engine is sufficiently powered and its acceleration is smooth. The XTRONIC CVT marries well with the engine and gear shifts are timely. On the other hand, the naturally aspirated 1.2L HR12DE feels underpowered and it struggles to gain speed when pushed hard. Around corners, the Nissan Note handles itself well and body roll is minimal.
Minor Service – At 5,000 km. Requires Air Cleaner, Oil Filter, and Engine Oil
Major Service – At 10,000km. Requires Air Cleaner, Oil Filter, Fuel Filter, ATF Filter, Cabin Filter, Plugs, Front Brake Pads, Rear Brake Pads, ATF Oil, and Engine Oil
Spare Parts Availability, Cost & Where to buy
Service parts for Nissan Note are very affordable and widely available in Kenya. Body parts are not easily available as the car is still new in this market. This is likely to change in the coming months as the car gets shipped into this market. You can get listings for Nissan Spare Part shops in this link
2012 Nissan Note Reliability
The driving conditions in Kenya are significantly different from those in Japan and Europe. Reliability reviews done for those markets largely do not apply to the Kenyan market. There are differences in roads, fuel, climate, spares, and technical expertise. To give you accurate and reliable local insights, we interview experts such as mechanics and car dealers, who have in-depth knowledge of the Kenyan market. We also test the cars ourselves. Our aim is to give you the right information to enable you make an informed decision when buying a car.
The first generation Nissan Note was a reliable car with no major issues reported here in Kenya. Some electrical failures have been reported and owners complained of being stranded in traffic. But this issues are not widespread. We don’t expect much difference with the second generation in terms of reliability and if anything, it should be more reliable. We don’t know how the supercharged engine will hold up in this market especially with the quality of fuel but we will keep an eye on that.
With proper maintenance as per the owners manual, most issues can be avoided. To download the 2012 Nissan Note Owner’s Manual, click here.
Resale Value – Low
Cost of Ownership
Purchase Price: See Latest Nissan Note Prices here
Comprehensive Insurance: Average Ksh. 20,000/ per annum- Or
3rd Party Insurance: Ksh. 7,000/- per annum
Change of Tyres(If necessary) Ksh. 20,000/- for 4 Tyres
What we like about the 2012 Nissan Note
1. Spacious Interior
2. Excellent fuel economy
3. Affordable to buy and maintain
What we don’t
The 1.2L naturally aspirated engine is underpowered. Opt for the 1.2L supercharged engine instead
The Nissan Note is a car that does so much with so little. With a 1.2L engine it can accelerate from 0 to 100 Km/h in 11.8 seconds and with a small frame it can carry five adults comfortably. And to top it up, it sniffs a litre of petrol for every 25.2 Kilometers traveled. This makes it a good choice for people on a tight budget – an excellent economy car that costs less to own and drive.
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