Likes

  • Nismo S offers an absolutely brilliant drive.
  • All of the pros that come with EVs with very few of the negatives.
  • Incredibly efficient powertrain.
  • Excellent reliability.

Dislikes

  • Sourcing spare parts, especially body panels can be interesting.
  • Expensive in comparison to non-hybrid rivals.
  • Insurance costs can ask a premium.
  • Be cautious of dodgy grey importers.

Stuff you should know

The Nissan Note e-Power – a once Japan-exclusive gem that has now found its way into the global market as a captivating grey import. This electrified marvel squares off against formidable rivals like the Honda Jazz/Fit, Mazda 2, and Toyota Yaris, but it takes a distinctive road less traveled in the world of hybrids.

In a departure from the norm, the Note e-Power doesn’t simply pair a petrol engine with electric assistance. Instead, it embraces a novel concept known as a series hybrid or range extender hybrid. Nissan dubs this trailblazing system “e-Power.” Here’s the ingenious twist: a pint-sized 1.2-liter three-cylinder petrol engine exclusively plays the role of a generator, devoted to recharging the vehicle’s battery pack. Once the battery is brimming with energy, it unleashes its power to an 80kW electric traction motor – a sibling to the one you’d find in the Nissan Leaf. While the Note carries a more modest 1.5kWh battery compared to the Leaf’s larger unit, it keeps the petrol engine in its corner, ready to refuel the battery as needed. The result? Jaw-dropping efficiency figures of 34 kilometers per liter or a mere 2.9 liters per 100 kilometers, translating into a remarkable range of around 1,500 kilometers on a single tank of petrol, assuming the stars align perfectly.

For aficionados seeking a dash of sportiness, the Note e-Power Nismo edition stands as a beacon of automotive prowess. These variants sport a dynamic appearance featuring LED headlights, exclusive badging, suspension tuning for a sharper ride, distinctive seats, a stylish body kit that commands attention, wheels that scream performance, and a striking interior splashed with bold red accents. And for those who crave even more electrifying power, the e-Power Nismo S version cranks it up with an additional 25% surge in electric motor potency, elevating the driving experience to a whole new level, arguably providing a glimpse to the future of hot hatches.

While the prospect of owning a Note e-Power through a grey import channel beckons with allure, it’s prudent to delve into the nuances and considerations that come with these unique importations. Keep reading to explore the intricacies of bringing this exceptional hybrid into your world.

What goes wrong

Exterior:

A minor concern that has been reported involves the potential failure of the third brake light. This issue typically arises from water intrusion into the hatch area, resulting in damage to the bulb. While we’re not talking about significant water ingress, it can still be a nuisance.

However, being a Nissan, there have been sporadic reports of minor electronic glitches on cars from this era. These issues may include occasional problems with door lock actuators, indicator relays, and power mirrors. It’s worth noting that such problems are infrequent and generally straightforward to rectify, but it’s wise to be aware of them.

The primary exterior concern lies in the event of an accident. If, the Note is involved in an accident, sourcing replacement parts and body panels can be a challenge. Unlike some vehicles where local dealerships readily stock parts, components for the Note typically need to be imported from Japan, resulting in both time and financial costs. In cases of minor scuffs, you can continue driving the car while awaiting parts, but for more substantial damage that takes the vehicle off the road, the waiting period for replacement parts can be uncertain.

 

Interior:

The good news is that we didn’t uncover any “common” issues. While there have been a few reports of air conditioning malfunctions, many of the air conditioning components are shared with other Nissan and Renault models, which can potentially make repairs more affordable.

Similarly, in contrast to the exterior, we didn’t find any electronic complaints specific to the Note. However, it’s worth noting that Nissans from this era can occasionally exhibit electronic quirks. Therefore, if you’re considering purchasing one of these vehicles, it’s advisable to thoroughly test all functions and features to ensure they are in proper working order.

 

Mechanically:

When it comes to significant problems and catastrophic failures with the Nissan Note e-Power, it’s worth noting that while these incidents can occur, they are statistically quite rare. In some instances, there have been reports of complete failures of the generator and drive motor. Some fortunate cases fell within the warranty period, while others incurred costs amounting to thousands of dollars for replacements. However, it’s essential to stress once more that such occurrences are not widespread.

Additionally, there have been isolated cases of software, inverter, and hybrid control complications, although these are not considered common issues.

Turning our attention to the internal combustion engine (ICE) responsible for generating power, charging the battery, and propelling the electric drive motor, it’s reassuring to know that this set-up avoids any of the common Nissan CVT dramas (thanks to a complete lack of transmission) component exists in several versions and is utilized in various Nissan, Renault, and even

Exterior:

A minor concern that has been reported involves the potential failure of the third brake light. This issue typically arises from water intrusion into the hatch area, resulting in damage to the bulb. While we’re not talking about significant water ingress, it can still be a nuisance.

However, being a Nissan, there have been sporadic reports of minor electronic glitches on cars from this era. These issues may include occasional problems with door lock actuators, indicator relays, and power mirrors. It’s worth noting that such problems are infrequent and generally straightforward to rectify, but it’s wise to be aware of them.

The primary exterior concern lies in the event of an accident. If, the Note is involved in an accident, sourcing replacement parts and body panels can be a challenge. Unlike some vehicles where local dealerships readily stock parts, components for the Note typically need to be imported from Japan, resulting in both time and financial costs. In cases of minor scuffs, you can continue driving the car while awaiting parts, but for more substantial damage that takes the vehicle off the road, the waiting period for replacement parts can be uncertain.

 

Interior:

The good news is that we didn’t uncover any “common” issues. While there have been a few reports of air conditioning malfunctions, many of the air conditioning components are shared with other Nissan and Renault models, which can potentially make repairs more affordable.

Similarly, in contrast to the exterior, we didn’t find any electronic complaints specific to the Note. However, it’s worth noting that Nissans from this era can occasionally exhibit electronic quirks. Therefore, if you’re considering purchasing one of these vehicles, it’s advisable to thoroughly test all functions and features to ensure they are in proper working order.

 

Mechanically:

When it comes to significant problems and catastrophic failures with the Nissan Note e-Power, it’s worth noting that while these incidents can occur, they are statistically quite rare. In some instances, there have been reports of complete failures of the generator and drive motor. Some fortunate cases fell within the warranty period, while others incurred costs amounting to thousands of dollars for replacements. However, it’s essential to stress once more that such occurrences are not widespread.

Additionally, there have been isolated cases of software, inverter, and hybrid control complications, although these are not considered common issues.

Turning our attention to the internal combustion engine (ICE) responsible for generating power, charging the battery, and propelling the electric drive motor, it’s reassuring to know that this set-up avoids any of the common Nissan CVT dramas (thanks to a complete lack of transmission) component exists in several versions and is utilized in various Nissan, Renault, and even Mercedes models. Generally speaking, this engine is known for its reliability, with no prevalent serious issues. Like any engine, occasional water pump leaks and ignition coil problems may surface. Therefore, with regular and thorough servicing, you should not anticipate an abundance of problems with this vehicle.

Exterior:

A minor concern that has been reported involves the potential failure of the third brake light. This issue typically arises from water intrusion into the hatch area, resulting in damage to the bulb. While we’re not talking about significant water ingress, it can still be a nuisance.

However, being a Nissan, there have been sporadic reports of minor electronic glitches on cars from this era. These issues may include occasional problems with door lock actuators, indicator relays, and power mirrors. It’s worth noting that such problems are infrequent and generally straightforward to rectify, but it’s wise to be aware of them.

The primary exterior concern lies in the event of an accident. If, the Note is involved in an accident, sourcing replacement parts and body panels can be a challenge. Unlike some vehicles where local dealerships readily stock parts, components for the Note typically need to be imported from Japan, resulting in both time and financial costs. In cases of minor scuffs, you can continue driving the car while awaiting parts, but for more substantial damage that takes the vehicle off the road, the waiting period for replacement parts can be uncertain.

 

Interior:

The good news is that we didn’t uncover any “common” issues. While there have been a few reports of air conditioning malfunctions, many of the air conditioning components are shared with other Nissan and Renault models, which can potentially make repairs more affordable.

Similarly, in contrast to the exterior, we didn’t find any electronic complaints specific to the Note. However, it’s worth noting that Nissans from this era can occasionally exhibit electronic quirks. Therefore, if you’re considering purchasing one of these vehicles, it’s advisable to thoroughly test all functions and features to ensure they are in proper working order.

 

Mechanically:

When it comes to significant problems and catastrophic failures with the Nissan Note e-Power, it’s worth noting that while these incidents can occur, they are statistically quite rare. In some instances, there have been reports of complete failures of the generator and drive motor. Some fortunate cases fell within the warranty period, while others incurred costs amounting to thousands of dollars for replacements. However, it’s essential to stress once more that such occurrences are not widespread.

Additionally, there have been isolated cases of software, inverter, and hybrid control complications, although these are not considered common issues.

Turning our attention to the internal combustion engine (ICE) responsible for generating power, charging the battery, and propelling the electric drive motor, it’s reassuring to know that this set-up avoids any of the common Nissan CVT dramas (thanks to a complete lack of transmission) component exists in several versions and is utilized in various Nissan, Renault, and even Mercedes models. Generally speaking, this engine is known for its reliability, with no prevalent serious issues. Like any engine, occasional water pump leaks and ignition coil problems may surface. Therefore, with regular and thorough servicing, you should not anticipate an abundance of problems with this vehicle.

Should you buy it?

Before we make the recommendation to buy or not buy, and let us clarify that it’s essential to consider that the Note Nismo S, might very well be the future of hot hatches. 

In the past, hot hatches were synonymous with compact, practical, and reasonably priced vehicles that aimed to provide an enjoyable driving experience through engaging handling.

However, in recent times, the hot hatch segment has shifted its focus towards raw acceleration and track performance, often at the expense of growing in size and cost.

Even as we look ahead to the next generation of electric hot hatches, models like the Hyundai Ionic 5 N are undoubtedly poised to deliver exhilarating performance. Still, they come with a hefty price tag, exceeding $100,000, and packing around 600 horsepower. The question arises: where and when can you truly exploit such power without running afoul of the law? Using that level of performance on public roads is a risky endeavour.

Now, let’s talk about the solution.

The Nissan Note e-Power combines efficiency, practicality, ease of ownership, affordability, and reliability. More importantly, from a driving perspective, it offers the sensation of speed that far exceeds its actual numbers while delivering an abundance of guilt-free fun on a consistent basis.

While models like the Polo GTI or Fiesta ST may outpace it in every scenario in terms of sheer performance, the Note e-Power remains equally entertaining and practical. Moreover, it has the potential to save you thousands in running costs.

So, should you

Before we make the recommendation to buy or not buy, and let us clarify that it’s essential to consider that the Note Nismo S, might very well be the future of hot hatches. 

In the past, hot hatches were synonymous with compact, practical, and reasonably priced vehicles that aimed to provide an enjoyable driving experience through engaging handling.

However, in recent times, the hot hatch segment has shifted its focus towards raw acceleration and track performance, often at the expense of growing in size and cost.

Even as we look ahead to the next generation of electric hot hatches, models like the Hyundai Ionic 5 N are undoubtedly poised to deliver exhilarating performance. Still, they come with a hefty price tag, exceeding $100,000, and packing around 600 horsepower. The question arises: where and when can you truly exploit such power without running afoul of the law? Using that level of performance on public roads is a risky endeavour.

Now, let’s talk about the solution.

The Nissan Note e-Power combines efficiency, practicality, ease of ownership, affordability, and reliability. More importantly, from a driving perspective, it offers the sensation of speed that far exceeds its actual numbers while delivering an abundance of guilt-free fun on a consistent basis.

While models like the Polo GTI or Fiesta ST may outpace it in every scenario in terms of sheer performance, the Note e-Power remains equally entertaining and practical. Moreover, it has the potential to save you thousands in running costs.

So, should you consider purchasing one? Absolutely, without a doubt. It’s genuinely one of the most remarkable cars we’ve had the pleasure of driving.

Should you buy it?

Before we make the recommendation to buy or not buy, and let us clarify that it’s essential to consider that the Note Nismo S, might very well be the future of hot hatches. 

In the past, hot hatches were synonymous with compact, practical, and reasonably priced vehicles that aimed to provide an enjoyable driving experience through engaging handling.

However, in recent times, the hot hatch segment has shifted its focus towards raw acceleration and track performance, often at the expense of growing in size and cost.

Even as we look ahead to the next generation of electric hot hatches, models like the Hyundai Ionic 5 N are undoubtedly poised to deliver exhilarating performance. Still, they come with a hefty price tag, exceeding $100,000, and packing around 600 horsepower. The question arises: where and when can you truly exploit such power without running afoul of the law? Using that level of performance on public roads is a risky endeavour.

Now, let’s talk about the solution.

The Nissan Note e-Power combines efficiency, practicality, ease of ownership, affordability, and reliability. More importantly, from a driving perspective, it offers the sensation of speed that far exceeds its actual numbers while delivering an abundance of guilt-free fun on a consistent basis.

While models like the Polo GTI or Fiesta ST may outpace it in every scenario in terms of sheer performance, the Note e-Power remains equally entertaining and practical. Moreover, it has the potential to save you thousands in running costs.

So, should you consider purchasing one? Absolutely, without a doubt. It’s genuinely one of the most remarkable cars we’ve had the pleasure of driving.

Need help with finance?

What is the car's build year?

2020

Loan Amount

$5,000

Finance estimate ~

$30

Per week*

8.49%

Comparison rate p.a#

Models, pricing & features

Nissan Note ePower Nismo S-1

Nismo ePower

Price when new: $25,700 - $39,000

Price used: $18,000 - $36,000

Standard features:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Unique NISMO exhaust tail pipe
  • Unique NISMO front bumper
  • NISMO badging
  • Custom front grille, rear bumper, roof spoiler and side sill protector
  • Shark fin antenna
  • Bespoke tuning and suspension system
  • Bespoke NISMO front stabiliser
  • LED hyper daytime running lights
  • e-Power mode switch/indicator
  • Hill start assist
  • Dual Airbags
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
  • Brake assist (BA)
  • Traction Control
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • 3-point lap/sash seatbelts
  • Front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters
  • ISOFIX child anchors
  • 360 degree camera
  • Halogen headlights
  • Auto headlights
  • Insulated UV glass
  • Push button start
  • Tilt Adjustable steering wheel
  • Multi-functional sports Alcantara steering wheel
  • Black roof liner
  • Electric mirrors
  • Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s auto up/down
  • Single-zone climate control
  • 2 front speakers
  • NISMO sports seats with suede upholstery with NISMO logo and red stitching
  • Driver and passenger seats – manually adjustable
  • 12-volt power socket
  • Centre console storage
  • Front and rear door pockets (with bottle holders)
  • Glove box
  • Driver and passenger vanity mirrors
  • 60:40 rear split seats

Nismo ePower S

Price when new: $28,400 - $43,600

Price used: $20,000 - $40,000

In addition to NISMO:

  • Unique NISMO S badging (front and rear)
  • LED headlights

Tech specs

Body Styles

  • 5-door hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder hybrid petrol, 80kW / 254Nm (Nismo ePower)
  • 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder hybrid petrol, 80kW / 320Nm (Nismo ePower S)

Fuel Consumption

  • 2.9L / 100km

Length

  • 4165mm

Width

  • 1695mm

Height

  • 1530mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1250kg

Ancap Ratings

  • Not tested

Body Styles

  • 5-door hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder hybrid petrol, 80kW / 254Nm (Nismo ePower)
  • 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder hybrid petrol, 80kW / 320Nm (Nismo ePower S)

Fuel Consumption

  • 2.9L / 100km

Length

  • 4165mm

Width

  • 1695mm

Height

  • 1530mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1250kg

Ancap Ratings

  • Not tested

Body Styles

  • 5-door hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder hybrid petrol, 80kW / 254Nm (Nismo ePower)
  • 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder hybrid petrol, 80kW / 320Nm (Nismo ePower S)

Fuel Consumption

  • 2.9L / 100km

Length

  • 4165mm

Width

  • 1695mm

Height

  • 1530mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1250kg

Ancap Ratings

  • Not tested

Warranty & servicing

Warranty

  • No warranty – grey import

Servicing

  • 10,000km / 12 months

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Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of Sep 29, 2023.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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