The “Car of the Year” award goes to the Note Aura, a high-quality compact car



A premium compact car for private use with a small body and luxurious interior has made its presence known.

Most high-quality cars are large, and given the design of Japanese streets, consumers are reluctant to buy them. Compact cars are usually cheap but practical.

The Aura note, however, has turned this image upside down. It was named Japanese Car of the Year for its overall quality and rivals larger luxury cars.

This is the “Car of the Year” that revitalized Nissan.

Compact cars are popular and have the status of most of the cars sold. They are also the mainstay of their manufacturers. The battlefield is crowded, with rivals like the Honda Fit, Suzuki Swift, and Mazda2. Toyota, the company at the forefront of the automotive industry, has two models – the Yaris and the Aqua – in its compact car program.

Nissan aimed for victory with the grade. It has e-POWER technology with a fully electric drive train that supplies its electric motor with power.

The Note Aura is based on the Note, but has been widened by 40 mm. The headlights have a sharper design and the body of the car has an added impact. The engine output has been increased from 116 hp to 136 hp and the tires are 17 inches larger by 2 inches, which enables a more comfortable driving experience.

The most noticeable difference is certainly its interior. The dashboard, which combines tweed-like fabric with synthetic leather and beautiful wood-grained panels, is elaborate and visually appealing. Unfortunately, the seats have to be adjusted manually. It would have been better to offer electrically adjustable seats.

Although it is an option, the BOSE Personal Plus Sound System was installed for the first time. Loudspeakers have been built into the headrests of the front seats, giving a realistic impression that gives passengers the feeling of being in a concert hall.

Four models, including the Note and Note Aura, won the Japanese Car of the Year 2021-2022 award for their solid vehicle manufacturing and technology that Nissan is known for. There was a considerable gap between first and second place, 14 of the 60 jurors awarded the cars the full number of points. This is Nissan’s first award in 10 years since the 2011 LEAF.

This time I tested the second generation FF “G”. It has undergone a complete model change and offers a different driving experience than the first generation. When the e-POWER technology was introduced, the single-pedal drive was used, which enables the driver to control and even stop the car with just the accelerator pedal. Accelerating and decelerating with the gas pedal has become gentler on the latest model, which enables a more comfortable driving experience.

The ProPilot of the cruise control is also closer to autonomous driving. In sharp bends, it reads the map information from the navigation system and brakes automatically. The braking technology was so easy that at first I didn’t know why the car was slowing down. I was impressed with how far the technology has come. The suspension is particularly good. It can feel a bit bumpy in the city, but it shows excellent stability on roads with continuous curves such as mountain roads.

The sound of the engine running is a bit noticeable, but overall I had no objection to being voted Car of the Year. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone looking for a high quality home compact car.

Seats: 5 passengers
Total length: 4045 mm / approx. 13’3 “
Total width: 1735 mm / approx. 5’8 “
Total height: 1525 mm / approx. 5 ‘
Weight: 1260 kg / approximately 2778 pounds
Engine (power generation): 1198 cc in-line 3-cylinder
Maximum power: 82 hp
Motor (for driving): AC synchronous motor
Maximum power: 136 hp
Fuel consumption (in WLTC mode): 27.2 km / approx. 17 miles
Model price: ¥ 2,610,300 JPY / approx. 22,830 USD
Further information: The website is available in English here.



(Read Sankei Shimbun’s report in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Shigetaka Doi

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