August 21, 2012
Fine Tuning the Note
In the run up to the launch of the new Nissan Note, the Global Media Center caught up with Chief Vehicle Engineer Kenichi Miyoshi to discuss the engineering that underpins the new model.
Q1. What were the engineering goals for the new Note?
Kenichi Miyoshi, chief vehicle engineer:
When we developed this car we focused on common global needs, such as its design, roominess and fuel efficiency. By meeting those goals, we have made a vehicle that is highly competitive in each market, and we believe our customers will welcome the package.
For fuel efficiency, we have become part of the global trend towards using downsized engines, in our case, combined with supercharger. This engine offers both great fuel efficiency and excellent driving performance.
We have also adopted various fuel-saving technology features, including improved aerodynamics, weight reduction and tires with a lower rolling resistance. This helped us to meet an aggressive goal to raise fuel-efficiency.
Safety features, the new engine and improved quietness are fundamental to the new Note, which we have packaged to meet the requirements of each market in which it will be sold.
Q2. How do you balance making a global model that’s sold in local markets?
As the Note will be introduced globally, we didn’t make a car that specifically targets a single market, but considering environmental requirements vary all over the world, we have found solutions that can satisfy global customers and put them all in one vehicle.
Although the Note is a compact hatchback, we thought deeply about not just the driver but also about families or friends using the rear seats. We looked at how those passengers sit, how they use the front seats and the rear seats. Then we decided the most suitable layout.
We aimed for was a “one class higher” feeling. For example, we strived to attain to ensure reduce noise levels inside the car to a class above competitors. For example, to reduce road vibration, we improved shock absorption by slightly increasing the suspension stroke, which also improved riding comfort.
Still, we plan to tune the car according local to conditions. For example, in markets in Europe, where customers tend to prefer a firmer ride and more responsive handling, we will refine the car accordingly.
Q3. How did Nissan approach making the new Note spacious?
We aimed for the best dimensions to maximize luggage space. We also optimized the ease with which customers get in and out of the car. For example, a wider rear door opening on the new Note makes it far easier to enter and leave the car.
We devised the interior to make the cabin feel roomier. We use innovative shapes inside the car and for the seats to improve visibility and to make the cabin feel more spacious.
For example, by placing the A-pillar further forward, the windshield is further from a driver, which generates a sense of spaciousness at the front of the cabin.
We devised a unique shape for the front seats and headrests, which helps create greater visibility from the rear and also adds to the sense of roominess.
Q4. Finally, what about quality?
We’ve used new “micro-grain” and “soft-feel” textures on the surface of the instrument panel, giving a less plastic-like feeling.
As an item used everyday, we have included Nissan’s Around View Monitor (AVM) in the new Note. We’ve also added items that are useful for customers, such as a larger glove box, as we strived to balanced engineering with good design.
Once you use them, I’m sure you’ll like what you see.