The Thai auto market has started 2017 with a bang. We’re barely into the third week of the year and Honda has already kicked off proceedings with the launch of the City facelift. In an almost instant retaliation, Toyota will unveil a facelifted Vios this week. But of the three big Japanese players, Nissan could have the biggest say with the launch of the Note, which will happen tomorrow in Bangkok.

Biggest not just because the Note is an all-new model for Thailand, but it’s an eco car with affordable pricing. As revealed earlier, the Thai eco car Note is based on the latest facelifted model that made its home market debut late last year. The roomy high-roofed hatch will come with the proven 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine that currently powers the March and Almera eco cars. The 79 PS/106 Nm HR12DE unit will be paired to an Xtronic CVT automatic gearbox. No manual option.

The JDM Note e-Power comes with a unique hybrid system, and while Nissan recently brought Thai journalists to sample it in Japan, reports confirmed predictions that the hybrid powerplant will not make it to Thailand. Nissan is yet to test the e-Power system for global usage, but taxation and cost is the main reason why it won’t power the Thai eco car, which has to be affordable.

The Thai Nissan Note will come in two variants, V and VL, and the top one will be packed with safety features that are unprecedented in the eco car segment. How about Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning and 360-degree Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection?

All that will be on top of the expected family of airbags, ABS/EBD/BA, Vehicle Dynamics Control and Hill Start Assist. A very impressive package for an eco car, but we’ll have to wait on the pricing.

Feeling envious? You would think that Honda’s success with the Jazz might might tempt Tan Chong into introducing the Note in Malaysia – which should fare well if priced right, as it’s a roomy and versatile car with relatively interesting design (the Nismo-tuned Note received huge attention on this website) – but despite official previews and local sightings, don’t count on that happening anytime soon.

GALLERY: JDM Nissan Note e-Power


GALLERY: Nissan Note Nismo, pre-facelift