Nissan has unveiled the third-generation Nissan Note in Japan, where it will go on sale from December 23. The Note – Nissan’s best-selling model in its home market – will now come exclusively with the company’s e-Power electrified powertrain. Yup, no standard petrol variants.

“In 2016, the Note e-Power became a hot seller as soon as it started sales in Japan. With this all-new Note, we want to bring the joy of e-Power to even more customers. Once you experience e-Power, you will instantly discover why it has been well received by customers. It offers linear and exhilarating acceleration that is unique to 100% electric motor drive, but without the restraint of battery charge. This is the power of e-Power,” said Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta.

Nissan rolled out e-Power, a unique hybrid system where the ICE never powers the wheels, with the facelifted second-gen Note in late 2016. This year, the Japanese carmaker rolled out the Kicks e-Power in Japan, Thailand and Indonesia; so far, they’ve sold 430k e-Power cars, and next up for the powertrain is Europe and China.

The new Note comes with a second-generation e-Power system that has been “extensively redesigned and redeveloped” with “more power, a higher-quality driving experience and improved efficiency”. There’s a new electric motor and inverter. E-motor torque has been increased by 10% and output by 6% (previous-gen had 109 PS/254 Nm), and the control tech has been tuned to achieve smoother acceleration and even lower cabin noise.

The new inverter is 40% smaller and 30% lighter. The petrol engine used to generate electrical energy is more efficient, and has increased power and better fuel economy. No engine spec mention (the old one used a 1.2L HR12DE with 79 PS/103 Nm), but Nissan says that the ICE now operates at a lower RPM and is engaged less often during a typical drive. Coupled with enhanced insulation in the vehicle body, customers will get “quietness that’s a class above typical compact cars”.

Speaking of that, here’s a unique feature billed as a world first. In the new Note, electrical energy generation is controlled according to road conditions. When road noise increases due to surface conditions and vehicle speed, the engine switches on to charge the e-Power battery pack. This reduces the need for the engine to operate under otherwise quieter conditions. This means that you’ll notice the engine less.

In Japan, every model has an AWD option, and the Note range will feature a “truly electric all-wheel drive model” with dual electric motors in the front and rear. The AWD variant will be revealed next month. In another first for Nissan, 1,470 MPa ultra-high tensile steel has been adopted in new Note’s chassis, contributing to both weight reduction and improved safety performance.

With what’s under the skin covered, let’s wow at the new Note’s design, which is a huge departure from the outgoing high-roofed mini MPV. Penned according to Nissan’s latest Timeless Japanese Futurism design concept, the simple yet modern and “distinctive Japanese approach” sets the Note apart from most compact cars.

Nissan’s signature V-motion grille forms a strong V-line under the slim headlamps. Character lines extend from the front, carving the side profile and transitioning through the horizontal rear lamps. Yokohama says that the front grille pattern draws from traditional Japanese design, and the “eyes” are four in-line LED projectors.

The wheels are 16-inch items with an inner design reminiscent of a sword blade. There’s also a two-tone body with a “floating roof” and the rear end has Nissan spelled out. Nice and clean, and looking like a mini version of the Ariya electric SUV that was revealed in July. The Ariya, the new Z car and now this – Nissan is becoming desirable again!

There will be 13 body colour options, including the Vivid Blue you see here and a new Opera Mauve tone specially created for the new Note.

The minimalist dashboard features an instrument panel screen and a touchscreen head unit that’s linked in an interesting way – they’re not on the same level. The high centre console is positioned for easy access to the downsized electronic shift lever and there’s plenty of space below the flyover. Of course, there’s wireless charging.

Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats and large armrests offer enhanced comfort, and the carmaker claims that rear space “far exceeds” segment norms, and the seatbacks recline as well.

In the safety department, besides the now-normal driver assist tech, Nissan’s ProPilot with Navi-link syncs the active cruise control with the navigation system on highways, detecting speed limit signs to automatically adjust speed. It also uses navi data to assess the angle of upcoming bends and decelerate the car accordingly.

In Japan, the new Nissan Note will be sold in three grades – S, F and X – priced from 2,029,500 yen (RM79,469) to 2,186,800 yen (RM85,628).

Recap the previous-gen Note and its e-Power system that was passed over by Tan Chong. What do you think of this new Note next to the also-fresh fourth-gen Honda Jazz which by the way, will not reach our shores this time around.

GALLERY: 2021 Nissan Note e-Power

GALLERY: Previous-generation Nissan Note e-Power