Nissan's city car gets larger and brawnier to rival larger small hatchbacks, but there are no plans for an Australian launch.
- shares

The 2021 Nissan Note Aura city car has been unveiled in Japan, but there are no plans for an Australian launch.

Revealed earlier this week, the Note Aura is the larger, 'widebody' twin to the regular Nissan Note E-Power city car unveiled in late 2020, intended to do battle with the Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf and other 'normal size' passenger vehicles in Japan – also referred to as '3 number' vehicles, derived from the '3xx'-series numbers displayed on the licence plates of these cars.

Sneaking the Note Aura into the class above is a 40mm-increase in width to 1735mm, thanks to flared front and rear wheel arches, blended into a tweaked exterior with C-shaped metallic elements in the front bumper, a new grille pattern and revised tail-light signatures.

The Aura's dimensions are otherwise carried over from the standard Note, with its 4045mm length, 1505mm height and aforementioned 1735mm width – making it just 12mm longer, 16mm narrower and 59mm lower than a Volkswagen Polo, one of the larger vehicles in the 'light car' segment in Australia.

14 exterior colours are available, including five two-tone combinations such as Garnet Red with Super Black, and Midnight Black with Sunrise Copper (both pictured). Larger 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted to flagship grades, versus the Note's 16-inch units.

Inside, the regular Note's 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay carries over, though it's now placed beside a fully-digital instrument cluster, likely the 12.3-inch unit employed for use in the new Qashqai small SUV – rather than the 7.0-inch display with digitised fuel and speed readout seen in the standard Note.

The 'Zero Gravity' comfort seats are trimmed in a choice of Herringbone tweed-patterned fabric, synthetic leather or genuine leather trim – the lattermost being quilted to "provide seating grip" – with the instrument panel, centre console, door trims and front armrest featuring a combination of tweed-like fabric and woodgrain.

The Note Aura gains the same Bose Personal Plus premium sound system debuted in the Juke light SUV, with speakers in the front headrests to deliver "a premium acoustic experience with the depth and breadth of sound unique to Bose."

It's backed up by increased noise dampening materials in the roof, doors and front-side glass.

Under the bonnet is an uprated version of the regular Note's E-Power hybrid system, which powers an electric motor on the front axle with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine (used as a generator) and a compact lithium-ion battery.

Tweaks have seen the e-motor now develop 100kW and 300Nm – up from 85kW and 280Nm – claimed to deliver stronger acceleration and a smoother driving experience.

A 'G-Four' all-wheel-drive model is also available, adding a 50kW electric motor on the rear axle – though combined power and torque outputs don't increase from the front-driver's claims.

Overseas media quote official fuel economy figures as 3.7L/100km in front-wheel-drive guise or 4.4L/100km with optional all-wheel drive – mild increases over the 2WD and 4WD Note's 3.5L/100km and 4.2L/100km claims.

Available safety features include Nissan's 'ProPilot' Level Two semi-autonomous driving system – allowing the Note Aura to accelerate, brake and steer itself within its lane on freeways – plus autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, auto high-beam, a 360-degree camera and rear-cross traffic alert.

The 2021 Nissan Note Aura is on sale now in Japan, priced between 2,610,300 yen (AU$30,800) and 2,957,900 yen (AU$34,900) – around AU$3000 more than an equivalent Note in entry-level guise.

Despite its sharp looks, modern cabin and frugal hybrid powertrain that could make for a formidable rival to the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, the Note Aura (nor the Note) won't be offered in Australia, with a spokesperson for the brand's local arm telling CarAdvice there are no plans to bring either city car Down Under, as both are Japanese-market only models.


Below: The regular 2021 Nissan Note