Nissan has launched the European version of its new global compact car, which will be sold as the Note on those markets.

Though it's less MPV-like than the previous Note, its design still appears more practical than spunky and it's biggest rival is likely to be the Honda Jazz.

Nissan SA has confirmed that the Note won't be coming to South Africa this year, but our contact says "we are still in discussion with our international product planning teams regarding our plans for 2014 and beyond." They haven't ruled it out, in other words.

There are no fireworks under the bonnet and the emphasis here remains focused on economy. Not only is an idle-stop system standard, but both petrol engines have just three cylinders. The two 1.2-litre units are available in normally aspirated 59kW/110Nm and supercharged 72kW/142Nm forms. A 66kW Renault-sourced 1.5-litre turbodiesel will also be on offer.

The Note will offer a suite of safety gizmos that are usually only found in larger segments, notable examples being Blind Sport Warning, Lane Departure Warning and an advanced Moving Object Detection system. What's more, it's the first car in its segment to offer the multi-camera Around View Monitor, which serves as a 'helicopter view' parking aid.

Nissan promises that the cabin will be particularly spacious, as well as versatile thanks to a sliding rear bench and a dual-height boot floor.