NISSAN CONNECT: JOINED UP THINKING FOR SMALL CARS
* Unique-in-segment communications technology
* Now standard equipment on Note and Micra Tekna models, competitively priced option on Note Acenta
* Full music and Bluetooth compatibility
* Up to the minute sat nav technology
When it comes to fully integrated in-car communications packages providing clear navigation, full mobile phone connectivity and the ability to listen to music in the way you want, the small car sector has been rather left out in the cold. Until now, that is, because Nissan is launching an all-new communication system, Nissan Connect, offering a level of innovation and affordability previously unavailable in compact family cars.
Typical of Nissan's philosophy of introducing segment-busting technology, this friendly, convenient system debuts in Note and Micra where it becomes part of the standard specification on Tekna models. It is also an option on Note Acenta models, yet despite its comprehensive list of features, the price is a very competitive £400 including VAT.
Nissan Connect has been designed to be intuitive, with buttons for the most commonly used functions and a touch screen for rapid navigation through the menu system. Further versatility comes from steering wheel mounted controls.
Audiophiles will appreciate the fact that as well as a single CD player and AM/FM radio, Nissan Connect offers full digital music connectivity. On Note models, open up the storage cubby on top of the dashboard and you'll find both a USB connector and a 3.5mm auxiliary input socket (aux in). That means tracks stored on iPods, other MP3 players, USB storage devices and USB external hard drives can be played via the in-car system (the equivalent connectors on Micra are located at the base of the centre console). MP3 and WMA sound files held on CD can also be played.
Once an iPod is connected, the touch screen can be used to search for and select tracks and while a track is playing, the song title, artist and directory folder are all displayed on screen. The steering wheel buttons offer volume adjustment and track selection.
Usefully, on Note models if you're nipping out of the car and want to leave an MP3 player hooked up, then it can stay concealed in the storage cubby away from prying eyes.
The music-listening possibilities don't stop there, since tracks on mobile phones or audio devices that support Bluetooth audio-streaming (A2DP) can be played wirelessly via Nissan Connect, with on-screen display of current track and selection of previous/next tracks.
Naturally, it is possible to make hands-free calls using Bluetooth-enabled mobiles and as long as your phone supports synchronisation, the phone book and call log are automatically downloaded.
Navigation features include gyro and speed sensors
When it comes to satellite navigation, Nissan Connect packs in all the user-friendly features of portable devices backed up with the latest technology for quicker and more reliable calculations.
In particular, as well as GPS navigation, gyro and speed sensors constantly monitor the car's movement, allowing quick responses and rapid rerouting when wrong-slotting. Furthermore, it means that if the GPS signal is weak - when entering a tunnel for example - then the navigation capability is retained.
Clear displays in either 2D or 3D formats are backed up by voice navigation (in nine languages) and destinations can be inputted using post codes. Zoom level adjusts automatically depending on road type, but the scale can be adjusted using the convenient dial on the right of the unit.
You can choose fastest or shortest route, but for the first time there's an ‘Eco' option which selects a route aimed at optimising fuel economy. That's complemented by TMC (Traffic Message Channel) with alternative route calculation when congestion levels are sufficiently high.
The advantages over an aftermarket system
Aftermarket portable navigation devices (PNDs) may be popular, yet there are a whole host of benefits to be had by opting for a fully integrated advanced communications package such as Nissan Connect. For a start it is seamlessly blended into the centre of the fascia, while a high resolution, 2-DIN 5 inch touch screen makes it easy to use and view. You also don't have the problem of hiding it or taking it with you when leaving the car and there's an added safety consideration: a portable unit may become a projectile in a crash. Above all, where Nissan Connect scores highly is in the number of advanced features it offers, including the gyro and speed sensors which make for a far more efficient sat nav capability.
Neither will the navigation database become outdated, since map updates can be purchased and easily loaded using an SD data card slot on the front of the panel. Similarly, points of interest and speed camera locations can be updated via the USB port.
Customer research reveals that the one aspect in which PNDs are perceived to be better is affordability, which is why Nissan is providing this advanced technology either as standard fit or as a very competitively priced option.
Taking Note of speed limits
Finally, as a further demonstration of Nissan's policy of introducing technology that isn't normally found in the compact segment, Acenta and Tekna specification Notes come equipped with a handy speed limiter - ideal in those situations such as motorway roadworks which normally require constant attention to avoid straying above the speed limit. The system is available with all three engines and both manual and automatic transmissions.