Sunday, November 28, 2010
Nissan Micra Reviews
Nissan Micra Reviews
With more standard features than some luxury European cars and a starting price of just $12,990 ($13,990 drive away), the all-new 2011 Nissan Micra is by and large one of the best light cars on sale
Nissan is a car company run by people that actually love cars (believe it or not, that’s a rarity these days). The only major Japanese manufacturer that has managed to keep its soul amid the global financial crisis by building models that appeal to the heart of every car enthusiast, whilst also staying in touch with the everyday car buyer.
With the new Nissan Micra, Nissan is not taking ‘no’ for an answer. The model is all about delivering an affordable light car jam-packed with so many standard features that it’s bound to put the competition to shame.
Although more conformist than ever, the new Nissan Micra now appeals to a much wider range of potential buyers and it makes Nissan Australia’s ambitious target of 1,500 Micra sales per month a conceivable possibility.
The new model also covers the entire light-car segment. To celebrate the launch of newNissan Micra, Nissan brought Australia’s automotive press to a roof-top car park of Docklands tourist centre in Melbourne. Given the Micra isn’t exactly a GT-R or 370Z, the traditional Motorkhana style (or MicraKhana as Nissan called it) was adjusted to suit the car.
Test the car in its native environment: car parks, busy streets, tight spaces and inner-city driving.
First up, a "Nissan Micra" Ti 1.5-litre automatic. 15-inch alloy wheels; reversing sensors; auto folding door mirrors; intelligent key; push button engine start/stop.
With 76kW and 136Nm of torque, the range-topping 1.5-litre four-cylinder Micra accelerates with reasonable pace from a standstill and also on the road, making overtaking manoeuvres an easy task. All Micra’s have a turning radius of just 4.5m, so they can do tight turns pretty damn well. There are some rather cool features inside the new Nissan Micra too, simple but clever things.
Nissan says one of the ways it has improved the new Micra is by building a lighter car. If you also happen to care about the environment, you’ll be happy to know the new Nissan Micra is 98 percent recyclable.
Sitting behind the wheel the first thing I noticed was the lack of telescopic steering wheel adjustment (pulling steering wheel towards you), which is disappointing. The dashboard controls are pretty easy to manage and the seats are pretty good for the price.
The "Nissan Micra’s" internal computer has an anniversary reminder so you won’t forget birthdays or other special days. This resulted in lots of handbrake turns around tight corners with the car’s electric stability control having a panic attack.
The boot isn’t all that spacious but 60:40 split fold rear seats allow you to make good use of the Micra’s little space. As far as interior-practicality goes, the Nissan Micra still trails the Honda Jazz’s (but it’s also much cheaper).
It’s hard to review a car like the Micra without treating it like your own. In and around Melbourne CBD it’s easy to say the Nissan Micra is ideal, but so are pretty much all the cars in its class.
Take it for a test drive and you’ll notice pretty darn quickly that the new "Nissan Micra" is a generation ahead of its main rivals. Unlike the previous generation Japanese built Micra, the new one comes from Thailand. The new Micra measures 3780mm long, 1665mm wide and 1525mm high. It’s sold in over 160 countries, so if you’re an avid traveller of places relatively unseen, you’re more likely to find a Nissan Micra than a Big Mac (sold in 125 countries).
As it stands now, if you’re thinking about buying a new light car you’d be mad not to put the new Nissan Micra at the very top of your list.
The once mighty Nissan Micra is a vaporous ghost in Tyne and Wear these days, haunting Nissan’s Sunderland factory where workers once toiled over the froglike supermini.
The Nissan Micra best year was 2003 with British sales of 42,000, yet the annual projections for this fourth-generation car are for about 18,000. But then you need to add 20,000 Juke sales, 15,000 Notes and about 7,000 Pixo models, so Nissan shifts about 18,000 more cars into the segment than when the Micra ruled this Lilliputian car world.
If sales projections are pared, so, too, is the rest of the new Nissan Micra, in weight, design and specification. Two transmissions are available to drive the front wheels; a five-speed manual and a continuously variable unit. Nissan is quite open about the type of buyer who will be attracted to the Micra. With steering that only adjusts for reach, taller and shorter drivers will need the height adjustable driver’s seat that comes with the Acenta trim. While rivals use soft-touch materials in this sector, Nissan’s plastics are hard, if well fitted. Top speed is quoted at 106mph, with 0-62mph acceleration in 13.7sec.
The result is a fine riding car, with good bump absorption and body control through corners. The electronically assisted steering system is well-weighted and, thanks to a London taxi-rivalling turning circle, the Micra feels nippy and wieldy in traffic.
Nissan may be a little known car maker in India, but that’s about to change. The Nissan Micra is also pretty practical.
Like all Nissans, there is no traditional key on this car. It’s the first for a B-segment car.
The Micra is powered by a 1198ccc three-cylinder motor that makes 79bhp but unlike other three-cylinder motors sold in India, there is no balancer shaft used. Nissan says it has engineered the car with fewer parts to keep the weight down, and it sure seems to have helped. The car feels nice and sprightly and acceleration is impressive enough to satisfy most drivers. Straightline stability on the car is impressive as well. With a wheel at each corner and most of the weight contained between the wheels, the Nissan Micra drives more like a big car than a little one. Nissan has offered automatic climate control, a feature that’s not common among hatchbacks. Of course, all these features are reserved for the high-end model and in basic trim, you still get power steering and front power windows (manual at the rear). The front seats are very comfortable and Nissan has consciously made the nose of the car visible from the cabin; this is apparently a common complaint from first-time drivers who will make up a fair percent of Micra buyers.
Nissan needs to improve the seat squab before launching the car in India. It is clear that Nissan, known for its engineering and innovation skills, has the know-how to build very effective small cars. The new Micra may not look wildly exciting but behind its cheerful, cute lines lies solid engineering and innovation. How well Nissan tunes and adapts this car for Indian conditions remains to be seen but we are confident that the Nissan Micra will take to Indian roads like a duck to water.
What we don’t know is how Nissan will price the car. Some say that Nissan might even undercut the Swift to get market share. If Nissan prices the Nissan Micra right, it has a winner on its hands.