If anyone needed proof of the benefits resulting from the Renault-Nissan alliance and globalization, the all-new Nissan Micra provides it. Unlike the first, expensive Micras sourced from Nissan’s British plant, the newcomer is manufactured in Thailand, India, China and Mexico for sale in 168 countries.
Micras for quality-obsessed Japanese and Australian customers are being made in Thailand.
Not that our ‘red-hot’ compact car segment needs any more competition, but - priced from $12,990 (or $13,990 ‘Driveway) - the outstanding all-new Nissan Micra deserves to attract compact car buyers in big numbers.
Nissan Micra Overview
The all-new Nissan Micra is available in three models – entry-level ST, mid-spec ST-L and range-topping Ti. The ST is powered by a pugnacious 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine, while the others score a handy 1.5-litre four-cylinder.
With standard Vehicle Dynamic Control, anti-lock brakes, six airbags and air-conditioning, there’s no doubting the credentials of the all-new Nissan Micra. And when you toss-in great looks, a nicely styled interior, plus the best-in-class turning circle of 4.5-metres and a Five Star Green Vehicles Guide rating, the all-new Nissan Micra seems ideal for hip inner city residents, mums and first time car buyers.
Nissan has lasered-in on the all-new Micra as a crucial vehicle in its aspirations for sales growth and CEO Dan Thompson says the company is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to deliver 18,000 Micra sales per year. That’s good news for compact car buyers.
Nissan Micra Engine
Nissan cleverly set-out a drive route in and around Melbourne’s CBD, including its labyrinth of cobblestone laneways and a stop for coffee bayside in St Kilda. Clever because this is the environment in which most Nissan Micra owners operate.
Car Showroom tested both 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre engines over the route and both were commendable performers.
Don’t dismiss the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder – especially if most of your days are spend in the CBD or surrounding suburbs. With 56kW of power and 100Nm of torque (both marginally more than the Suzuki Alto) this long-stroke design (best for mid-range torque) engine punches above its weight and surprised us with its tenacious performance – easily outpacing the traffic on our drive route and providing more than enough hustle to enjoy a couple of sweeping corners alongside the Yarra River.
And with fuel consumption rated at 5.9l/100kms for the five-speed manual as tested - 6.5l/100kms for the four-speed auto – Nissan Micra is right at the very sharp end of the field. As a result, emissions are low too – rated at 138g/km (manual) or 154g.km (auto).
Nissan Micra is also sold with a 75kW/136Nm, four-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine which is from the same family as the 2.0-litre powerplant found in Nissan’s DUALIS compact SUV. Fuel consumption for the Nissan Micra 1.5-litre is as low as 6.5l/100kms and emissions are rated at 153g/km (both figures for the five-speed manual).
We drove the 1.5-litre Nissan Micra fitted with a four-speed automatic transmission and it too performed well around Melbourne.
Both were refined at all engine speeds with the 1.2-litre Nissan Micra emitting the hallmark three-cylinder growling exhaust note.
Nissan Micra The Interior
The all-new Nissan Micra takes a major advance inside with noticeably more space and significantly improved quality look and feel for the trim materials.
It’s smart too - Nissan Micra Designer Makoto Yamane went the simple route and, for example, the dashboard is made-up of 28 parts (50 parts is the norm for Micra-size vehicles). Such simplicity means lower weight (reduced fuel consumption) and less complexity (reduced costs).
This is evident in the circular instrument binnacle and similarly shaped glovebox – easy interchanging for left and right-hand drive Nissan Micra models means lower manufacturing costs.
Another example of smart thinking: the front passenger seat in the Nissan has a ‘flip-up’ base which contains a ‘hidden’ storage bin ideally sized to keep laptops and handbags out of sight while parked.
Behind the wheel of the all-new Nissan Micra, while the steering wheel only adjusts for height (not reach), the seat is height adjustable so we were able to dial-in a reasonable driving position. All-round visibility is excellent and the high, curved roof of the Nissan Micra provided abundant head-room.
Instruments are a stylish combination of speedo/tachometer with trip computer and warning lights displayed to the right. Nissan Micra provides reminder information in its trip computer – you can set it to remind you of important dates like anniversaries, birthdays…oh, and service dates too.
Audio is a single-CD, four-speaker CD system with Bluetooth integration.
Nissan Micra has a 60:40 split fold rear seat and space is amongst the best in the compact segment (also helped by that high roof). Luggage space is 251-litres.
Nissan Micra Exterior & Styling
Longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, the all-new Nissan Micra presents a more up-market, somewhat European look while maintaining the arched roof which is so important for interior space. Even the wheelbase is 20mm longer and this gives the new Nissan Micra both more interior space and a sleeker side view.
At the front, the all-new Nissan Micra sports a European-style two-grille look and large headlights without the bulging-out appearance of the previous model.
The rear has some curves and sculpturing around the hatch and a small roof spoiler – but again considerably tidier than the previous Nissan Micra.
Nissan Micra is available in a wide range of 10 exterior colours (all named after cities). However only two of them (Barcelona Red and Geneva White) are non-metallic so the other eight colours will set you back extra dollars.
Nissan Micra On The Road
Nissan pulled as masterstroke by mapping our drive route in an around Melbourne’s CBD – because the reality is this is the sort of environment where the Nissan Micra will primarily be driven.
Another masterstroke was a first-up ‘Nissan Micra Motorkhana’ on the top two floors of the Harbour Town shopping mall. This perfectly illustrated the benefits of Nissan Micra’s best-in-class 4.5-metre turning circle. Or putting it another way: if you can’t reverse park the new Nissan Micra, you should hand-in your drivers’ licence.
In all circumstances, all Nissan Micra models we tested performed admirably with good levels of comfort and balance. Tyre noise over cobblestones and on concrete roads was impressively low.
Our options were limited for any real speed (that will have to wait for our full test) but through the twists around the Yarra River, the Nissan Micra felt impressively connected.
Nissan Micra Challenges
A few times over cobblestones and tram track crossings, the Nissan Micra was a tad noisy around the front suspension.
And to us, it’s a mystery why such a brilliant compact car, destined for sale around the globe, isn’t offered with a diesel engine.
Nissan Micra Verdict
Nissan’s enigmatic CEO Carlos Ghosn famously once said: “There’s nothing wrong with any car company that great product won’t fix”. And that’s the story with the all-new Nissan Micra - another well thought-out, clever, sharply-priced, competent car from Nissan.
Nissan Micra The Competition
Nissan Micra Likes:
Great styling job inside and out; excellent quality; maneuverability; value
Nissan Micra Dislikes:
Some suspension noise over bumps; why no diesel?