The power of three
A supercharged engine drives Nissan’s new small car, writes Neil McDonald
ASOPHISTICATED supercharged three-cylinder engine is on Nissan Australia’s wish list for the new Micra.
The fourth-generation Micra, which goes on sale later this year, continues as Nissan’s local price leader.
Nissan Australia spokesman, Jeff Fisher, says specification details are still being finalised before the launch and he cannot confirm if Australia is even getting the 1.2-litre supercharged engine.
In Europe the Micra will be sold with diesel and petrol engines, including the supercharged three-cylinder.
Estimates suggest the supercharged engine will produce 70kW at 5600 revs and 140Nm from 3000-5000 revs. The regular three cylinder is expected to deliver 58kW/108Nm.
Significantly, the supercharged three delivers class-leading C0 emissions of only 95g/km and has been designed for Europe, where cars are taxed for their emissions.
The engine uses direct injection and the Miller cycle combustion process. Nissan says the three-cylinder’s performance equates to a 1.5-litre engine.
The supercharger only operates at higher speeds. Around town and at constant speeds it’s out to save fuel.
The Micra has been a hit in Japan, where it has just gone on sale.
Already the company has taken 10,000 orders, 6000 more than it had expected in the car’s initial launch phase.
Japanese buyers not only get the supercharged three-cylinder but stopstart technology.
Nissan has cut production costs to lower the new hatch’s price.
It uses 18 per cent fewer components than the old car — the dash- board has 28 parts rather than the 50 in the current car.
OUR brief drive of a prototype Micra entailed just one lap of Nissan’s test track at Yokohama. But one thing is clear — the supercharged threecylinder is a sparkling and crisp performer. At idle the compact engine is quiet and has little evidence of the three-cylinder thrum that marks such cars as the Suzuki Alto and Smart’s Fortwo.
The Micra has particularly strong mid-range response from 40km/h upwards and the transmission is on a par with its rivals.
Our car is a prototype, but the Micra’s cabin has a light, airy feel with supportive seats. If Nissan Australia can build the argument, it should be part of the local line-up.
Small sensation: Nissan Australia hopes to have the supercharged Micra in its line-up.