Un­der the Mi­cra-scope

The lit­tle Nis­san does its chores and stands up to any scru­tiny

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

The car in­dus­try’s mantra of re­cent times of squeez­ing more from less was cer­tainly Nis­san’s aim when it de­vel­oped the three-cylin­der K13 Mi­cra. Such en­gines have al­ways been looked on as un­wor­thy, bought by those who couldn’t af­ford a proper one.

But in this age of mas­sive change, three-cylin­ders are pulling their

weight by do­ing the work once done by fours, and Nis­san was hop­ing to boost its busi­ness sub­stan­tially here on that ba­sis.

The Thai-made K13 was longer, wider, lower and lighter than the out­go­ing model. It also brought with it two en­gines, two trans­mis­sions and three trim lev­els to choose from. Gone was the love-it-or­loathe-it look of the older model. The new car was softer and more pleas­ing to the eye.

The base ST came with the three-cylin­der engine while the ST-L and Ti had the four­cylin­der. The trans­mis­sion op­tions for all were a five-speed man­ual or a four-speed auto (a reg­u­lar auto rather than a trendy but oc­ca­sion­ally trou­ble­some CVT or twin-clutch).

For its size, the cabin was rea­son­ably spa­cious for the time, but squeez­ing three into the back was a tax­ing trick.

The Mi­cra sat nicely on the road, its fir­mish sus­pen­sion han­dling speed bumps, cor­ru­ga­tions and pot­holes com­pe­tently.

The three-cylin­der engine did the job around town and was quite smooth and quiet. Out of town, it had to work a lit­tle harder and got nois­ier, with a lit­tle coarse­ness in­trud­ing.

It’s a dif­fer­ent story with the four, which was will­ing across the rev range and had enough zest to han­dle over­tak­ing com­fort­ably.

Com­mon to all three mod­els were elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS, emer­gency brake as­sis­tance and elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, and front and side airbags.

NOW

Mi­cra own­ers are gen­er­ally a happy lot, con­tent with their cars, and the trade echoes their sen­ti­ments.

Some older driv­ers ex­press con­cern about a lack of out­ward vi­sion so driv­ers who fall into that cat­e­gory should check the sight an­gles when test-driv­ing a po­ten­tial pur­chase.

Me­chan­ics say the lit­tle Nis­san is solidly built and the only reg­u­lar work needed on them to date is the reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing rec­om­mended by Nis­san. Noth­ing of con­se­quence has so far gone wrong with them and the me­chan­ics gen­er­ally give them the tick of ap­proval.

Any­one buy­ing a Mi­cra sec­ond hand should fo­cus on the gen­eral con­di­tion of the car— look at the state of the body­work and the al­loy wheels if fit­ted.

They should cer­tainly look at the log­book to ver­ify that the fac­tory-rec­om­mended ser­vic­ing has been done.

SMITHY SAYS

It’s not out­stand­ing in any way but does ev­ery­thing quite well.

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