Lit­tle won­der

Townsville Bulletin - - Cars Guide -

BUY­ING cheap doesn’t have to mean buy­ing nasty this year. Nis­san proves it with the all-new Mi­cra, which starts at $ 12,990. That’s the ba­sic 1.2-litre three­cylin­der ST, while the 1.5-litre ST-L starts from $ 14,990; and the `` lux­ury’’ 1.5 Ti, with such tricks as au­to­matic air­con­di­tion­ing and push-but­ton start to re­vers­ing radar and al­loys, is from $ 16,990. Adding a four­speed au­to­matic puts $ 2000 on the bill. The 1.2 is the real mover be­cause it will be the starter car for a lot of young peo­ple in Aus­tralia, but it could also be­come pop­u­lar as a city run­about for older folk. right stuff, in­clud­ing en­gines for 91-oc­tane Even the ST comes with air­con­di­tion­ing, elec­tric front win­dows, Blue­tooth con­nec­tion, CD/ iPod au­dio and — most elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and ABS with brake as­sist. There is enough space in the back seat and boot, but it is noth­ing spe­cial for the class, un­less you mea­sure it against the even-cheaper $ 11,700 start­ing price. The black cabin plas­tic is very cheap- Un­for­tu­nately, one of the fun fea­tures — a lift-up based in the front-pas­sen­ger seat that is great for stor­age — is only on the Ti. Then again, Nis­san does call it `` the hand­bag car­rier’’. like the door han­dles — and it’s not what we would ex­pect in a Nis­san. The Mi­cra is a fairly ba­sic pack­age and typ­i­cal for the class, ex­cept for the baby en­gine. But even that’s not so strange. Three-cylin­der en­gines have been on the Cha­rade in the 1980s, and more are on the way with Fiat hav­ing a two-cylin­der car en­gine in pro­duc­tion and even BMW

is look­ing to three-cylin­der units. The 1.2 has a dif­fer­ent sound and feel, with a syn­co­pated beat. Audi qu­at­tro en­gine, it’s a good feel­ing. It can get a lit­tle buzzy, but its prime role as a com­muter means peo­ple won’t be likely to push to the limit. Six airbags as stan­dard make the right state­ment about safety. The Mi­cra also gets elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and ABS with brake as­sist, so it’s the max­i­mum pack­age for this size and safety rat­ing from NCAP and that’s one short of the top rung. The new Mi­cra is not as funky-look­ing as bal­ance in corners, stops well and has a slight man­ual gear­box. that means it will be a great starter car. It goes well enough with two peo­ple, but strug­gles a lit­tle if you load the back seat, which is a lit­tle cramped for adult leg room. Con­sid­er­ing the price and class, though, all-round pack­age.

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