A spot of nip, tuck and spec bump up for Nissan’s entry-level hatchback
OUR market’s heady combination of a burgeoning demand for entry-level hatchbacks and a currency as buoyant as a lead-filled lawn dart creates the ideal environment for wallet-friendly cars. Into this competitive bun fight steps Nissan’s rejuvenated Micra, a dependable little car that Nissan will be hoping will play a considerable role in the company’s ongoing fortunes.
To put the Micra Active 1,2 Visia+ into perspective, think of it as Nissan’s foil to the likes of the Toyota Etios, Hyundai i10 and i10 Grand, Renault Sandero and, of course, VW’S Polo Vivo; all slightly older models from their respective manufacturers that have been given a bit of a polish and, in most cases, competitive pricing.
In the Active’s case, the polish comes in the shape of several visual updates that help tie the previously amorphous-looking Micra a little more closely with Nissan’s recent products. The most noticeable change takes place up front, where the Japanese brand’s signature chromed V grille joins revised headlamps, bumpers and slightly tweaked taillamp arrays.
The cabin has also received a slight update in the shape of a modernised centre stack and new upholstery.
Mechanically, however, nothing has changed, with the 1,2-litre, four-pot petrol still developing 56 kw/104 N.m. They’re outputs that, along with a manner that’s more languid than revvy and surprisingly tall gearing, sees the little car struggle ever so slightly in cut- and-thrust town driving at the Reef. On the bright side, once up to motorway speeds, the Micra doesn’t feel frenetic and, as is often the case with Indianbuilt cars, the suspension is pleasingly supple over pockmarked tar.
Nissan is leaning heavily on the Active’s value-for-money card, and with good reason. The list of standard features include a Tomtom sat-nav system (on the first consignment of cars and optional thereafter), Bluetooth, electric front windows, a good suite of safety features (ABS, EBD and brake assist, driver and passenger airbags, and Isofix), airconditioning and remote central locking.
But the crowning value-added features are the inclusion of a six-year/150 000 km warranty and a three-year/90 000 km service plan, the latter often relegated to the options list on most rivals. Factor in the Micra’s practical packaging and proven mechanicals, plus a highly competitive price, and the Active will no doubt find favour with younger drivers and those on a budget.