Nis­san Mi­cra Ac­tive 1,2 Visia

A re­aligned Mi­cra range adopts the Ac­tive moniker to make space for the new Euro­pean-spec Mi­cra to join our mar­ket

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

THERE’S no doubt Nis­san lost its way some­what with the fourth-gen­er­a­tion Mi­cra. Whereas the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion (the first in our mar­ket) was a funky lit­tle thing with quirky, bug-eyed looks, its suc­ces­sor be­came sen­si­ble and grown up. Me­chan­i­cally and space-wise, it may have been a bet­ter car, but its rel­a­tively con­ser­va­tive styling meant the Mi­cra’s charm went miss­ing, along with its show­room mojo.

To get that back, Nis­san has adopted a strat­egy suc­cess­fully be­gun by Volk­swa­gen 34 years ago with the Citi Golf. Like the sub­se­quent Polo Vivo and Ford’s orig­i­nal Figo, Nis­san has taken this fourth-gen- er­a­tion Mi­cra, slapped on a new badge (Ac­tive), given it a bit of vis­ual zing and a wal­let-friendly price, and will of­fer it along­side an all-new (and very stylish) fifth-gen­er­a­tion ver­sion when that one goes on sale here in the mid­dle of the year.

From these pic­tures, you’ll no­tice some clear vis­ual tweaks

to the Mi­cra’s ex­te­rior styling, the most ob­vi­ous of which is the ad­di­tion of the cur­rent Nis­san brand sig­na­ture – a chromed V-shaped grille – a re­vised front bumper, as well as tweaked front and rear lamps. Our test car also came with the op­tional 14-inch black al­loys (R5 070), mud flaps (R1 082), a chrome ex­haust fin­isher (R343), rear spoiler (R2 893) and Turquoise Blue metal­lic paint (R1 350). It’s this R10 000 worth of op­tions that add most of that ex­tra zing; in its reg­u­lar clothes, the Mi­cra Ac­tive suf­fers a lit­tle from Sen­si­ble Shoe Syn­drome.

Step inside and the no­table updates in­clude che­quered up­hol­stery and a re­vised cen­tre stack on the dash­board, one that in our test unit was oc­cu­pied by the op­tional touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem that in­cludes aux­il­iary and USB in­puts, as well as Blue­tooth and satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion. The good news is that, as part of the ini­tial launch, Nis­san is of­fer­ing this R8 000 sys­tem for free un­til the end of Jan­uary; you should still find a few on show­room floors.

While the Mi­cra Ac­tive’s in­te­rior is not as con­tem­po­rary as those of its mod­ern ri­vals and does show its age, what it lacks in de­sign flair, it makes up for in per­ceived build in­tegrity. The ma­te­ri­als are suf­fi­ciently solid and the cabin feels well screwed to­gether.

Rear-pas­sen­ger room for both legs and heads is good for this seg­ment and, in terms of lug­gage and util­ity space, the Mi­cra sits be­tween smaller cars such as the Kia Pi­canto (144/728 litres) and larger ones such as the Re­nault San­dero (264/1 000 litres). The rear back­rest isn’t split, though, and folds as a sin­gle unit.

As you would ex­pect in a ve­hi­cle of this ilk, be­yond a re­designed ex­haust sys­tem, the driv­e­train re­mains un­touched. And that means it’s busi­ness as usual with a three-cylin­der, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 1,2-litre petrol putting out 56 kw and 104 N.m. It’s nei­ther the smoothest nor qui­etest en­gine in its class, but it is a revvy unit that,

The in­te­rior ma­te­ri­als are suf­fi­ciently solid and it feels well screwed to­gether

at least at sea level, feels will­ing. Power is fed through a five-speed man­ual gear­box that has a some­what rub­bery shift and is geared fairly tall; not ideal for a city car.

At un­der a tonne – 960 kg, to be pre­cise – the Mi­cra is light on its feet but at 6,1 L/100 km, its con­sump­tion on our 100 km fuel route is merely ac­cept­able rather than im­pres­sive; mod­ern A-seg­ment hatches should com­fort­ably dip be­low 6,0.

Brak­ing per­for­mance is unim­pres­sive, too, with the Mi­cra Ac­tive’s discs/drums setup av­er­ag­ing 3,44 sec­onds across 10 stops from 100 km/h, which reg­is­ters “poor” on our rat­ing sys­tem. That said, fit­ted with ABS, EBD and brake as­sist as stan­dard, these emer­gency brak­ing tests were not the way­ward af­fairs we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced with some bud­get cars that don’t ben­e­fit from these es­sen­tial sup­ple­men­tary sys­tems. Airbags for the driver and front pas­sen­ger are also stan­dard.

De­spite its lan­guid per­for­mance – the sprint to 100 km/h takes 13,52 sec­onds – the Mi­cra Ac­tive is far from a chore to drive. Granted, its nat­u­rally as­pi­rated heart may strug­gle more at the Reef, but it is not with­out its charms. It’s an easy and com­fort­able car to pi­lot; you get a real sense that all the nig­gles have been sorted out and the lit­tle Mi­cra goes about its busi­ness with­out fuss. Along with the price point, these old­er­gen­er­a­tion cars of­fer tried-andtested re­li­a­bil­ity that makes them at­trac­tive propo­si­tions.

TEST SUMMARY

Has Nis­san suc­cess­fully Citi Golfed the Mi­cra? Yes … and no. Take away those R10 000 worth of ac­ces­sories and it still looks staid but, that aside, this Mi­cra Ac­tive does de­liver on the prom­ise of reli­able and, cru­cially, safe mo­tor­ing at an ex­cel­lent price. And a bestin-seg­ment three-year/90 000 km ser­vice plan only adds to that.

The Mi­cra Ac­tive may not be as refined as its newer com­pe­ti­tion, but with words such as “solid”, “hon­est”, “com­fort­able” and “easy go­ing” pep­per­ing our testers’ feed­back re­ports, Nis­san has in­deed suc­ceeded in of­fer­ing South African con­sumers a well-priced, de­pend­able set of wheels.

clock­wise from top This test unit sports a num­ber of ac­ces­sories, in­clud­ing the al­loys and that chrome ex­haust fin­isher; neat face in­cor­po­rates Nis­san’s V-shape grille; en­gine is tried and tested; lug­gage space is class-av­er­age.

clock­wise from top If you get to a Nis­san dealer be­fore end-jan­uary, you’ll get this R8 000 in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in­cluded in the price; rear bench one of the more spa­cious in the seg­ment; stan­dard air-con is pow­er­ful.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.