Prepare to see many new Micras, it’s that good
NISSAN said its all-new Micra is ready to revitalise the hatchback segment, but having driven it in haste after getting a bit lost in a wet Cape, I think they are going to kick butt with it.
It drives better than my VW Polo, makes the Toyota Etios look bucolic and even challenges the new Opel Corsa.
What it cannot do — and none of the cars in the R160k price range can — is to beat the outgoing Nissan Micra on its basket of parts. As a mechanic, this is the first question I ask when it comes to cars — not what it costs, but what it will cost to fix, and the old Micra is the cheapest in its class. Which is why Nissan will continue selling the 2017 Micra Active 1,2 for R161 500 alongside the all-new Micra.
So, why pay more for the new when the old is proven?
Well, just look at it! Apart from those GT-R inspired lines, the new Micra learned some ergonomic tricks from its Renault alliance and the cabin now sports two-tone soft-touch materials and ambient lighting.
Thanks to a steering wheel with rake and reach and heightadjustable driver’s seat, both short and tall people can get a comfortable seating position.
Boot capacity is a very competitive 300 litres and it expands to 1 004 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded down.
A USB port and 12v sockets power digital devices, and there are lots of places to store bottles, keys and cellphones. The seveninch touch-screen colour display on the Acenta and Acenta Plus allows the driver to access features such as music, messages and maps through Apple CarPlay in addition to the MP3, USB and Bluetooth in the Visia model.
Apart from the old Active, there are three specification levels available — the Visia, the Acenta and the Acenta Plus. The Visia is the entry level, but you won’t think so looking at its list of standard features, which include 15-inch steel wheels, daytime running lights, front power windows, a manual aircon, a Bluetooth and MP3 compatible audio system, cruise control, automatic headlights and six airbags. The Acenta adds 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights among other features while the Acenta Plus has 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and an Energy Orange interior.
Electronic safety systems include Vehicle Dynamic Control, Anti-locking Braking System, Electronic Brake force Distribution and Hill Start Assist.
None of the above is why I think Nissan will kick butt with the new Micra.
The little 900cc turbocharged petrol engine is.
Mated to a five-speed box, this mill makes 66kW at the usual high revs, but it churns out its 140Nm from a relatively low 2 250 rpm. This makes for easy city driving in third gear and — thanks to firm suspension and responsive steering — a fun drive on a twisty road. To my mind, only the Opel Corsa 1,0 T Enjoy can give the new Micra a go. Yes, the lil’ Nissan now competes with the Germans.
The Corsa has more Newtons from 1 800 rpm and rides on wider tyres for a really enjoyable drive, but the Micra is 350kg lighter, so it keeps up. And the Micra costs R23 000 less. But where Nissan really hits the competition for a six is with the Micra’s six-year or 150 000 km warranty; a three-year or 90 000km service plan;.
This warranty is a year longer than Hyundai’s vehicle warranty.
New Micra prices
Visia: R233 500
Acenta: R257 400
Acenta Plus R272 400.
The new Nissan Micra is ready to apply boot to the derriere of any competing small hatch.