Butt-kicker

Pre­pare to see many new Mi­cras, it’s that good

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - LUNGA SIBAYA

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.

PHOTO: MOTORPRESS

The new Nis­san Mi­cra is ready to ap­ply boot to the der­riere of any com­pet­ing small hatch.

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