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Micra on the move

Micra on the move

You’d hardly recognise Nissan’s new Micra – and it’s pretty good on the road, too.

The fifth generation of Nissan’s Micra represents a significant progression in terms of design. In developing the car, the Japanese company invited customers to focus groups and clinics with a view to creating a vehicle that better met the needs of small car buyers.

The result is the new-look Micra you see in the pictures on this screen. The model contends the Upper B hatchback segment of South Africa’s vehicle market, leaving the Lower B portion to the outgoing car, which is now dubbed the Micra Active.

With a bold exterior design and an interior that is both contemporary and premium, the latest generation model’s styling tends to conform to modern architectural trends favoured by rivals such as Ford’s recently launched Fiesta and Renault’s Clio.

 

In fact, the model is built in one of Alliance partner Renault’s assembly plants in France and, for the moment, is equipped with a similar engine to that used by the Clio – a three-cylinder, 900cc turbocharged unit that produces 66kW.

 

Longer, wider and lower than the Micra Active, the new car features a sculpted body with strong character lines; a short bonnet; Nissan’s familiar V-Motion grille; narrow Halogen headlights that stretch into the front wings and signature LED running lights.

Viewed from the side, black B and C-pillars create a floating roof effect, while the C-pillar houses door handles which provide access for rear passengers. 

 

 

The back features a roof spoiler, boomerang-shaped LED light clusters and a sculpted, carbon-look bumper that hides the engine’s exhaust pipe. Coefficient of drag is a commendable 0,3.

 

Inside, the cabin boasts two-tone, soft-touch materials as standard equipment across the range. Nissan claims best-in-class ergonomics for front seat occupants, with no compromise to rear passenger space. 

The cabin is based around a T-shaped dashboard with instruments and controls grouped together for comfort, convenience and safety. A rake- and reach-adjustable steering wheel is a standard fitment, while the lowered seating position for driver and front passenger mean there’s good headroom for tall occupants.

 

Further, the increase in the car’s width has resulted in better elbow space for rear seat passengers, who also benefit from a reasonable amount of shoulder and knee room. Boot capacity is 300 litres, expanding to 1 004 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded down.

Storage options are plentiful. A conveniently placed aperture in the centre console includes ambient lighting as well as USB and 12-volt sockets, offering flat storage for a mobile phone.

Three specification levels are available – Visia, Acenta and Acenta Plus. The Visia features 15-inch steel wheels, electrically powered windows at the front, air-conditioning, a Bluetooth and MP3 compatible audio system, cruise control, automatic headlights and six airbags.

The Acenta adds 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lights among other features, while the Acenta Plus is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-covered steering wheel and an interior colour scheme that Nissan dubs Energy Orange.

 

The last mentioned models also get a seven-inch touchscreen that allows the driver to access features such as music, messages and maps through Apple CarPlay. When an iPhone is connected to the system, Siri voice control becomes available.

Complementing the touchscreen on Acenta and Acenta Plus models is a driver-assist display located in the instrument panel. Positioned to minimise driver distraction, it uses a high-definition, five-inch Thin Film Transistor colour display to provide key information relating to the car and journey. The display is controlled using dedicated steering wheel buttons.

Apart from six airbags as standard throughout the range, other safety features include seat belt warnings with seat belt height adjustment; Isofix mountings, ABS, EBD, Hill Start Assist and Vehicle Dynamic Control.

On the road the car offers good performance and predictable handling. The engine – which delivers up to 140Nm in conjunction with its 66kW – belies its size. It is punchy, offering quick acceleration through the gears and easily capable of keeping the car at 120km/h on the highway.

Despite its light weight, the Micra feels stable – able to easily ride the bumps (and negotiate the turns) of the Western Cape’s Bain’s Kloof Pass during a heavy rainstorm. Also commendable is its ability to resist body roll and to maintain good grip.

According to a Nissan spokesman, the light but responsive and accurate steering is partly the result of a new brushless electric power unit, which is designed to help the vehicle save fuel as well as lessen the driver’s steering load.

The Micra also benefits from a quiet cabin, promoting a comfortable and more relaxing experience for cabin occupants. Enhanced noise isolation technology has apparently been engineered into the car, designed to allow the driver to hear engine responses at higher revs, but keeping cabin occupants isolated from other noises, such as those generated by the tyres on the road.

According to Nissan’s spokesmen, an extensive accessory personalisation offering for the Micra is available, options extending to both interior and exterior. In 2019, the range will be expanded with the inclusion of additional derivatives starting with a 1,0-litre model whose specification and price will be confirmed closer to launch.

 

PRICES:

Micra Visia                            R233 500

Micra Acenta                        R257 400

Micra Acenta Plus                R272 400

 

All models are sold with a six-year/150 000km warranty; a three-year/90 000km service plan; and 24/7 roadside assistance.


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