NISSAN MICRA DIESEL: COMPETENT CHALLENGER
If hatchback is the heart of Indian automobile market, diesel is the pulse of it. Foray into fiercely contested B-segment without the diesel option won’t give you the taste of the large market chunk every car manufacturer wants to own and that too in a fast forward manner. In fact Nissan, along with other recent foreign manufacturers, realized it very early & it didn’t take these car companies too long to bring in the diesel variant of their petrol sibling. Most of them also could fortunately time their Indian car market entry when it was amply clear that diesel is the way to go. We test drove Nissan’s Micra diesel rigorously to find the real flavor lying beneath its bubbly shape.
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
Cute is the right adjective to describe the overall shape of the Nissan Micra. Frog eyes like headlamps, slender two part grill with smiley air-intake makes the Micra quite distinctive from the front.
Curved window line with boomerang shaped roof adds lots of flair to Nissan Micra’s side profile. Micra’s rear profile features a large windscreen & pronounced bumper.
Overall dimensions of the hatchback are very balanced with total length of 3.7 m with round theme dominating the proceedings. There is no hint of the sharp & sleek line which some of the other cars in category boast of but that’s what makes the Micra stand out in the crowd by adding to its unique & distinctive looks. Must admit car designers at Nissan has successfully managed to create a cute looking hatchback,
INTERIORS, ROOM & ERGONOMICS
Car keys in your pocket and press a bon eth drivers side door is the minimalistic effort you need to unlock / lock the Micra. Simple & Easy isn’t it? Follow the same steps and open the boot. Imagine a hand full of luggage and the convenience of button opening boot. WOW! Nissan definitely has taken Indian car buyers convenience a bit too seriously.
Nissan Micra’s interior seems to have extended the cars round curvy exterior approach to design to Micra’s interiors also. AC vents & controls, music system as well as the overall design of the centre console features roundness. Even the chrome coated door opening handles are round in shape. Grey dash breaks the round theme quite admirably, wish the grey was on its darker side.
Instrument cluster features speedometer & rpm meter along with drive computer. Dials are big & readable. Automatic climate control is one of the finest units in the category with 7-speed blower fan. CD player with Aux-in compatibility is a statndard fitment in Micra top end variant.
Micra’s cabin is generously spacious. Leg, knee and headroom are really class leading. Foot well though is a little cramped.
Rear bench, like front, has more than enough room to make long trips comfortable and convenient. Decent legroom along with sufficient headroom is available for all the rear passengers. As a matter of fact we found Micra to be more spacious than Maruti or Hyundai or VW hatch backs, but it’s not as spacious as the Etios or Vista.
Rated boot capacity of 251 liters can be increased further as rear seat can be folded fully but the convenience of split-seat option is not available.
POWER-PLANT & TRANSMISSION
Renault’s famous 1.5 L dCi is doing duty under Micra’s hood and it’s well on its way to topple Fiat’s multi-jet diesel engine from its coveted status of Indian national diesel engine. Number of models featuring this 1.5 L dCi power train are on the rise; Micra diesel being another addition to the list. Coded as K9K, this 1491 cc engine breathes through single cam shaft with the help of 8-valves. Engine displaces 64 Ps of power with decent torque of 160 Nm available at 2000 rpm.
Push button start stop in the top-end variant fo the Micra is another category first from Micra. Idle of the power plant is neither too silent nor too loud, we would rather rate it as it is mediocre on refinement. Drivability though is from another planet. Micra diesel is blessed with excellent drivability with almost no turbo lag. Micra pulls up without any strain in 2nd Gear from idle. City high traffic drive issmooth with minimum gear shits as the Micra drives without any strain in high gears at low speeds quite admirably.
Micra’s engine though is not very eager or free revving in nature, maybe its due to its SOHC mechanism which doesn’t allow the as efficient as DOHC mechanism. This simply means, that whilst city driving is a breeze, patience should be one of your strongest virtues while driving the Micra on the highway.
Engine is mated with 5-speed manual transmission. Gear box is slick & easy to use; you won’t need any extra amount of effort to slot the gears in place but unfortunately clutch feels a little bit heavy to operate. Steering is electrically assisted & along with class-best turning radius of 4.65 m taking maneuverability to a new high.
McPherson suspension set up in the front and torsion beam in the rear is maging suspension abilities of the Micra. 15” alloy wheels on a 165 mm wide rubber with height to width ratio of 60. Plaing numbers for many but for the discerning it simply means that the Micra is set up for a soft ride and is no rally drives car. Undulations & irregularities of the road are taken with aplomb by Micra; even potholes are tackled with ease at slow speed though suspension can get noisy in the future. Winth increasing pressure on accelerator pedals, the ride in the Micra gets more refined.
Soft setting though impact car handling a bit negatively and at best it can be summed up as average. Hard cornering makes body roll quite obvious. We would therefore recommend the Micra for those steady, practical drivers with predictably lane changing habits.
Nissan Micra we believe is a practical city run about, with a starting price of 5.72 lakhs and to-end price of 6.17 lakhs for a diesel cars makes it a decent value buy in the Indian car market. However, with more average ticks on various aspects of a car, Micra is Jack of all trades and Master of None. This is something that can either way i.e in its favour or against it. Being a new car manufacturer and a recent entarant in the Indian car market it will take some time to gear up in terms of its service reach which unfortunately is a time consuming process.
Style & Substance : 3/5 Ride & Handling :3/5
Interiors & Space : 3/5 Safety & Equipment : 4/5
Power Plant & Transmission : 3/5 Mileage : 4/5
Value for Money : 3/5
New car comparison between Fiat Punto Evo and Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and Nissan Micra created by new car buyers actively considering and evaluating these cars for a future purchase.