NIssan Micra a premium aatchback from Nissan
Nissan Micra to a great extent further redefined the feature list fo a premium hatch segment. It became the first hatchback to offer Push Button Start in the premium hatchback segment in India. Whilst it has not set sales chart on fire for Nissan, however, current owners have not found any reasons to complain.
Nissan Micra Growing Slowly but Steadily
India car market is a small car market – an over stated fact. But to crack it open, is any marketer nightmare. Two big daddy’s; Hyundai and Maruti have a stranglehold control of this segment of the Indian car market. Any car manufacturer, desirous of a strong presence in the Indian car market has no option but to pry open this segment for them.
The Hatchback segment offers opportunities of volume, which in turn drives road presence and in turn drives the trust for the car manufacturers’ cars. Nissan after a slow start with its top end car models like the Teena and X-trail, made amends and quickly launched the Micra. Whilst it’s the diesel version of the Micra, which has made the cash counters ring for the Nisan dealers, the petrol power plant also helps Nissan to drive footfalls to the dealership from die hard petrol heads. We test drove Nissan petrol and here’s what our opinion of the car.
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
Cute is an apt adjective to describe the overall distinctive shape of the Micra. Frog eyes like headlamps, slender two part grill with smiley air-intake are visual cues to make one fall in love with the cute Nissan Micra. Monthly upwards inching car sales numbers are a testimony to the growing popularity of the Micra amongst the Indian cars buyers.
Boomerang shaped Micra’s roof with dominating curvy window line are effective measure used by Nissan to cut Micra’s flab to a great extent. Large windscreen with pronounced bumpers makes up the rear of the Micra.
Nissan Micra boasts of well balanced overall dimensions for a hatchback. Nissan Micra’s 3.7 meter length is devoid of sharp & sleek lines as is customary with other cars in its segment. Micra’s roundish shape therefore makes it unique & distinctive.
INTERIORS, ROOM & ERGONOMICS
Step inside the Micra without using the car key (thanks to keyless entry feature available with top-end variant of the Micra). With the car keys in your pocket, all one needs to lock or unlock the car is to press the button on the cars driver side door. Micra’s boot too can be locked or unlocked with a push of the button. A class leading, category first feature from the Micra, makes it convenient for the shopaholics.
Interior of the Micra carries forward the exterior roundish design, starting with circular central console featuring round AC vents, circular AC and music system controls, with even the chrome coated door opening handles in circular share. However, such overt love with everything round does not make the interiors even a wee bit boring, it rather gets accentuated with the grey coloured dash which helps break this monotony. A darker shade would have made the interiors even more cheerful.
Instrument cluster with big and easily readable dials makes things quite convenient inside the Mocra. The Automatic Climate Control of the Micra with 7-Speed Blower is probably it’s highpoint and the finest in the category. CD player with Aux-in compatability is a standard OEM fitment in the top-end variant of the Micra.
Cabin space is quite room offering generous space for the front and rear seat passengers. Foot well, on the other hand, is cramped a little bit.
Rear bench, like the front would make long journeys quite comfortable thanks to decent leg and headroom in the rear. 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
Nissan Micra petrol is powered by 3-cylinder motor pumping out 76 Ps/ 6000 Rpm of power and a torque 104 Nm/4000 Rpm. The 1.2 Ltr Nissan Micra engine breathes through 4 valves per cylinder architecture mounted on the double overhead cam mechanism.
Contrary to current trend, Micra’s 3-cylinder motor is tuned more for the highway driving rather than for the city. Nissan Micra’s 3-pot cylinder is quite refined when compared to other 3 cylinders power plants available on other cars in the Indian car market.
Drivability is not top-of-the line as one has to keep the rev needle in upper range in order to keep Micra moving in higher gear. Downshifts becomes necessary with falling revs, definitely a big minus for city driving when rev counter rarely touches 2000 + Rpm marl, this in turn would negatively impact the fuel efficiency if the Micra.
Mid range to top range is where the Micra is quite happy and loves to stretch its legs. Throttle the pedal and see the rev-needle eagerly move from left to right. Mid and top rev range punch is obvious making it a worthy highway cruiser.
Engine is mated with the 5-speed manual transmission. Shifts are short, sleek and do their work without any fuss. Steering is very light and with turning radius of just 4.65 m makes the Micra quite easy to drive.
McPherson suspension set up in the front with torsion beam doing duty at the rear of the Micra. 14” alloy wheels on 165 mm wide rubber with Aspect ratio 70 makes it quite pliant.
Micra’s soft suspension set-up is designed to deliver compliance and is not meant for die hard rallyist. Mircra takes the Indian roads undulations & irregularities like a master of the road, even the potholes can be tackled with ease at slow speed. With increasing speed the ride gets more refined ride but unfortunately no comparison to the ride quality other similar priced hatchbacks available in the Indian car market.
Handling of the car can be best summed up as average; soft set up being culprit for this. Cornering it hard & lot of body roll comes into picture. So what Micra demands & in fact supports is the sedate driving style with predictable lane changes.
Starting at 4.13 lakh for the base model XE & 5.41 lakh for the XV, Micra is decent value of money. Cute shape, settled ride, sufficient space and highway prowess are some of the competencies of the Micra. Go for it if you don’t have apprehensions about the dealer network of the company; which is wafer thin as of now.
Style & Substance : 4/5 Ride & Handling : 3/5
Interiors & Space : 3/5 Safety & Equipments : 4/5
Power Plant & Transmission : 3/5 Fuel Efficiency : 4/5
Value for Money : 3.5/5