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Nissan Micra
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Customer Rating
: N/A
Expert Rating
: 9/10
Warranty
: 2 years/ 50,000 kilometer is standard & 3 years/ 50,000 kilometer is Extended warranty that comes at a certain cost on Nissan Micra (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
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6.42 Lakhs-7.91 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Improved looks and style
  • Fully loaded top-end model
  • UP-market quality interiors 
  • Auto transmission convenience 
  • Comfortable & cushy ride quality

Weak Areas

  • Handling and issue
  • Build Quality ?mark 
  • Avg rear seat space 
  • Under performing engines
  • Dealer & service network ?mark
Nissan Micra
 
 

Nissan Micra- A Brilliant Value for Money

The frugal and intelligent engineering makes Nissan Micra stand apart. The car is spacious, user-friendly and tailored to fit Indian city roads.


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

NISSAN MICRO

Nissan came to India in 2005 with the X-Trail and since then the brand has been at best a marginal one. Cars like the Teana and 370Z have all tried to spice up the brand but the numbers they sell in are so insignificant that Nissan’s presence has gone largely unnoticed. That’s all set to change now with the all-new Micra. And how. On the broad shoulders of Nissan’s new small car rest huge hopes. In fact, the Japanese company has set up a huge factory at Oragadam, near Chennai, that’s capable of churning out 400,000 Micras every year. Of course, a lot of the capacity is for export markets but it’s the domestic market that Nissan really wants to crack. And Nissan is banking on the Micra to do just that.
 
Developed and honed for the Indian market, the Micra is the latest premium hatch to jump into a segment that is chocablock. That’s what makes the Micra’s job doubly difficult. Not only does it have the disadvantage of wearing a lesser known badge (and a thin dealer network), but it has to compete against well-entrenched rivals. But as they say, product is king and it will take nothing short of a brilliant car to upset the established order. Is the Micra that car? We find out in this exhaustive road test.
 
DESIGN & ENGINEERING
 
There’s a reason for the Micra’s curves – Nissan designers say they have stayed away from the ‘edge’ styling of its European rivals because, according to their surveys, sharp lines and creases give a fragile image which they wanted to avoid. Instead, Nissan has deliberately gone for a more rounded look that looks more robust. The smooth shape also helps deliver a good drag coefficient as well – its Cd is 0.32
 
Design details that stick in your mind are the attractive, high-mounted headlight pods and the two-part grille. Move to the side and you’ll see the curved window line, which actually helps cut some of the visuals bulk of the rather upright and stout C-pillar. At the rear, that big windscreen is a refreshing change from the tiny letter box slits that are on other style-oriented hatches. In fact, the big glass area is a nice distinguishing factor for the Micra it gives the driver great rearward visibility and makes the cabin feel bright and airy (though the thick pillars can intrude while parking). The Micra’s shape is meant to offend no one and here we think succeeds. Meatier tyres ( at least on the top-end version) would have helped though. The 165/70 R14 wheels looks a bit too skinny for the Micra’s curves. And, there are no alloys on offer.
 
Measuring 3780mm in length, the Micra is among the smaller cars in its class. In fact, only the Ritz and the Swift are shorter. It is one of the tallest in its class though, which explains the adequate headroom.
 
And, Nissan’s stuck to the tried-and-tested small car suspension formula of MacPherson struts in front and a non-independent torsion beam axle at the rear. In fact, there’s no real departure from small car fare – brakes are vented discs in front and the steering is an electrically assisted rack and pinion system.
 
All variants of the Micra get a driver’s airbag and the top-end XV gets a passenger airbag and ABS with brake assist and brake force distribution.
 
Except for a few inconsistent panel gaps, build quality is pretty good. The door shut is pretty solid especially for a car that weighs over 100kg less than its rivals. In facts, the Micra is astonishingly light and the way Nissan engineers have reduced weight (see box) is ingenious.
 
INTERIORS
 
On this top-end XV version you simply walk up to the car with your ‘key’ in your pocket, press the black button or the ‘sensor’ on the door handle and you’re inside. Slip into the driver’s seat and you’ll find a seat that’s not very generous – it could use a lot more thigh support and there’s not enough bolstering to make it a snug fit. The seating position is high though and there’s enough space all round. The dashboard looks quite funky mirroring the same rounded theme as the exterior.
 
Dominating the centre console is a large ring of air-con controls with a digital readout in the centre. It’s a bit confusing at first but the big buttons make it easy to operate. The audio system also has circular controls and the air-con vent and steering boss are round too. The cabin is quite practical with decent-sized door pockets and two cupholders ahead of the gearlever. However, both the gloveboxes, which are split by useful slot, are disappointingly small and it might have been better to offer one large glovebox instead.
 
Nissan has used what is calls ‘micrograin’ technology for the dashboard texture which is supposed to make it feel pusher than other shiny surfaces. The matt finish works quite well and the quality and ambience are better than say a Swift but still a notch down from the Polo and the canvas of light grey that greets you when you enter the cabin is a bit excessive. It needs splashes of dark colour to provide some relief. But at night it’s a different story as the orange lights for the instruments warm up the cabin when lit up.
 
Special mention must be made of the controls stalks which shout quality and are superbly built. The chrome-finished door latch is a top-quality bit too. Nissan engineers have cleverly spent money on those items Nissan has paid particular attention on maximizing the Micra’s interior space. The pedal box has been moved ahead and a specially designed fuel tank liberates more passenger room. Space at the back is great – that high roof frees up loads of headroom and legroom is adequate. What’s really disappointing is the lack of thing support – the seat base is simply too short. Also, the seating position is a bit too low, so getting in and out is not that easy. The headrests on the rear seats are fixed and the base variant doesn’t have headrests. The back seat folds forward but doesn’t split which limits versatility. Still, the boot is quite decent at 251 litres and even the hatch opens with the keyless systems, making it quite convenient to load when your hands are full with shopping.
 
This top-end XV is loaded with features. It gets a keyless entry and go system (a first in this class), climate control, and audio system, electric folding mirrors, ABS, front airbags, power windows and a trip computer. In fact we like that all variants, even the base one, gets a driver airbags as standard.
 
ENGINE, PERFORMANCE & GEARBOX
 
Nissan’s HR12DE engine is a contemporary unit, This three-cylinder, 1198cc, 75bhp motor uses four valves per cylinder and has twin camshafts, pretty much what is expected from this class. It’s got a low-friction oil pump and the offset crankshaft helps reduce three-cylinder vibes. Nissan’s also gone in for the cheaper but effective outer balancer to help cut down the excess vibrations that three-cylinder engines inherently have. Idle is remarkably smooth for a three-cylinder engines and though you always know when the engine is ticking over, vibrations don’t’ filter through. The Micra’s 930kg kerb weight translates into a rather healthy 80bhp per tonne power-to-weight ratio. This immediately shows up in the quick (for a 1.2-litre motor) 14.23sec 0-100kph run. Developing peak torque at a high-ish 4000rpm, the engine is quite unresponsive and has a weak bottom end. The tall gearing only serves to exacerbate the problem.
 
Floor the throttle in too high a gear at low revs and the motor gets bogged down prompting you to shift a cog down. Prompting you to shift a cog down. This can be hard work in traffic, when all you want is low end torque. Get the motor spinning and you’ll find a rev-happy engine, one that spins to 6500rpm with relative ease and one that performs best when kept in the upper reaches of its rev band. However, it’s noisy when revved and doesn’t have the smoothness of its rivals. You won’t complain about the five-speed manual though – its light, accurate throws are something you can enjoy. However, there’s a terrible amount of transmission whine and this is noticeable especially in the lower gears at low speeds.
 
RIDE & HANDLING
 
As a city car, the Micra makes a strong case for itself. The steering is light, the ride is light, the ride is pliant and the tight 9.3-meter turning radius makes playing traffic wars a breeze. The ride in particular is great, the long travel suspension rounding off the creative genius of the public works department’s potholes silently and effectively. It’s a very easy car to drive and park in the city too, thanks to the great visibility, a short wheelbase and the light clutch action. If there’s something we are not kicked about, it’s the benign handling. While it is safe and predictable, the handling is more vanilla ice-cream than choconut. You expect a smidgen of driving fun when you buy a petrol hatch and the Micra doesn’t deliver the way some its rivals do. Key to this is the steering which is quite numb and the soft suspension which allows quite a bit of body roll. There’s decent grip from the tyres but they are let down by a car that feels a bit disconnected from the road, so there’s really no way in which it encourage you to push it. There’s also a fair bit of road noise and the Micra doesn’t keep passengers as isolated as it should. The light weight also results in a car that doesn’t feel as planted at speed as some of its European rivals. And that’s very obvious when you take it on the highway.
 
FUEL EFFICIENCY
 
One of the key objectives for Nissan engineers was to give the Micra class-leading fuel efficiency. The low kerb weight, low-friction engine and other fuel saving bits have succeeded in making the Micra incredibly fuel efficient. In our city cycle the Micra returned 11.8kpl and this figure would have been better were it not for the tall gearing which necessitated more frequent (and fuel sapping) downshifts. On the highway, the gearing played to the Micra’s benefit and we got a stunning 17.5kpl. With its 41-litre fuel tank, the Micra has a rather macro 600km range on a full tank.
 
NISSAN MICRA
AUTOCAR VERDICT
CLEVELY ENGINEERED AND BRILLIANT VALUE FOR MONEY
 
The Micra stands out with its frugal and intelligent engineering. Nissan has cleverly used the knife where it matters little, to pare weight and cost. It doesn’t have the ultimate attention to detail or the quality of a polo or Fabia but yet it pampers owners with a generous equipment list which includes keyless entry/start and foldable mirrors, a first in this class. The Micra with its numb steering, soft suspension and an engine which needs to be whipped to perform isn’t very exciting car to drive but then that wasn’t its brief. What the Micra lacks in sportiness, it makes up with its hones, down-to-earth character. It is spacious, user-friendly and tailored more for Mumbai than Munich. What underscores this terrific package is the price. Starting at Rs 4.0 lakh for the base version, which has a drive airbag as standard, the Micra is simply exceptional value for money.

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