The big grille fashion is flowing down to the smallest of cars and Nissan Micra’s makeover has transformed the little car from sensible to chic. The Nissan V-Motion frontal style began in the SUV range a few years back. In its latest iteration it has been softened from its tough-SUV shape, but retains plenty of look-at-me cred that seems likely to lift Micra sales.
Everything forward of the Micra’s windscreen is new – bonnet, guards, lights and bumper. The rear bumper and lights have also received a restyle, though the budget didn’t run to a different shape for the tailgate.
Inside, the door and seat trims have been revised in style and use different fabrics. There’s also a new design of the instruments and centre cluster.
To attract buyers in this hard fought market segment Nissan Australia has specified all Micras now have cruise control and power windows. As are USB input, Auxiliary port and Bluetooth phone system with audio streaming.
The topline Micra Ti has 15-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights, LED taillights and automatic headlights. Inside there’s a 5.8-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation and premium cloth interior trim. There’s the added safety of a reversing camera.
The MY15 Nissan Micra has the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine as before. It produces 56 kW of power and 104 Nm of torque. Official fuel consumption is 5.9 litres per hundred kilometres for the manual transmission grades and 6.5 if the four-speed automatic transmission is installed.
That relatively high fuel consumption could be a problem area for Nissan Australia because many competitors’ automatic transmissions use less fuel than manuals these days. Nissan is presumably working on the design of a replacement for the somewhat ancient four-speed auto.
Micras sold in Australia are made in India to keep the price down. Build quality on the ones we saw at the media launch looked good.
During a drive program organised by Nissan Australia out of Melbourne to introduce the revised Micra to the media, we found the little Micra to be easy to drive and travel in. It has good outward visibility, comfortable seats and noise levels are about average for this class. Meaning it can get a bit raucous if you drive it hard.
It’s also inclined to get bumped about by backroads that have seen better days. As Micra’s a city car this shouldn’t cause hassles for many owners. If you do like to go for weekend country drives it might we worth including those surfaces on our private road test before buying.
The back seat is designed for children but adults can travel there in reasonable comfort if they do a deal with those sitting in front of them.
Boot space suffers in all small cars but the Nissan’s works well enough and can carry normal shopping loads and the like.
Engine performance is good, though not what you would call sparkling. There is a sports mode in the automatic transmission that keep it in the lower gears a lot of the time. Which can be tiring for passengers with the noise created by the big revs – but that’s a situation to be sorted out by discussions with the driver!
There’s something about the character of three-cylinder engines that really pleases we revheads. Probably the slightly uneven beat and the willingness to rev. Whatever, it adds a bit of personality to the baby Nissan.
In its latest format the Nissan Micra looks cheeky and seems sure to attract young drivers, though oldies keen on reliving the days of their youth may well travel to the showrooms as well.