We have got our hands on the all-new Nissan Micra. Here are the first impressions of the baby Nissan that will go on sale on July 14. To start with, the car looks quite exciting in the flesh, especially from the front. The nose has a sporty and well rounded look to it, with its forward- thrusting grille and setback headlamp pods. The two-part grille and the arched profile of the cabin, something carried over from the earlier Micra, look neat too. But the styling of the rear is still not cohesive or clear, even in the flesh.
But how well does this car drive? The short answer is very well, much as we would expect a product from a top-drawer Japanese manufacturer to. Nissan is famous for its innovative and smart engineering solutions to automotive problems, and there are many on this car. What is, however, more impressive is that it all comes together so well.
The Micra is powered by an 1198ccc three-cylinder motor that makes 75bhp of max power. First impressions are of a smooth motor that in some parts of the powerband feels as refined as a four- cylinder unit. The motor responds well once you are in the mid-range and power gets progressively stronger. It pulls really strongly from 4000rpm and acceleration does not taper off till 6500rpm, giving it a wide power band. Out on the highway, the performance is pretty good and the Micra overtakes without any fuss. Although the motor pulls all the way to 6800rpm, it’s no match to the top end of the Maruti’s four-cylinder K-series engine. And after 6500rpm it does get a bit harsh too. What is not impressive, however, is the weak bottom end of the motor which forces you to execute a downshift. But though responses at low speed are not strong, they are linear and get progressively stronger.
What is also very impressive is the Micra’s ride quality. The suspension and tyres have plenty of compliance in them and rough sections and bad roads are all sponged up effortlessly. There’s very little bobbing, the suspension works silently and this allows you to drive over rough patches without a care. Very impressive.
Straightline stability on the Micra is surprisingly also impressive. Due to the soft suspension, there is some amount of body roll but the baby Nissan is a very neat handler that likes to be chucked around. The steering is very direct, the car goes faithfully in the direction you point it and placing the car accurately, even at speeds, is very easy. Despite having a good amount of road feel, the steering is also not heavy. In fact at city speeds, it is really light and comfortable. Overall, the Micra has a fantastic ride and handling mix.
Step into the cabin and the oval and rounded theme abounds. You get a round speedometer, a
round cluster of buttons on the central console, round vents and a round steering boss. There is
good amount of space for odds and ends and the door pockets are of a decent size. The front
seats are very comfortable and Nissan has consciously made the nose of the car visible from the
cabin. At the back, headroom and legroom are surprisingly generous. The only grouse we have
with the rear seat is that it’s too low, flat and with little under-thigh support. The boot too is fairly generous but there’s no split, the seat flips forward in one piece via a neat release latch.
The top-end XV model that we are driving comes loaded with the latest features. There is no
traditional key on this car. You get a keyless entry fob that allows you to yank the door open with it still sitting in your pocket, and the motor is fired with the help of a push-button. It’s the first for a B-segment car. Nissan has offered automatic climate control and electrically folding mirrors, features that aren’t common among hatchbacks. The interior quality isn’t brilliant but pretty good.
It is clear that Nissan, which is known for its engineering and innovation skills, has the know-
how to build very effective small cars. The new Micra may not look wildly exciting but behind its
cheerful, cute lines lies solid engineering and innovation. Micra's estimated pricing (ex-showroom Delhi) is Rs 4.00 lakh for the base XE model, Rs 4.75 lakh for the XL, and Rs 5.25 lakh for the top-end XV variant.