Our first impressions of the Nissan Micra facelift equipped with a CVT gearbox.
With the levels of traffic rising, patience waning and the volume of gearshifts per journey drastically increasing, it’s little wonder that automatics are getting more and more popular. The first to go all automatic were the luxury cars, and now the trend is slowly filtering down to compact cars as well.
The latest entrant to join the premium automatic hatchback brigade is this, the facelifted Nissan Micra. But it’s not just the auto that’s new. Nissan’s given the Micra a new look, thrown in a lot more kit and made a few changes to improve the weaknesses of the earlier model. But is this reconfigured Nissan good enough to take on the rather strong competition? We drove it in the temple town of Madurai to see just how improved it is.
First however, a quick look at the changes under the skin. The automatic variant will only be available with a 1.2-litre petrol engine. The gearbox, as you may well expect from Nissan, is not an ordinary automatic but a continuously variable transmission (CVT); essentially the same as the one in the Nissan Sunny but tweaked to suit this car. Engineers have made software changes to the ECU tuning to help it adapt to its new role in the lighter car. Nissan is very keen to point out that this X-Tronic CVT is very fuel efficient, and claim a five percent improvement, even over a conventional five-speed manual. Normally, a traditional torque convertor-based automatic is considerably less efficient than a manual. Other changes under the skin include improved sound insulation and tweaked suspension settings to improve the dynamics of the car.