With the number of cars on our streets growing constantly, automatic hatchbacks are today very popular, especially in our congested cities. And given the introduction of automatic transmission on even entry-level cars these days, carmakers are rushing to make the clutchless option more viable and less expensive. Nissan's hatchback, the Micra, which was already available with a CVT auto 'box in the top petrol trim here, now gets one in the lower XL trim. At the launch, the carmaker also introduced a limited edition of the XL auto – the X-shift. Only 750 units of the Nissan Micra X-Shift will be made.
Apart from the fourth-gen CVT 'box, the Micra X-shift also gets a few minor feature additions. On the outside, there's a blackened roof and mouldings of the same colour along the sides. There's a tiny X-Shift sticker as well under the wing mirror on the front passenger side. On the inside, the changes are somewhat more noticeable. When you swing open the doors, you see the new illuminated door sills, the new steering wheel (the same unit as in the Sunny sedan), glossy black finish for the audio console, a foldable driver armrest and, of course, the automatic gearbox.
While the cosmetic touches don't really do much for the car's appearance, the focus here is on the auto 'box. Although, I must confess, the driver armrest could have been a tad lower; it gets a little uncomfortable during those long stints behind the wheel.
When it comes to driving manners, it's unchanged from that of the higher variant with the automatic. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol motor's bottom end is weak and the CVT's inherent 'rubber-band effect' makes it all the more difficult to execute quick overtakes in traffic. It does pull better once the revs are past the 3,500 rpm-mark, but even driving on an open road is quite unexciting. Also, pushing the three-cylinder results in quite a bit of noise from the 1.2-litre unit. The ride is a bit stiff and our poor roads has this car crashing through most surface imperfections.
So, the new Nissan Micra XL variant with the auto gearbox is available at Rs 6.4 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The X-Shift limited edition gets the minor feature additions and comes at no extra cost. While the kit may not seem to be a considerable added benefit, the advantage of clutchless driving certainly could be.