Nissan Micra XV: Research

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Nissan may be a little known car maker in India, but that’s about to change. Just wait till it launches the new Micra in India, for it will change the way you look at the company forever. We should know, we’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to take a short drive in Nissan’s new baby in Thailand. And we can tell you right away, it’s just the sort of car that will appeal to a considerable section of Indian car buyers.

In the flesh, the new Micra doesn’t make much of a first impression. Some of that silvery tinge of excitement you get looking at a new car seems to be missing and the car looks quite familiar as well. The Nissan designers say they have stayed away from ‘edgy’ styling 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 – 0.32 is impressive.

However, the details that stick in your mind are the attractive, high-mounted light pods and the two-part grille. The arched profile of the cabin is something carried over from the Micra’s DNA, but there is a mishmash of lines at the rear, especially near the rear spoiler and the tail-lights. The Micra does come across as a cute and cheerful design which will surely appeal to women.

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. The control stalks feel particularly solid and feel they could last forever.

The Micra is also pretty practical. There is good amount of space for odds and ends and the door pockets are of a decent size. However, the double glovebox which is standard in the European-spec cars is missing and the Indian version only gets a single and very tiny glove compartment.
Like all Nissans, 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. The keyless start / stop feature is in fact a key feature! It’s the first for a B-segment car.

The Micra is powered by a 1198ccc three-cylinder motor that makes 79bhp but unlike other three-cylinder motors sold in India, there is no balancer shaft used. There is some amount of vibration at idle, which can be felt through the steering but it smoothens out a bit as you rev it. However, the motor responds well to a jab on the accelerator and the Micra moves forward with no hesitation.

This motor has more power than the VW Polo, and you do feel the combined benefit of this and the very light 945kg kerb weight. Nissan says it has engineered the car with fewer parts to keep the weight down, and it sure seems to have helped. The car feels nice and sprightly and acceleration is impressive enough to satisfy most drivers. The motor pulls all the way to 6000rpm and acceleration in and around 5000rpm is particularly strong.

Straightline stability on the car is impressive as well. With a wheel at each corner and most of the weight contained between the wheels, the Micra drives more like a big car than a little one. There, however, isn’t too much feel in the steering. The column-mounted electric steering feels a touch vague and lifeless which will disappoint enthusiasts. However, city commuters will be thrilled by the Micra’s very tight turning circle which was actually designed keeping Indian customers in mind.

Nissan has offered automatic climate control, a feature that’s not common among hatchbacks. And it’s got electrically folding mirrors. There’s a mini on-board computer which gives real-time fuel consumption and ‘distance-to-empty’ readouts. In fact, Nissan wants to make the feature-packed Micra one of its selling points.

However, features like steering-mounted audio controls are missing for the Indian model. According to company sources, Nissan is saving some of the other goodies like steering controls for the audio and Bluetooth for hands-free phone operation for a refresh that is being planned a year after launch.

Of course, all these features are reserved for the high-end model and in basic trim, you still get power steering and front power windows (manual at the rear). The air-con is standard but not climate control and alloys are replaced with bare-looking steel wheels.

The beige interior and generous glass make for a very airy cabin. The interior quality isn’t brilliant but pretty good. The build quality is between the Swift and the Polo, which is still the benchmark for interior quality. The front seats are very comfortable and Nissan has consciously made the nose of the car visible from the cabin; this is apparently a common complaint from first-time drivers who will make up a fair percent of Micra buyers.

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. Nissan needs to improve the seat squab before launching the car in India. The boot too is fairly generous but there’s no split, the seat flips forward in one piece via a neat release latch.

It is clear that Nissan, 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. How well Nissan tunes and adapts this car for Indian conditions remains to be seen but we are confident that the Micra will take to Indian roads like a duck to water.

What we don’t know is how Nissan will price the car. The sense we get is that it will be in that narrow window between the Swift and the Polo. Some say that Nissan might even undercut the Swift to get market share. If Nissan prices the Micra right, it has a winner on its hands.

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Specifications
PetrolDiesel
VariantsXEXLXVXVXV Premium
Engine
CodeHR12K9K
TypeDOHC 12-Valve, 3 Cylinders In-Line PetrolSOHC 8-Valve, 4 Cylinders In-Line Diesel
Displacement1198 cc1461 cc
Bore x Stroke78 x 83.6 mm76 x 80.5 mm
Max. Power56 kW (76 PS) @ 6000 rpm47 kW (64 PS) @ 4000 rpm
Max. Torque104 Nm (10.6 kg-m) @ 4000 rpm160 Nm (16.3 kg-m) @ 2000 rpm
Compression Ratio9.817.9
Fuel SystemECCS, Electronic Fuel Injection ControlCommon Rail
Mileage18.06 km/l23.08 km/l
Transmission
Type5-speed manual
Steering
TypeElectric Power Assisted Rack & Pinion
Min. Turning Radius4.65 m
Suspension
FrontMcPherson Strut
RearTorsion Beam
Brakes
FrontVentilated Disc
RearDrum
Capacities
Seating Capacity5 persons
Fuel Tank Capacity41 litres
Trunk Capacity251 litres
Wheels & Tyres
Wheel TypeSteelAlloy
Wheel Size14 x 5.5 J15 x 5.5 J
Tyres165/70 R 14175/60 R 15
Dimensions
Overall Length3780 mm3780 mm
Overall Width1665 mm1665 mm
Overall Height1530 mm1525 mm
Wheelbase2450 mm2450 mm
Tread Front1470 mm1460 mm
Tread Rear1475 mm1465 mm
Features
Comfort
  • Electric power Steering
  • Steering tilt Adjustment
  • Power Windows: Front and Rear with Driver anti-Pinch Function
  • Central Door Lock
  • Intelligent Key with push button ignition
Exterior
  • Roof Antenna
  • Full Wheel Covers
  • Rear Wiper & Washer
  • Electric PArk And fold Mirror
  • Door Mirror Electric Adjustment
Interior
  • Drive Computer
  • Tachometer
  • Parcel Shelf
  • Integrated Audio System with4 speakers Aux-in port
  • Auto AC
  • Interior Color Scheme - Greige
Safety
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Driver Airbag
  • Front Passenger Airbag
  • ABS + EBD + BA
  • Front Fog Lamps
  • Security Alarm
Equipment
PetrolDiesel
VariantsXEXLXVXVXV Premium
Exterior
Roof Antenna•••••
Body Colored Bumper•••••
Full Wheel Covers ••••
Rear Wiper and Washer ••••
Body Colored Outside Door Mirror  •••
Body Colored Outside Door Handles  •••
Radiator Grille Chrome Plating  •••
Electric Park and Fold Mirror  •••
Door Mirror Electric Adjustment  •••
14 Inch Steel Wheels•••• 
Rear Defogger  • •
15 Inch Alloy Wheels    •
Body Colored Roof Spoilers    •
Interior
Drive Computer•••••
Cup Holders33333
Bottle Holders22222
Digital Clock•••••
Passenger Vanity Mirror ••••
Integrated Front Headrests•    
Adjustable Front Headrests ••••
Adjustable Rear Headrests ••••
Tachometer ••••
Integrated Audio System With 4 Speakers & Aux-In Port ••••
Rear Parcel Shelf ••••
Manual AC with Filter•• • 
Auto AC with Filter  • •
Chrome Finished Inner Door Handles  • •
Interior Color Scheme - Black••   
Interior Color Scheme - Greige  •••
Leather Wrap Steering Wheel & Gear Knob    •
Comfort & Convenience
Power Steering•••••
Steering Tilt Adjustment•••••
Power Windows - Front & Rear ••••
Driver Side Front Window With Auto down & Anti-Pinch Function ••••
Central Door Lock ••••
Remote Keyless Entry •   
Intelligent Key With Push Button Ignition  •••
Safety
Engine Immobilizer•••••
Driver Airbag•••••
Front Fog Lamps  • •
Security Alarm  •  
Front Passenger Airbag  •  
ABS + EBD + BA  •  
Colors
Sunshine Orange
Blade Silver
Storm White
Spring Green
Onyx Black
Brick Red
Photos

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