Friday 15 December 2017

Why you'll see the new Micra in a much different light after this small-car revolution from Nissan

First drive in Dubrovnik: Nissan Micra

Radically different: Nissan Micra
Radically different: Nissan Micra
The Micra interior has a large amount of technology
The new Micra features a lot more cabin room
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Nissan's new Micra is now a totally different proposition.

This fifth generation is not just 'new', it's radically different in all areas.

Indeed, it is such a shift away in terms of looks, room, size and technology that, really, the name 'Micra' will have to come to mean something altogether different from here on in.

Expect to see it on Irish forecourts by April with a choice of three engines: a 1-litre 73bhp petrol (by far the biggest seller - 75pc), an 0.9-litre turbo-petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel (both 90bhp).

It will be interesting to see how it is received by the large numbers of more mature drivers who buy a Micra. I think most will like it: Why should they shun something that is sharper and improved? Yes, it is bigger but not overly or dauntingly so.

And for younger drivers - so many start with a Micra - it will mean taking to the road in a much crisper motor. Around 1,200 people buy a Micra each year. Like the Note (sadly, to be discontinued) it's a silent seller. With the new one there will be four trim levels (as opposed to three currently) and, inevitably, a mega range of 'personalisation' options. Mix in as many as 10 colours and, Nissan estimate, you get 125 different variations .

The current Micra costs from €15,895 but this new one will, I believe, kick off between €16,000-€16,500 (nearer the latter). That's in the region of key rival (and imminent new) Ford Fiesta's pricing. It is a super competitive segment, crowded with some of the best-known names on the road (Yaris, Polo, i20, Fabia etc).

One of the striking elements in this is the amount of technology that has filtered down from larger models: Intelligent Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Prevention for example.

Just how much will be standard remains to be seen but they have Intelligent Around View Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist and Blind Spot Warning on offer.

Nissan say these are the "building blocks" for autonomous driving.

That's for the future. For this drive, my attention was on how it looked, felt and drove.

It is lower, wider and longer and there is a lot more cabin room (across the front and back). And there is a decent-sized boot.

The new chassis shone on some sprightly driving with the 0.9-litre under the bonnet. It's much better on the road. As a driver I sat lower and had good seat/steering wheel adjustment.

Based closely on the Sway Concept we saw in Geneva in 2015, its V­-motion grille, floating roof and rear-door handles secreted in the back pillars alter your perception of 'Micra' immediately.

Inside, the 'gliding­ wing' dash is clean and simple; and there are clear dials and instrumentation on the 7in central display (access to audio, sat nav, mobile phone, downloadable apps and Siri voice control via Apple CarPlay etc).

There was little wind or tyre noise, making the cabin noticeably quiet. You can change that, if you like, with a new super-duper six­-speaker Bose Personal sound system.

Depending on trim there are drive-related items such as Active Ride Control and Active Trace Control for sharper handling. Ours had Chassis Control, for example.

It's all part of the 'new' Micra era.

Indo Motoring

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