Nissan, the Japanese automaker, launched the Micra hatchback in 2010 in India. However, due to stiff competition, the car could not do as good as its maker expected. This made Nissan bring in its facelifted model in 2013. Though the vehicle received quite a lot of exterior and interior changes, it remained unchanged mechanically.
The new model looks completely different from the old one. It gets a radiator grille with a thick chrome bar, new headlights, fog lights with chrome surround and modified bumper, new alloys, new LED tail lights and few more updates. The interior, too, is up-market with piano black finish on centre console, dashboard with chrome inserts and new features, better seat cushioning and additional comfort-enhancing features. The engine mechanism remains unchanged. The hatchback continues to feature the 75bhp, 1.2-litre, DOHC petrol engine and the 63bhp, 1.5-litre, SOHC diesel engine. A 5-speed manual gearbox and a new 5-speed CVT automatic transmission are on offer. It’s one of the most fuel efficient Nissan cars in India. The tweaked suspension improves its ride quality, though it still gets unstable and bouncy at high speeds. The handling is decent, but driving dynamics are relatively deprived than its rivals. Upgrade to new Nissan Micra by exchanging your used car
The new, refreshed Micra has seen the most number of changes at the front. All the three body panels (two side and bonnet slab) and the front bumper have been changed and the result is a more aggressive and completely new frontal looks. The bonnet grille gets a honey-comb pattern and there is the new V-theme built into the chrome sash that adorns the grille just below the Nissan logo. This theme extends onto the V-shaped ridge on the bonnet and the airdam below the grille.
The headlamps feature a new design now, though the peeled back, bug-eyed overall appearance continues. A curved bottom edge and the kink on the outer corners of the headlamps give them a new look. The lamps’ combination has also accordingly changed. The bumper is now larger and bulges forward even more, swallowing almost all of the facelifted Micra’s increased length of 45 mm. The top variants of the Micra will now also feature a triangular foglamp with chrome housing.
The rest of the Micra’s exterior design has been retained. The roofline, the straight shoulder line, the door design and the door mirrors are all the same as the previous generation’s. However, the rear of the facelifted Micra gets some changes including a new bumper and a new set of tail-lamps with a line of LED brake lights. The overall design of the tail-lamps remain the same.
The interior uses a darker, deeper blue, with high contrasting ivory and orange colours matching the exterior to give a sense of unity to the car. The company is introducing the Nissan Intelligent Driving across all grades. There is a touchscreen system with navigation, reverse parking camera, steering mounted audio controls and climate control too. This will get Bose music system, which will enhance the music experience.
Diesels rule the roost here in India and Nissan read those signs pretty early. As a result we have the diesel Micra launched within six months of the petrol’s arrival. And what you see here under the hood is exactly the same unit that has been powering the diesel Mahindra-Renault Logan albeit carrying a lot less weight, 130 plus kg to be precise. The 1.5 dCi unit pushes out a Logan identical 65 PS @ 4000 rpm and maximum torque of 160 Nm @ 2000 rpm. The only difference here is that the Micra looses the intercooler and a result some weight as well. Start the motor up and it fires to life with the usual diesel clatter but once warmed up it settles down to a nice quite idle.
One of the best power to weight ratios in its class means, the Micra dCi feels pretty sprightly off the mark. Keep shifting in the power band and the Micra hits the ton in 16.2 seconds which is pretty much in the same vein as the Swift diesel. Drivability is also pretty good and there is no turbo lag whatsoever. Push it harder though and the Micra takes on a gruff note. The sweet spot lies in the 1500 – 3500 rpm range where this baby is the happiest. The gear shift has a nice positive throw as well and going up and down the box is hardly a chore. But thanks to the amazing drivability even that is barely needed.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The steering feels really good to hold and has grips on the 10/2 position and is slightly dished out. Although it feels great to hold, it does somewhat feels a tad too large. Even though the horn button on the steering is light and easy to use, we found that the horn itself is quite weak and the Micra desperately needs to have dual horns to cope with our country’s driving conditions. The instrument cluster is a fairly straightforward simple to read affair. There’s a speedometer that takes centerstage and the tachometer to its left. On the right of the speedometer are warning lights and a digital display which show the odometer and trip readings in addition to distance to empty and a real time fuel economy readout. This ‘Drive Computer’ as Nissan likes to call it, is a standard feature across all trim levels.
Nissan has built the Micra to last and there are not many reasons to complain on this. The doors shut with a loud thud indicating that Nissan has kept some quality control in the manufacturing process. The suspension soaks up most of the bumps and jerks, The Micra’s suspension has been softened top meet the requirements set by Indian road conditions. The Micra is the first of the cars to provide for drivers side airbag, even in the base variant. The Micra is well put together too, not one rattle heard. Plastics feel upmarket and even the silver center console does not feel cheap. The cabin is well damped and Nissan has used an oval crank pulley mounting for its 3 cylinder engine and hence there is no vibration or humm felt at idling.
There’s a reasonable amount of space inside and visibility out is good, and it’s a comfortable if not particularly engaging drive. In spite of a parsimoniously equipped base model, other cars do fairly well with their equipment levels.