The new Nissan Micra
The last time I was at Naas Nissan a few months ago, the lads were telling me about the new Micra. Their tone of voice suggested huge anticipation. Word filtering through was that it was ‘deadly’ as one of the lads put it.
Nissan retailers have every good reason to get excited about a new Micra — for a number of years it was their highest selling car, before the Qashquai came along and took over that mantle.
Anyway the fateful day arrived and last Thursday morning I found myself behind the wheel of a brand new Micra.
A couple of things to say — it replaces both the old Micra and the Nissan Note, which was traditionally a little bit bigger than the Micra.
That’s because the new Micra is significantly bigger than the old one, and possibly even bigger than the Note.
It’s a sporty looking number, and the one thing that struck me was the possibility that it could well become a favourite of the boy-racer types, in the same way that the Honda Civic did.
Lookswise, it’s kinda going in that direction.
The engine was interesting. The one I drove had a .9 litre petrol engine which, at low revs, gives you the same performance as you used to get from the older Micras - which is to say, something that would be reassuring to the traditional Micra driver .
However, this engine also has a turbo attached, with the result that if you have a heavy foot, then this car will do what somebody with a heavy foot wants it to do when the rev counter goes north of 2,500 rpm.
It’s possible that this wasn’t planned, but they’ve managed to satisfy both markets — the sedate and the less responsible.
Driving the car was interesting. It’s full of the kind of gagetry you’d expect these days.
While much of it is becoming standard enough, two particular innovations interested me.
The first was the lane departure warnings which makes the steering wheel vibrate on the side the car that is veering of the lane.
The second, and better one, is a red light in your wing mirror which lights up (and one on the dash also) when there’s a car passing you but which might be in your blindspot.
That’s a particularly good innovation because I think it’s fair to assume that none of us have made it through our driving careers without at least once falling foul of that blind spot.
Another thing I noticed was that it for a small car (although far from the smallest car I’ve driven) it feels very very solid on the road. The steering was reassuringly heavy and there was very little sway as I floored it around a roundabout. This is a solid car with a good suspension.
It’s solidly built and comfortable to drive.
You know that famous question: “If you had to take it for a spin for a weekend in Kerry, would you be happy?”
Well, yes, I would. I’d imagine It’d be comfortable and fun to drive.
All of which makes it interesting that the brochure never mentions neither available engines nor the driving experience.
After the thematic stuff about making it your living space and ‘brimming with confidence’ there’s a bit about the Bose speakers in your head rest, and the variety of colours you can get it in.
This isn’t a criticism — more an observation. Nissan has aimed this car at people who are more interested in the colour, trim and gadgets — and who want a safe car, and who possibly aren’t overly bothered by what it’s like to drive in.
Dare I say it, they’re aiming it at young women. That’s fair enough, they pay the big bucks for marketing experts, and I’m not one of them, nor am I the target audience. However, this car will have a market beyond that demographic.
This is a good looking car, with Nissan quality and reliability, that will prove attractive to all sorts of buyer types.
If you were in the market for something slightly smaller than a Golf or Focus or Civic, but equally reliable and comfortable, you couldn’t go too far wrong with the the new Micra (or indeed, with the excellaet Pulsar, one of the best cars I’ve driven in any segment in recent times).
Engines available are the .9 turbo petrol and a 1.5 diesel (which would be interesting to drive).
I’ve thought for some time that Nissan currently has one of the most impressive line-ups of any of the more popular car companies, and the new Micra is a worthy addition to that.
Prices start from €22,250, and go up from there to €25,250 — although Nissan also have their various discounts for bangers, so you’d probably get on the road for something quite attractive.
Contact Naas Nissan at 045 888438.