First Drive: 2014 Nissan Micra

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The Nissan Micra was first introduced in 2010, and though the car was loaded with first-in-the-segment features sales weren’t exactly electric. Why? The styling wasn’t that attractive, Nissan’s please-everyone design was considered a bit too girlish. The interiors were not a nice place to be in, even though there were many unique features available. People want their cars to be a value for money proposition but look ‘sporty’  and upmarket at the same time, several automakers have either introduced a new product or revived their existing B+ hatchback model. Not wanting to be left behind, Nissan has given the Micra a facelift and much more.

This is our first take on the 2014 Nissan Micra.

What’s New?

Exterior Design

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The Micra’s dimensions are as follows (LxWxH in mm): 3825 x 1665 x 1530. Gone are the roundish styling elements of the old Micra, the facelift car looks pretty contemporary and stylish. Styling changes include a new front grille, the Nissan logo is fixed between two ‘v’ shaped chrome elements which is Nissan’s new corporate look. The roundish headlamps of the old car have now been replaced by smart swept back units, the front fog lamps are now more prominent unlike the ones in the old car which looked as though they were added as an afterthought.

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The lights at the back have been redesigned too, though the basic shape of the tail-lamp unit is same as before, the elements inside have been changed the highlight being new LED brake lights – a first-in-class feature. The simple seven-spoke alloys of the previous car been replaced by stylish new alloy wheels, continuing the smart and sporty theme of the facelift. The hatch door at the back looks more cohesive, the boot-lip now flows onto the bumper.

Interior Design

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The Micra’s interior was always ergonomically sound, but the sea of grey that the old Micra had was very boring to look at and so the facelift only gets some cosmetic upgrades to make it look better. The monotonous dashboard is now a bit easy on the eyes beacuse of the break given by the new centre console. The centre console now has a piano black finish and is highlighted by a silver element, it gets new rectangular air-con vents though the vents at the ends of the dashboard are still round. The prime focus of the centre console is a new music system, which now has USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Another added feature on the Micra is the controls for the music system on the steering wheel and the chrome Nissan logo which makes the car look premium. The Micra also gets new seat fabric and new trims on the door pads. The rest of the interior, design-wise, is similar to the old Micra.

Quality

Nissan vehicles always had decent plastic quality and good fit and finish, and new Micra is no different. The quality doesn’t just look good, but even feels nice when you touch it. Even the indicator and wiper stalks are light but strong and easy to use.

Comfort and Convenience

The Micra now gets driver’s seat height adjustment, which makes it easy to get into the best driving posture possible. Power steering, power windows and climate control come as standard across the variants. The convenience list on the Micra is pretty long; iKey (keyless entry and push start-stop), electrically folding mirror and adjustment, steering mounted audio controls, bluetooth connectivity and USB connection for audio, etc.

Safety

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The Micra now gets dual airbags, and a rear-view camera on the top end variants. Earlier the diesel variants didn’t have ABS on offer, even on the range-topping XV Premium, which has now been rectified by the Japanese manufacturer.

Engine and Transmission

Nissan will continue to offer two engines on the Micra, 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel both mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.  The  75 BHP petrol engine is highly refined mill with low NVH levels. The power delivery is fairly linear and you do not have to often shift gears even when driving in traffic. The engine pulls cleanly without any struggle, even at low rpm. The gearbox is a bit rubbery though.

The diesel engine on offer is the K9K that powers several Renault and Nissan cars. This engine produces about 65bhp of power and is highly refined. The biggest USP of this engine is the uniformity of torque, as there is no turbo lag, unlike most of the modern petrol engines. Again, the manual transmission is a bit too rubbery.

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What excites us the is the fact that the petrol engine is also being offered, for the first time, with a CVT tansmission. The CVT box is the X-Tronic unit found in its elder sibling— the Sunny. The new-generation CVT box is more fuel-efficient than the manual transmission and Nissan claims this transmission to return a fuel economy of 19+kmpl, an ARAI figure is not available to back up this claim though.

Driving and Handling

The Micra has been designed more for daily city driving and hence the suspension has been tuned for better comfort. This means the suspension is designed to soak up most of the bumps and jolts on the bad and uneven road surfaces. The steering wheel is also light and easy to drive in bumper-to-bumper city traffic.

Competition Check

With this price range, the 2014 Nissan Micra goes is up against the following cars:

  • Hyundai i10
  • Chevrolet Beat
  • Ford Figo
  • Honda Brio
  • Chevrolet Sail U-VA
  • Maruti Suzuki Ritz
  • Renault Pulse
  • Toyota Etios Liva
  • Maruti Suzuki Swift
  • Tata Indica Vista
  • Hyundai i20
  • Volkswagen Polo
  • Fiat Grande Punto
  • Skoda Fabia
  • Mahindra Verito Vibe
  • Skoda Fabia

Value for money?

Detailed price list of the Nissan Micra is as follows:

  • Nissan Micra Petrol XL : Rs. 4.80 Lakhs
  • Nissan Micra Petrol XL (O): Rs. 5.43 Lakhs
  • Nissan Micra Petrol XV CVT: Rs. 6.39 Lakhs
  • Nissan Micra Diesel XL : Rs. 6.00 Lakhs
  • Nissan Micra Diesel XL(O): Rs. 6.43 Lakhs
  • Nissan Micra Diesel XV: Rs. 6.90 Lakhs
  • Nissan Micra Diesel XV Premium: Rs. 7.14 Lakhs

Conclusion

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The Nissan Micra is now a more compelling buy, it looks smarter on the outside, it feels better on the inside, it drives better thanks to the CVT transmission and it makes you feel superior because of the first-in-class features that it has. There are some cars, like the Tata Vista which may be better value-for-money, but Nissan’s quality and the Micra’s feel-good factor sure make it a great buy.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. […] The Nissan Micra was first introduced in 2010, and though the car was loaded with first-in-the-segment features sales weren’t exactly electric. Why? The styling wasn’t that attractive, Nissan’s please-everyone design was considered a bit too girlish. The interiors were not a nice place to be in, even though there were many unique features available. People [Read more…] […]

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