When is a Micra not a Micra? When it is the new Nissan Micra. Then its more like a Renault Clio.
The new Micra is much bigger than the original Micra and is effectively the same size as its sibling , the present Clio and a B segment contender. So, new car, new shape, new size. Only the name remains the same.
I personally like the more assertive look and additional space.
The rear three quarter view is particularly striking and pleasing to the eye. The rear door handles are integrated into the black C pillars and almost disappear. The whole rear design has been well executed. The new look in front is more serious and is also a big improvement on the previous model.
The noise levels in the cabin are more than acceptable as is the general ambience. It has a premium feel to it.
The two tone interior is pleasing to the eye and very functional, except for the driver’s seat which I found tended to numb the nether regions on slightly longer drives.
The infotainment system is simple but up-to-date and very easy to use. Bluetooth connectivity for the phone is easy to set up and works flawlessly and is very clear. The air conditioner is not very powerful but will cool the car down after a while and then keep it cool.
The fully functional steering wheel is just right as is the weight of the steering. The clutch, gears, brakes are all well set up except in a particular situation, more of which below.
Fuel consumption will vary between 5L/100km on the open road to slightly over 7L/100km in general driving. Going uphill is a different kettle of fish. The engine only delivers really usable power around 3000 rpm to about 4500. As a result you have to change down probably two gears on a hill to get the revs up so that you can actually go up the hill, and in so doing your consumption will shoot up to 16L/100km or more.
This is perhaps due to the Renault-sourced 0.9-litre, 3-cylinder turbopetrol engine which offers 66 kW and 140 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, just not having enough grunt.
The new Micra comes well equipped on the safety front with 6-airbags, ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist and ISOFIX child seat mounts.
The boot is okay and the space for the spare wheel will accommodate a full spare if you don’t like a marie biscuit space saver spare. The new emergency wheels are very good though and will allow you to drive a few hundred km at a safe 80km/h.
Pricing starts at R233 500 for the base model, the mid-level Acenta costs R257 500, while the top-of-the-range model is R272 400. I think the mid-range model hits the sweet spot.
Cars in the same category include the Mazda 2, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Peugeot 208.
You get a 6-year/150 000 km warranty and a 3-year/90 000 km service plan thrown in.