Value. It is what the Indian consumer is looking for. Whether it is the world’s cheapest car or the best car in the world, we want the most bang for our buck, and this is most apparent in our market’s fast-growing hatchback segment. There are two ways to approach the concept of ‘value’ – one, to offer a low price. Sure, there will be compromises on quality, but you essentially get more car for your money. The other is to provide extra features at the same price as the competition. Nissan had tried the former with the original India-spec Micra, but with the imminent launch of budget sub-brand Datsun, they’re taking the Micra brand to the place it usually occupies in the markets it is present in: the premium end of the hatchback segment.
DESIGN AND STYLING ;
With substantial exterior updates, the new model of the hatchback looks completely different from the old one. The front fascia sports radiator grille with a thick chrome bar, new headlights, fog lights with chrome surround and modified bumper. The side profile, however, remains largely similar to the old mode, except for the new alloy wheels. The rear end gets new LED tail lights, revised bumper with bold creases and longer tail gate.
The bulbous theme follow suite on the inside as well. Nissan’s ‘twin bubble theme’ dashboard in multi-grain plastic looks very modern and breaks away from the conventional dashboard layouts. The nice roomy interiors remain and the Micra is definitely one of the most cozy cars to be in. While we already mentioned about the lack of storage places in our earlier review Nissan probably read wrong and as a result the second glovebox has now been omitted. Other than skimping on storage places, there is not much to fault with and everything feels pretty well put together.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE :
Due to tax benefits most manufacturers are tuning into 1.2 ltr engines and since fuel efficiency is more of a concern to the Indian buyer, a 3 cylinder engine is the ideal compromise between power and efficiency. The Micra is powered by a 1.2 ltr DOHC 3 cylinder petrol engine which churns out 75 BHP @ 6000 rpm and 104 NM Torque @ 4000 rpm. Low end grunt is not the best but the acceleration is good above 2000 rpm. The Micra gives 18.06 kmpl as per ARAI but practically speaking we expect the Micra to deliver 14 – 15 kmpl in regular city driving, which is pretty good. Floor the engine and the Micra hits 120 comfortably, keep it floored and it accelerated towards 140 but then you back off as the tires don’t give you enough confidence to push beyond. Thanks to the Renault – Nissan alliance, a diesel engine is just around the corner and the diesel Micra will be powered by a 1.5 ltr diesel which is currently serving the Logan.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
It covers the low-speed stuff well enough, offering a smooth urban ride that is unaffected by lumps and bumps like most things in the class. Its electrically assisted steering is light, as most buyers will demand, and although it lacks the oily slickness and response of the better electric racks, it proves accurate enough.
Raise the speed and you challenge a few of the Micra’s facets. The first is noise – the Micra isn’t an overly refined car – and the second is its driving dynamics. We wouldn’t expect the Micra to be any kind of driver’s car, but there are superminis out there, even inexpensive ones like the Suzuki Swift and Skoda Fabia, which maintain a broader level of capability at all speeds than the Micra, whose primary interest is at the slower end of the scale.
SAFETY AND FEATURES ;
The base model on the Micra has a new steering wheel and even centre arm-rest. As the demand for automatics is on the rise, this will help Nissan to capture more buyers especially those who need an automatic and aren’t willing to spend a lot more on the features. The other features include push start and stop, keyless entry, in-dash music system with steering mounted controls. There is even ABS on offer as well. The company had earlier even introduced dual airbags as a standard feature for all variants. Now, the base model is offered with a single driver airbag.
There are three variants (trim levels, including one CVT variant) of the petrol engine, and four variants of the diesel engine to choose from.The facelift has improved the overall appeal of the Micra. Standard equipment levels including some safety and comfort features will certainly boost the value proposition too. Hopefully, Nissan will keep any price increase on the new versions to a minimum. Currently the prices for the Micra range from Rs. 4.3 lakh to Rs. 6.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The 2014 Micra will be available at Nissan showrooms by the end of this month.