By Sala Masindane
The Micra has been a revelation for Nissan South Africa, selling relatively good units since its initial introduction to the local market. The recently launched 5th-generation Micra will be running with the baton from now onwards. So why change a winning formula? Well there’s a simple answer from Nissan South Africa, it’s not a change but an improvement to stake a claim in the market. The cold and dry Gauteng Province was our testing ground for the range topping Micra Acenta Plus Tech, to also see if it can compete in the local B-segment market which is hotly contested by the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai i20. Side Note: The Micra Active is still available to ensure that Nissan has a share in the lower B-segment market.
We are still spending time with the @nissanza Micra Turbo Acenta Plus Tech. The Micra is powered by a 0.9-litre, 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine that pushes outputs of 66kW and 140Nm of torque. Drives well, is comfortable and is fuel efficient. pic.twitter.com/FhjBidCDxZ
— Khulekani on Wheels (@khuleonwheels) June 8, 2019
In terms of the design, the new Micra is a massive improvement from the previous generation, in fact it’s totally a new shape. The Micra has been redesigned from the ground up with curvier lines and the Nissan V-motion grille in chrome and gloss black. The boomerang LED daytime running lights and boomerang taillights and blacked out C-Pillar with the back door neatly tucked into it complement the new design. There is also an option to add the roof spoiler to give the Micra an extra sporty look.
Step inside the Micra and you are met by an expressive two-tone dashboard colour scheme which is also available on the lower Acenta trim. The interior theme of our test Acenta-Plus Tech was the Energy Orange upholstery which complimented the black and orange dashboard and brought the cabin alive. The T-shaped gliding dashboard design with chrome and gloss black gives the Micra more character and premium feel. The D-shaped leather multifunctional steering wheel akin to that found in Nissan’s flagship GT-R stands out on the cabin of our test Micra.
This week we are in the @nissanza Micra 66kW Turbo Acenta Plus Tech Nim with all the bells whistles. It comes standard with Energy Orange two-tone interior pack, 7-inch infotainment with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, and Nissan’s NIM. It is priced from R299,900. pic.twitter.com/VVbq61Uvo6
— Khulekani on Wheels (@khuleonwheels) June 6, 2019
On the infotainment side, a 7-inch floating touchscreen colour display system and Apple CarPlay that is standard on the Micra Acenta models made the time spent stuck in traffic or when we needed to navigate using the smartphone Apps seamless. The audio system is also compatible with USB/Bluetooth. Android users may feel aggrieved as Android Auto is not available on the Micra. All the controls are easily accessible for the driver to operate but we did miss the arm rest as it is replaced by three averaged sized cup holders and we are not complaining about that decision. Truth be told the Micra is not for bigger families and space will also be an issue for taller occupants like myself. Whenever the front seat was in my driving position it would be difficult for people to seat behind the driver’s seat. In this segment and all others, cruise control has become a necessity and that is standard across all the trims of the Micra.
Engine and drive
The daily traffic and national road commute provided a stern test for the Micra, but the ride was comfortable and the punchy Micra was stable always. Once we were on the highway, the 66kW and 140Nm of torque assisted with the overtaking, with no necessity to gear down. The 0.9-litre, 3-cyclinder turbopetrol engine that is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission eased through these obstacles and the occasional change down was required on certain inclines. The transmission is smooth but a bit hesitant on take-off and through the corners its impressive. In the city, it was quite easy to manoeuvre due to the size and park distance control front and back. In addition, our test car came fitted with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility (NIM) which includes a 360-degree view of the vehicle. This function uses four cameras to deliver a panoramic view that makes reversing and parking easier. Other features of the NIM also include; keyless entry with push start, hill start assist, intelligent trace control, moving object detection and forward emergency braking. One of the problems was the driver’s side mirror, we could never get a comfortable position in terms of the blind spot but thanks to NIM that alerted us whenever there was a vehicle in blind spot area on either side of the car, we were always safe. After spending time with R299,900 priced Micra, we found it to be worth considering when looking for a B-Segment vehicle, plus the standard features and NIM make it a good offering.
The Nissan Micra is covered by Nissan Assured and comes with a six-year/150,000km warranty; a three-year/90,000km service plan; and 24/7 roadside assistance.
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