By Ntsako Mthethwa
Nissan’s small car has been a success in a competitive part of the market.
Nissan’s Micra, which has been around for close to a decade, plays in a segment where first-time car buyers and singles would look at buying a value-for-money city car.
The year 2011 saw the introduction of the second generation Micra which was doubtlessly on par with the likes of the Volkswagen Polo and Toyota’s Etios.
It has been a success story all through these years and for the 2018 model year, Nissan will introduce a new generation in South Africa, but that is not this car, the Japanese car maker has added a new derivative to the current range, called the Micra Active.
Changes are gentle. Park it next to current models and you will spot the changes with ease.
The Micra Active comes with a reworked head and taillights. The bumpers have been tweaked a bit, while the interior has been pinched.
You get a manual air-conditioning, front power windows, Bluetooth with audio streaming capability, a 12v power socket plus steering wheel adjustment and foldable rear seats – something that competitors offer at an additional cost. The looks are on point – like the rest of the range.
And launching the Micra through the streets of Soweto proved that this car suits a funky young lifestyle person.
Nissan’s Trendsetter Pack adds a body kit that gives the Micra an aggressive look.
For R8 500 extra you get black alloys, rear fin, mud flaps and a chrome finish on the exhaust tip.
Good news is that the familiar four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine soldiers on with a capable 56kW and 104Nm. The power and torque gets to the front wheels via a smooth five-speed manual transmission.
Not a race car but it will get you to 100km/h in about 13.2 seconds before running out of steam at 166km/h it is claimed.
We did not pay much attention to the fuel consumption figures during launch but Nissan say the Micra will return a decent 5.2-litres per 100km which would come in handy in today’s economy.
On the road, the Micra feels relaxed, more specially in urban areas because of the light steering wheel.
It is a comfortable car and the seating position in the front is spot on.
The five-speed gearbox is easy to get from reverse to first and back again and given its excellent turning circle of 4.6m, it is the best and you do not have to worry about that. Good as it looks, it fits flawlessly into skintight parking spaces with ease.
In the safety department, it comes standard with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, driver and passenger airbags plus ISOfix child seat anchorage in the second row.
Nissan asks R159 900 for its new Micra. Good news is that Nissan offers the touch-screen navigation and infotainment system as a free accessory for the launch period.
The system comes with TomTom mapping with live traffic, Bluetooth hands-free music streaming, USB input plus a builtin hard drive and it’s compatible with all iPhone/iPod models.
There are high-end optional extras for your convenience such as a reverse camera, tyre pressure monitoring system and reverse parking sensors. The Micra Active comes with a three-year 90 000km service plan and a six-year 150 000km warranty.