We liked the new Micra when it was launched last year, but its 66kW powerplant was lacking in sufficient punch for the hills at the reef. Enter the new turbocharged one litre engine under the bonnet of our white test car. Power here sits nearly at 84kW whilst torque rises to 180Nm, but also benefits from overboost.
This makes its way to the front wheels via a six-speed manual and if that isn't enough of an upgrade you'll be glad to hear that the suspension has been given a sportier treatment as well. Naturally its quicker now, able to dispatch the zero to hundred sprint in just 9.9 seconds - a convincing upgrade from the old car's 12.1. Fuel consumption and carbon emissions are both reduced as a result of the more sophisticated engine and overall the Micra is now a much more fun little B-Segment hatchback to pilot.
It even has a flat-bottomed steering wheel!
Hop in and you'll encounter what Nissan's marketing team call a ‘Seatcentric’ experience. Basically, its lingo for a more engaging cabin including premium-feel materials and a wealth of connectivity options. Naturally, you'll encounter steering-wheel mounted controls, enjoy a 7-inch touchscreen and 5-TFT instrument screen. Screen-sharing smartphone users have their choice in Apple Carplay and Android Auto depending on their ecosystem of choice, and as long as you've chosen the Tekna or Tekna Plus models, you'll get to pipe your tunes through the Bose Personal sound system. It does a convincing job of delivering 310-degree sound for smaller spaces thanks in part to an amplifier in the seat and near field speakers in the headrest. Smart.
Let’s wrap this up
The new Micra engine is a big improvement, and I imagine at the coast you really will enjoy the full range of its forcefully aspirated powertrain. But at altitude, acceleration requires maximum effort in the shallow bit of the rev range before the turbo starts to sing. It's not a deal breaker at all, especially on highways where momentum is king.
Pricing starts at R305k for the Acenta Plus where the old engine lives on in the entry level model at R250k. Choose a 1.0T in Tekna (R326k) or Tekna Plus (R336k) if you want that Bose sound system and a few more hop-ups. The entire range enjoys the same 6yr/150 000km warranty and 3yr/90 000km service plan from Nissan making the Micra now more than ever, a proper rival to the stalwarts from this segment.
|Tekna Plus ||R336,900.00|
Nissan Micra 1.0T Tekna Plus Spec:
|Engine ||1.0l 3-cyl, turbocharged|
|Gearbox ||6-speed manual|
|Driven Wheels ||Front|
|0-100kph ||9.9 seconds|
|Top Speed ||195kph|
|Average Fuel Consumption ||5l/100km|
|CO2 Emissions ||4.3l/100km|
What is Nissan Carcade?
In short, Nissan Carcade is a South African developed application for Android and Apple users that can be used for a plethora of things such as, booking test drives, requesting brochures and learning more about the Micra. But, and this part is fun, it also comes with a feature called 'Visualizer', an augmented reality function where you can explore the Micra virtually by generating one on any flat surface for a closer inspection both inside and out. There's also a tamer 3D mode for smartphones with, shall we say, smaller engines?