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Two years after its global unveiling, Nissan’s new Micra has arrived on local shores ... where it faces stiff competition...

Its taken a while but eight years after its predecessor was launched here, the fifth-generation (K14) Nissan Micra has arrived in South Africa. It’s a hatchback first revealed to the world in October 2016 at the Paris Motor Show, followed by its European-market introduction in March last year. It’s also a vehicle that shares its underpinnings with another one familiar to South Africans, the Renault Clio. That is by no means a bad thing; the Clio’s chassis is one of its strong selling points.

While the platform may be familiar, the design certainly isn’t. The previous-generation Micra – unlike the funky, bug-eyed first iteration that was on sale here – was something of safe design but, happily, Nissan has pushed the boat out a little further with this one and the result is rather striking.

Far sportier in appearance than its forebear, the new Micra is a well-proportioned blend of current Nissan family features seen on the Qashqai and X-Trail, with more aggressive angles and facets. One test member even said it looks like a mini-Juke from certain angles, a compliment in our book. It’s arguably the best-looking vehicle in this segment and Nissan’s designers have done a superb job creating a hatch that looks nothing like its French sibling.

At launch, the local range consists of three models – Visia, Acenta and Acenta Plus –  all fitted with Renault’s familiar 0,9-litre, three-cylinder turbopetrol unit, here delivering 66 kW and 140 N.m. Our test unit is the mid-spec Acenta, priced against the Volkswagen Polo Comfortline and Ford Fiesta Trend derivatives. It’s quite an odd spec, too. For example, while auto-on headlamps and cruise control are standard, it has a plastic-rimmed steering wheel (only the Acenta Plus model offers a leather-wrapped one) and manual wind-up windows for rear passengers.

It is nonetheless an interior that matches the exterior’s eye-catching design, with coloured soft-touch highlights on the door cards, seats and around the gearshift gaiter, all mimicked by squishy trim on the upper dashboard.

From the comfortable driver’s seat, the integrated seven-inch infotainment screen is the focal point. It’s a system similar to those you’ll find on other Nissan products and offers Apple CarPlay as standard (Visia makes do with a simpler audio system). In terms of safety, all Micras come with six airbags and stability control as standard.

Despite it being plastic rather than leather, the steering wheel does feel good in your hands, while the horizontal spokes offer buttons for the audio system and cruise control. The latter is incidentally not offered as standard on the similarly priced Fiesta or Polo. Ahead of the gearlever is a storage space that houses aux-in, 12 V and USB sockets, and there are three cupholders between the front seats.

As is the case with many hatches in this segment – the Polo, Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz and Suzuki Baleno are exceptions – rear-passenger space is limited. The taller members of our test team (1,85 metres and up) didn’t have enough leg- and headroom and felt cramped in the back. That said, the front pews’ backs are soft and, if your legs do press into them, at least it’s not uncomfortable.

The 0,9-litre Renault-sourced engine has always sounded a little gruff at start-up and this remains true for the Micra. It improves at higher revs, although the Micra does appear to lack a little in the sound-deadening department, with noticeable levels of engine- and tyre-noise intrusion into the cabin.

Looking at its mass measurement, the Micra is between 65 and 110 kg lighter than the Polo, Fiesta and Clio. This trim figure may have its performance advantages but it also goes some way to explaining why the vehicle feels slightly less refined compared with those three.

A small-capacity engine it may be, but the little turbopetrol offers perky performance. With a high biting point, clutch modulation can be tricky at pull-away but, once on the move, its action is easier to read. The engine delivers its initial punch just above 2 000 r/min and, while it is at its peak between 5 000 and 5 500 r/min, you can rev it all the way past 6 000 r/min. You do, however, need to take some turbo lag into consideration when taking a gap in the traffic, and depressing the throttle slightly earlier will serve you well.

An area where the Micra does fall short of the Polo and Fiesta is in ride quality. Equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 65-profile tyres (the Visia offers 15-inch steel wheels and the Acenta Plus 17-inch alloys), the Micra rides flatly on smooth roads but is not as polished and supple in its suspension setup.
Two years after its global unveiling, Nissan’s new Micra has arrived on local shores ... where it faces stiff competition...

Its taken a while but eight years after its predecessor was launched here, the fifth-generation (K14) Nissan Micra has arrived in South Africa. It’s a hatchback first revealed to the world in October 2016 at the Paris Motor Show, followed by its European-market introduction in March last year. It’s also a vehicle that shares its underpinnings with another one familiar to South Africans, the Renault Clio. That is by no means a bad thing; the Clio’s chassis is one of its strong selling points.

While the platform may be familiar, the design certainly isn’t. The previous-generation Micra – unlike the funky, bug-eyed first iteration that was on sale here – was something of safe design but, happily, Nissan has pushed the boat out a little further with this one and the result is rather striking.

Far sportier in appearance than its forebear, the new Micra is a well-proportioned blend of current Nissan family features seen on the Qashqai and X-Trail, with more aggressive angles and facets. One test member even said it looks like a mini-Juke from certain angles, a compliment in our book. It’s arguably the best-looking vehicle in this segment and Nissan’s designers have done a superb job creating a hatch that looks nothing like its French sibling.

At launch, the local range consists of three models – Visia, Acenta and Acenta Plus –  all fitted with Renault’s familiar 0,9-litre, three-cylinder turbopetrol unit, here delivering 66 kW and 140 N.m. Our test unit is the mid-spec Acenta, priced against the Volkswagen Polo Comfortline and Ford Fiesta Trend derivatives. It’s quite an odd spec, too. For example, while auto-on headlamps and cruise control are standard, it has a plastic-rimmed steering wheel (only the Acenta Plus model offers a leather-wrapped one) and manual wind-up windows for rear passengers.

It is nonetheless an interior that matches the exterior’s eye-catching design, with coloured soft-touch highlights on the door cards, seats and around the gearshift gaiter, all mimicked by squishy trim on the upper dashboard.

From the comfortable driver’s seat, the integrated seven-inch infotainment screen is the focal point. It’s a system similar to those you’ll find on other Nissan products and offers Apple CarPlay as standard (Visia makes do with a simpler audio system). In terms of safety, all Micras come with six airbags and stability control as standard.

Despite it being plastic rather than leather, the steering wheel does feel good in your hands, while the horizontal spokes offer buttons for the audio system and cruise control. The latter is incidentally not offered as standard on the similarly priced Fiesta or Polo. Ahead of the gearlever is a storage space that houses aux-in, 12 V and USB sockets, and there are three cupholders between the front seats.

As is the case with many hatches in this segment – the Polo, Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz and Suzuki Baleno are exceptions – rear-passenger space is limited. The taller members of our test team (1,85 metres and up) didn’t have enough leg- and headroom and felt cramped in the back. That said, the front pews’ backs are soft and, if your legs do press into them, at least it’s not uncomfortable.

The 0,9-litre Renault-sourced engine has always sounded a little gruff at start-up and this remains true for the Micra. It improves at higher revs, although the Micra does appear to lack a little in the sound-deadening department, with noticeable levels of engine- and tyre-noise intrusion into the cabin.

Looking at its mass measurement, the Micra is between 65 and 110 kg lighter than the Polo, Fiesta and Clio. This trim figure may have its performance advantages but it also goes some way to explaining why the vehicle feels slightly less refined compared with those three.

A small-capacity engine it may be, but the little turbopetrol offers perky performance. With a high biting point, clutch modulation can be tricky at pull-away but, once on the move, its action is easier to read. The engine delivers its initial punch just above 2 000 r/min and, while it is at its peak between 5 000 and 5 500 r/min, you can rev it all the way past 6 000 r/min. You do, however, need to take some turbo lag into consideration when taking a gap in the traffic, and depressing the throttle slightly earlier will serve you well.

An area where the Micra does fall short of the Polo and Fiesta is in ride quality. Equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 65-profile tyres (the Visia offers 15-inch steel wheels and the Acenta Plus 17-inch alloys), the Micra rides flatly on smooth roads but is not as polished and supple in its suspension setup.
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – Looking for a B-segment hatchback? Well, you’re positively spoilt for choice at the moment. In years gone by, C-segment hatches seemed to be the go-to purchases but that's no longer the case, thanks in part to the continued rise of the crossover. However, smaller offerings, such as Volkswagen's Polo, are seemingly as popular as ever in South Africa. And, in a bid to take advantage of this, Nissan SA has expanded its Micra line-up to accommodate those yearning for a bit more zest and luxury.

The three new variants (featuring Acenta Plus, Tekna and Tekna Plus trim) employ the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance's turbocharged 1,0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 84 kW and 180 N.m of torque (with an additional 20 N.m on tap via an overboost feature). Those figures represent fair increases over the 66 kW and 140 N.m offered by the 898 cc unit employed by models lower in the range.

The new engine sends its oomph to the front wheels by means of a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. Demand for an automatic transmission in this segment is increasing and Nissan SA has confirmed it's working on a self-shifting option for this powertrain. In addition, the new derivatives feature sports suspension, lowering the ride height by some 10 mm.
 
After sampling the flagship model (which will set you back R336 900), I was quite impressed by the number of standard features included. Luxuries such as LED headlamps, keyless entry, a 360-degree parking cameras, leather upholstery, blind-spot monitoring and a Bose Personal sound system work together to create a properly premium small hatch experience.
 
The Bose sound system is definitely the highlight of the package, thanks to the two "UltraNearField" speakers fitted to the driver’s headrest. That said, it's unfortunate the passenger doesn’t also enjoy this unique feature. While the speaker package is comprehensive, I was a bit disappointed that the delivery of the audio was not quite as refined as that of Bose systems used in, for instance, Mazda’s products (this after a sound test with a FLAC audio file demonstrated a hint of reverb).
 
In terms of perceived quality, the high-spec Micra's cabin feels right up there with the best in the segment. The texture of the leather and plastics feels premium, and the fit and finish solid. Interestingly, however, the air-conditioning system's minimum temperature setting is a fairly lofty 18 degrees. Not ideal on a scorching day in Johannesburg.
 
Using the outgoing Renault Clio’s platform as a base, the Micra is still an enjoyable car to pilot, while that new sports suspension and the fairly weighty electrically assisted power steering system add a further degree of excitement. In terms of handling, the small hatch feels refreshingly enthusiastic, thanks in part at least to its set of grippy Bridgestone Turanza tyres. Overall, the vehicle offers an impressive mix of stability and comfort through the suburbia and on highways.
 
The new 1,0-litre engine, however, doesn't quite match the verve of the chassis (the 88 kW 1,2-litre four-cylinder engine used in the Clio GT-Line launched back in 2017 felt far stronger, for instance). While this latest three-cylinder unit is fairly refined, it struggles somewhat with turbo-lag, forcing the driver to rev the engine harder than is ideal in order to make decent progress. In addition, the hill-start assist function feels unusually intrusive, holding the vehicle in place a fraction longer than it needs to, thus making for a sometimes awkward take-off.

While the B-segment certainly is certainly bustling at the moment, it's interesting to note there aren't many hot hatches playing in this part of the market. Nissan’s MR16DDT turbocharged 1,6-litre engine (used in the fourth-generation Renault Clio RS) would be the perfect powerplant to push the Micra into this performance territory, particularly with a six-speed manual gearbox fitted. Something like this would make a great successor to the 1988 Nissan Micra Super Turbo and put smiles on the faces of enthusiasts. One can only dream...

Regardless of my hot hatch fantasies, I will say this: while the new engine isn't quite as perky as I had hoped, these latest well-equipped additions to the local Micra range serve to broaden the line-up's appeal, offering further choice to the many consumers considering vehicles in this segment. And that's surely only a good thing for buyers...
2020 Nissan Micra 66KW Turbo Acenta

Full Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: 2 front + 1 rear
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 6
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: front passenger + outer rear
  • Approach home safe lighting time delay park headlights: Standard
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Engine auto Stop Start idle stop ecostop: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front
  • Central locking: remote
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Electric windows: front
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Daytime driving running lights: LED
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Rear spoiler: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: petrol
  • Fuel range average: 804 km
  • Driven wheels: front
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 5
  • Gearshift: manual
  • Transmission type: manual
  • Front tyres: 195/55 R16
  • Reartyres: 195/55 R16
  • Length: 3999 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1743 mm
  • Height: 1465 mm
  • Wheel base: 2525 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 10.3 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 300-360-1004 L
  • Load volume / capacity: 1004 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 909 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 1530 kg
  • Towing capacity - braked: 870
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 41l
  • Fuel consumption urban: 6.7 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption extra urban: 4.2 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption average: 5.1 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 115g/km
  • Emission control phase Euro EU level: EU 5
  • Power maximum: 66 kW
  • Power maximum total: 66 kW
  • Power peak revs: 5500 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 72.6 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 140 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 2250 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 140 Nm
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 12.1s
  • Maximum top speed: 170 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 898 cc
  • Engine size: 0.9l
  • enginedetailshort: 0.9T
  • Engine + detail: 0.9 turbo
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 3
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i3
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 12
  • Variable camvalve timing: Standard
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 6
  • Warranty distance (km): 150000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 3
  • Service plan time (distance): 90000 km
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Brand: Nissan
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 47010370
  • MMVariant: MICRA 900T ACENTA
  • MMintrodat: 2018-05-18
  • Introdate: 2018-06-14
  • DuoportarecordID: NissMicr3h02

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