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Thami Masemola
Date published: 05/09/2019
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Tags: Nissan; Micra; Visia;Acenta;Acenta Plus;Acenta Plus Tech;New;Mzansi
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New Nissan Micra goes Digital

Nissan South Africa has not been in the upper-class baby hatchback/ supermini market for some time now. While the previous-generation Micra held fort for years after its best days, nothing else really replaced it. Until recently. The new Micra is available in Mzansi and aims to challenge the leader in its segment, mainly through its highly attractive design, but also via what the company believes is a value proposition.



The brand’s Micra Active has effectively been turned into the entry-level, no-frills hatch that caters for people looking for minimal features, but good value. Therefore the new Micra has moved into a space occupied by the likes of Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Honda Jazz and Mazda2 amongst others.

Indeed, design has played a major role in the rethinking of the Micra. Yes, it has been in production since the end of 2016 and sold in several countries from early 2017. But that doesn’t mean it has lost its spark. In fact, it arrived as a fresh new face in the market, with cutting-edge lines, bold looks and a highly pleasing demeanour. Nissan’s so-called “V-active” front grille cuts quite a bold figure, without alienating. The side profile is sporty, with a 1:3 window/ door splitconcave and convex lines, a hidden rear door handle, standout rear lights and quite a busy back end. Nissan will fit 15-inch wheels ex-factory, but the menu goes up to 17-inches.



Interior is fairly spacious with ample storage space for items like cups and cell phones. It’s a comfortable, welcoming place to be in, especially because of the two-tone coloured materials. Two-tone is standard across the range by the way, and buyers may specify according to their tastes. Our unit was fitted in black and cream, but as you can see, someone else could prefer black and orange. Six exterior colours are initially available. The car’s total length is just shy of 4 metres, with a width of 1.7m, height of 1.46m and a wheelbase of 2.5m. The boot has an impressive loading capacity of 300 litres minimum, rising up to 1 004kg when the rear seats are folded.



This is the most digitally-connected Micra of all time, and all four body trims – VisiaAcentaAcenta Plus and Acenta Plus Tech– are standard with Bluetooth. Factory-fitted features, include front power windowsaircon, cruise control and six airbags among others. Higher models add items like USB ports, a 17.8cm touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Spotify, and others. The Acenta Plus Tech even has a 360-degree parking camera system. The flat-bottomed steering wheel features multifunction capabilities that assist in keeping the driver’s eyes on the road.



The Micra is quite fun to drive and we experienced this during the launch in Cape Town and during our week-long test in Jozi. It is agile and quite responsive, assisted by the front Macpherson struts and rear twist beam suspension structure. For now the engine of choice is a turbocharged 0.9-litre, 3-cylinder motor making 66kW of power at 5 500rpm and 140Nm of torque at 2 250rpm. Curiously it is mated to a 5-speed instead of a 6-speed manual, but it hardly feels like it needs an extra gear. An average fuel consumption figure of 5.1 litres per 100km from the 41 litre tank is listed. Nissan claims a rather leisurely 0 – 100km/h time of 12.1 seconds and top speed of 170km/h.

It’s been far too long that Nissan has played in this segment and competitors have really moved the game over the years. With the new Micra, the Japanese company is staging a strong comeback which it hopes will increase its market share from fourth overall in Mzansi, to perhaps a podium position. The product is certainly competitive. Now Marketing and the other departments must do their jobs and put bums on the seats.