Thursday, October 22, 2020
ADVT 
Reviews

2018 NISSAN MICRA: Still Cheap, Still Great

By Benjamin Yong, 24 Jan, 2018

    Mexican-built subcompact remains ultra-affordable, but more importantly, ultra capable.

     
     
     
     
     
    When the Nissan Micra launched in 2015, it was heavily advertised as Canada’s cheapest brand new vehicle, priced at a tick under $10k. Now, three years on, the small hatch is still stickered at $9,988. In other words, the Mexican-built subcompact remains ultra-affordable, but more importantly, ultra capable. 
     
    Although Europe and other markets have received a completely redesigned platform, which premiered at the Paris Auto Show last year, it has been confirmed there are no plans for a Canadian import anytime soon. The current K13 chassis is still experiencing a successful run on home soil, and is even the star of its own Micra Cup race series that just capped off a third season in the fall.
     
    The vehicle looks pretty much the same from launch, offered in three trims: the entry S, middle tier SV, and the grade-topping SR DARPAN was loaned for evaluation. Fully loaded means the car includes body-coloured mirrors and rear spoiler (initially the roof wing came black), a chrome exhaust tip, fog lights, side skirts and slightly tinted headlight housings – the last item is ever so subtle, and almost unnoticeable unless you compare a lower model side by side. 
     
     
    Arguably the biggest reason to upgrade from an S is the addition of power door locks and windows, but whether it’s worth the $4,060 premium is ultimately up to the buyer. Full disclosure, I own a mid-grade Micra, and it was for me. 
     
    Other additional interior features are a Bluetooth hands-free phone system (SV), steering wheel mounted infotainment controls (SV), leather steering wheel (SR), seats with contrast stitching (SR), a 4.3-inch colour screen integrating a RearView Monitor backup camera display (SR), and a USB audio/charging port (SR).
     
    At the end of the day, though, it is still an economy car, evidenced by things like the omission of a cabin air filter despite there being a chamber to house one, and the interesting decision to no longer throw in a cargo cover as standard to shield valuables from prying eyes.  
     
    In my opinion, the Micra’s best attribute is the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. While output is rated at a seemingly low 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, the curb weight is sub-2,400 pounds (read: lightweight) and proprietary Twin Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control technology allows for some high-revving fun. My press tester was equipped with the fuel-thrifty four-speed automatic transmission, but to really squeeze the most thrills out of the hatch, the five-speed manual is a must. 
     
     
    Nissan says engineers performed specific tuning for Canadian roads, like adding a rear sway bar that’s missing from its overseas counterparts and tightening up the steering. The vehicle truly does shine in the handling department and I equally enjoyed tackling city roads and windy freeways, although the addition of a sixth gear would be nice to eliminate some of the high-rpm buzziness at higher speeds and improve fuel economy. I averaged around 9.0 L/100 km during my stint behind the wheel but I know lower consumption is easily achievable using a lighter foot. A full tank of the recommended 87-octane gas in the Lower Mainland costs around $45.
     
    As it stands, the Micra really doesn’t have much competition. It seats five versus the Spark’s four, has one extra cylinder over the Mitsubishi Mirage, and does it all starting at less than $10,000. Whether you’re a student, on a budget or just enjoy Euro-inspired small cars, make sure to add this to your shopping list.
     

    Highlights

    Price: $16,188 
    Motor: 1.6-litre four cylinder
    Horsepower: 109 @ 6,000 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 107 @ 4,400 rpm
    Gearbox: Four-speed automatic transmission
    Lay out: Front engine, front-wheel drive
    Fuel economy: 9.0 L/100 km mixed city/highway

    MORE Reviews ARTICLES

    2017 Nissan Sentra Turbo

    2017 Nissan Sentra Turbo
    After disappearing from the portfolio for a few years, a performance Sentra finally returns to the fold with the arrival of the 2017 Nissan SR Turbo. Much more than just a few bolt-on upgrades, it goes as fast as it looks and brings back a sense of fun to the badge that has been sorely missed. 

    2017 Nissan Sentra Turbo

    Cleaning the Devastation of ‘Hurricane Kid’

    Cleaning the Devastation of ‘Hurricane Kid’
    Tips for parents to keep their car clean this summer

    Cleaning the Devastation of ‘Hurricane Kid’

    Shine up Your Ride for the Summer

    Shine up Your Ride for the Summer

    Your motorcycle is eye candy; make it look like eye candy

    Shine up Your Ride for the Summer

    Lincoln Continental Reserve

    Lincoln Continental Reserve

    My ties with the Continental go back to a 1964 model my friend had in the mid-70s, in fact it was the first car I ever drove after I obtained my temporary driver’s licence. Having driven many Lincolns, I will be the first to say that this new Continental is a lot like but genuinely better than its predecessors. 

    Lincoln Continental Reserve

    Mercedes-Benz E300 4MATIC

    Mercedes-Benz E300 4MATIC

    Once you stop and look at the E300 you begin to appreciate the simple yet attractive lines of the car. As you enter the car you find the subdued lines leading to a nice well laid-out interior.

    Mercedes-Benz E300 4MATIC

    Lexus IS 200t F Sport

    Lexus IS 200t F Sport

    The latest IS I have tested is the 200t series, which is the base model of the IS line up and the only rear drive model in the group.

    Lexus IS 200t F Sport