Did The Nissan Micra Deserve Car Of The Year Nomination?

2019 Nissan Micra

2019 Nissan Micra

The new Nissan Micra has blossomed into much more than just a small city car into a premium hatchback. It’s now a serious competitor to the likes of Volkswagen’s Polo and nothing says that more than being a finalist in the 2019 South African Car of the Year. This is a true testament to Nissan’s continued efforts to transform the little Micra over the years into a real contender.

Considering that the upper B hatchback segment in South Africa represents about 15% of the passenger vehicle market, it’s only natural that Nissan has shifted to the premium hatchback market. The big question on everyone’s lips is whether the new Micra deserved its spot as a South African Car of the Year finalist. Let’s take a closer look at how the new Nissan Micra weighs up.

Nissan Micra Exterior

In terms of the exterior design, Nissan has learned from the predecessors as the new Micra shares little with the existing model. The design roots have been cut and the new model oozes a stunning contemporary style. There are no more bubbly, rounded curves as the new Micra shows angular lines and overall sleek shape.

The new Nissan Micra has a lower, wider stance with smaller wheel gaps that seem to compliment the all-around aggressive appearance. It even has a floating roof which is a signature Nissan design while striking lines from grille to bonnet sets the new model apart and looks absolutely exquisite.

Nissan’s signature front grille has a chrome and black finish featuring the iconic boomerang design with LED daytime running lights. The two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels are exclusive for the new Nissan Micra (available as standard on the Acenta Plus model). They have also added hidden rear door handles which only adds to the sporty coupe look.

Interior Design And Elements

Looking inside, the new dashboard is made from premium materials matching a more modern design to the cabin. The T-shaped “gliding wing” dashboard structure creates more space for the driver and front passenger. Nissan understands the Micra’s target market, primarily young professionals, and as such, they have included Bluetooth, Aux and USB connectivity along with good quality SatNav.

The quality interior is further bolstered by a smart centre console. All the commands, including the gear lever, is perfectly arranged to maximise the driving experience. Showing real sporty intent is the D-shaped steering with all types of switches to keep you connected and focused on the drive.

Most of the technology from the Qashqai and X-Trail is in the new Nissan Micra. This includes the drive-assist display showing all the real-time information drivers need from acceleration, speed, tyre pressure, fuel economy and safety aids. The 7-inch infotainment system is compatible with Apple Carplay with total mobile integration and an impressive audio system.

The Nissan Is Micra Safe And Practical

Considering the modern and sporty look, the Nissan Micra doesn’t lose out on any space. The boot provides a generous 300 litres which become 1 004 litres when you fold down the 60:40 split rear seats. Besides the spacious boot, it’s also practical with loads of storage options throughout the car. Large items can be placed along the centre console offering a perfect spot for a cell phone. It also includes ambient lighting with USB sockets.

There is no compromise when it comes to safety as the new Nissan Micra is fitted with six airbags. It has seat belt warnings and height-adjustable seat belts for the front and rear. Isofix child seats come standard which is also in the front passenger seat. Driver-assist systems include cruise control, auto headlight leveller, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Anti-locking Braking System, Electronic Brake force Distribution and Hill Start Assist.

What’s It Like To Drive?

A single powertrain option is available in the form of a 0.9-litre (898cc) three-cylinder petrol engine. It provides 66kW/140Nm with a five-speed manual gearbox while fuel consumption is around 5.1-litres/100km with 115g/km emissions.

Driving the Nissan Micra offers a good balance between an agile city car and a practical (but stylish) hatchback. It really shows it’s worth driving within city limits as the car is fast enough to whizz through traffic while the small profile and light, responsive steering make parking a breeze.

The Micra is stable through corners with minimal body roll unless you’re pushing it beyond the limits, and the engine is responsive despite its size. While it’s not made for drag racing from robot-to-robot, it is an exceptional option for its intended target market looking for sufficient power, excellent handling and good fuel economy.

Was It A Worthy Finalist For South African Car of the Year?

Considering all we’ve mentioned, the answer is a resounding YES! While there are no glaring downsides, the Nissan Micra’s biggest issue is facing incredibly tough and well-established competition. On paper, the Micra can rival almost anyone but monthly sales figures of the main competitors show that they are more popular.

With the light, responsive steering, surprisingly nippy engine, supple suspension and fuel economy, the Micra is an agile and affordable car which makes it great for first-time buyers. Although they faced a tough sales period, Nissan stuck by its Micra and the end result speaks for itself.

Nissan Micra Prices

  • Micra Visia – R242 900
  • Micra Acenta – R268 500
  • Micra Acenta Plus – R283 900
  • Micra Acenta Plus Tech – R299 900

Please visit our website for more information on the new Nissan Micra or to book a test drive. You can also follow us on Facebook and read our blogs for all the latest motoring news from across the globe.

* Prices are accurate as set out in April 2019

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