- Gen 5 supermini takes on B-hatchback segment
- Bose audio with speakers driver’s head restraint
- Three downsized engines, five models
PARIS, France – It’s 34 years since the first Nissan Micra hit the world’s small hatchback market and the car has had its ups and downs since launch in 1983. This version, The Corner believes, will seriously boost its global sales figures.
Heck, just LOOK at this the fifth generation – and then compare it with our image of a model from 2015.
Bad news for South Africa is that the European-made models will not make it to South Africa for the foreseeable future simply because the prices invoked by the new engines and new tech are way too high – translating to more than R200 000 while Nissan SA is trying to keep the local Micra at around R160 000.
Jacob Zuma’s appalling announcement on March 31 2017 about the finance minister’s sacking won’t do much to sort that situation – which translates to the majority of the population unable to buy one. Thank you, Mr Zuma…
GONE WAY UP-TECH
The models for SA – they are assembled in India – will, The Corner understands, be simply a facelift version and are expected in September 2017. They will have new styling similar to that in our images of the Euro models but the smaller turbo engines will not be part of the package..
The Euro cars, however, have gone way up-tech with a big info screen and even audio speakers in the driver’s head-restraints. The engines have shrunk to encourage lower fuel-consumption and that gold colour in our pictures is truly stunning. Let’s hope we get it in SA.
Nissan itself calls the car “revolutionary” and “a huge progression from the one it is replacing”. More info from Nissan tells us the car is wider and lower than any previous model to reposition it “at the very heart of the ultra-competitive European B-hatchback segment”.
Nissan says two-tone soft-touch materials are used throughout the range and is claiming the four-door hatchback shell (no two door in the Euro range) has best-in-class ergonomics for front occupants and “no compromise to rear space”. The image below shows the boot size – not bad against the competition.
A number of what Nissan calls “in control” features in Europe include “Intelligent lane intervention” to alert dozy drivers drifting across the highway. There’s also, for the first time, the 360-degree camera system from the Qashqai and Juke crossovers.
TURBOS FOR EUROPE
Handling? Nissan declares: “The new Micra is a fantastic car to drive, with a dynamic performance that’s the perfect balance between agility, excitement and the secure feeling that comes with confident and predictable handling.”
Three turbo engines – two petrol and one diesel with smaller capacity than before – will be on the global spec sheet, each hooked to a five-speed manual gearbox. Current model designations are being used: Visia, Visia+, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna, each declared by Nissan to have “a high level of standard specification”.
At least South Africa will still be up-to-date there…
A wide range of “personalisation options” is promised for both bodyshell and cabin. We’ll see what South Africa might be getting when launched in September 2017.
Nissan Europe’s senior VP for sales and marketing, Guillaume Cartier, told The Corner in a media release: “We’ve taken the European compact segment to a new level by focusing on what customers really want today and expect tomorrow.
JAPAN’S FIRST COTY
“The latest Micra is an exceptional car, characterised by its expressive design, uplifting interior and confident drive. There is so much affection in Europe for the Micra that is clearly demonstrated by more than three decades of heritage and more than 3.5-million sales.
“The car was, famously, the first Japanese model to win the European Car of the Year title in 1993.”
NOW IF WE CAN JUST LOSE ZUMA…
“This Micra is four metres long,” the Nissan media release tells us, “and has dynamic hatchback proportions which place it at the core of the B-hatchback segment. The sculpted body has strong and sharp character lines from any angle – it’s an athletic and poised stance that’s hard to ignore.”
The drag co-efficient is a highly desirable 0.29, where 3.0 is generally regarded as remarkable and Nissan says the car is “among the widest and lowest in the B-hatchback segment”.
Maybe, if we the country can unload Zuma and rescue the rand from free-fall, we’ll see the full car eventually.