Friday, August 27, 2010

Nissan Micra - Price in India, Testdrive report and Review with Specifications

Nissan Micra is available with three variants XE (the base variant), XL (mid) and XV (the top end variant) which are priced in the range of Rs 3.98 lacs to Rs 5.28 lacs (ex showroom New Delhi). With this pricing, the Micra will go up against the new age 1.2-litre small hatchbacks in the Rs 4-lakh-bracket like the Hyundai i10, the Chevrolet Beat and the Maruti Suzuki Ritz.

Micra from Nissan will be manufactured simultaneously in many countries such as Thailand, India, China and Mexico. This model will be sold in 160 countries globally including the Indian Market. The Micra is based on Nissan’s new V (‘Versatility’) platform, which will be used as the basis of some more future models in the pipeline.

What you'll like:
  • Cute styling, quality, well-designed interiors
  • Driver airbag standard across the range (including base variant)
  • Compliant ride quality. Suspension tuned for comfort
  • Value add: Keyless entry & go, engine start / stop button, electric folding mirrors, climate control
  • Best in class turning radius and fuel efficiency. ARAI = 18.06 kpl 
  • Without the engine & transmission, the Micra is at an 87% localization level.
  • Well-shaped boot. Capacity = 251 liters. Rear seat can fold away, but no 50:50 /60:40 split
  • Lock the car and the mirrors fold in automatically. Convenient. IIRC, only the Hyundai i20 provides this feature amongst the hatchbacks.
    If you press the lock button, and one of the doors is accidentally left open, the Micra won’t give you a lock confirmation beep. Instead, she throws out a 3 second long warning beep.
    Standard warranty : 24 months / 50,000 kms. With extended warranty package, 48 months / 80,000 kms. 
  • Fuel tank capacity = 41 liters.
What you won't like:
  • Unknown after sales service and wafer thin dealer network and narrow reach across the country
  • Unknown  maintenance costs and resale value
  • Lack of rear seat neck restraints 
  • Ordinary three-cylinder petrol engine, dull to drive.
  • Missing under-thigh support from the rear seat 
  • ORVMs are a size smaller
  • Nissan's cost of ownership is yet to be known
  • Boot release lever missing on the inside. Fuel lid release placed next to the bonnet lever to save costs.
  • Before driving off, you need to press the “lock” switch on the driver’s control panel to lock all doors. Merely locking the driver’s door ( from where the door open handle is) will lock only that single door.
All Micra variants have been equipped with a driver side airbag, and this needs special care on passengers to wear seat belt. Hopefully, Nissan sets a trend that other manufacturers follow. Hope ABS too becomes a mandatory feature soon on Indian roads. In a segment dominated by Maruti, Tata & Hyundai, Nissan needs a differentiator. That’s why the driver airbag is standard.

Nissan sells the XV variant with dual airbags, ABS & EBD brakes, climate control, keyless entry & go, engine start / stop button, tilt-adjustable steering, 4 power windows, engine immobilizer, 4 speaker audio system with CD / MP3 / AUX compatibility, multi-information display (with real time + average fuel efficiency, and distance to empty reading), electric mirrors (adjust + fold in action) and rear wash / wipe. Alloy wheels are conspicuous by their absence on the top variant.

The base XE version is seriously basic, with no wheel covers, no tachometer, no parcel shelf, no music system, no power windows, no central locking, no ABS and no fog lamps. Even the seats are different - the front buckets have integrated headrests and the rear bench is not as contoured. The mid level XL comes with power windows front and rear, a music system, remote keyless entry and even includes a tachometer. The XV though, quite naturally comes loaded with goodies - intelligent key with push button ignition, fog lamps, climate control and electrically adjustable mirrors. It also has a front passenger airbag and ABS, EBD and brake assistance.

Fuel Efficiency and low weight are among the strengths of the V-platform and both these crucial factors are intrinsically linked. The key here is an all new light weight and fuel efficient three cylinder 1.2 litre engine which is tuned for drivability and low end torque to suit the Micra’s urban focus. A cleverly conceived engineering concept by Nissan, which has seen the car’s individual parts count reduced by 18 per cent. Despite its lightness, it does feel very well screwed together and tightly constructed.

Cabin is impressively spacious for the front passengers, especially for shoulder room. Under normal driving conditions, it’s refined and the three-cylinder engine is impressively smooth thanks to the clever counterweight fitted to the crank pulley. The tight 4.5m turning circle of Micra makes placing the car in tight situations very easy. The steering is light, but the driver can still sense the position of the front wheels.

It isn't as bad as it seems though, especially when you start the engine and get driving. Under the Micra's hood is a 1198cc three-cylinder petrol engine that has sound pedigree on paper - 76PS @ 6000rpm and 104Nm @ 4000rpm. Nissan has done a good job with tuning the engine and has matched it well with the 5 speed manual gearbox to make the Micra peppy and very driveable.

  • Engine: 1198cc, Petrol
  • Configuration: Inline, 3-cylinders
  • Power: 76PS @ 6,000rpm
  • Torque: 104Nm @ 4000rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual
  • Drive Wheels: Front
  • Overall Length: 3,780mm
  • Overall Width: 1,665mm
  • Overall Height: 1,530mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,450mm
  • Kerb Weight: 895 - 930kg
  • Tyres: 165/70 R14
  • Boot Space: 226 litres
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 41 litres
  • Turning Radius: 4.65m 
Verdict: Nissan Micra is meant as a city car , ideal for point to point drives. However, I had seen many Micras in NH47 on long commute. Micra is also positioned as a cool youth car and on second looks, more neat than GM Beat. Buy it for city drives!

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