The Nissan Micra is the car for the age. So inexpensive you can buy it outright, so small and agile you can take it and park it anywhere, and filled with such simple proven technology, my guess is only rust can kill one, unless you are okay with rust, in which case, be sure to make accommodations in your will.
The original Micra was sold in Canada in the 80s, but was replaced here by the Sentra in the 90s, left to evolve its subsequent 2nd and 3rd generations in Asian and Europe. Still, if you’d like to buy and 80’s Micra, Google has informed me there is one for sale in Vancouver right now for $600. Aside from being tiny and cheap, the original Micra was very durable because it had simple parts with no frills.
The 2015 Micra follows suit, and as a pleasant surprise, is completely adequate in every possible way. There’s just something wonderful about that.
It does exactly what you expect it to do and there are also no superfluous features to annoy you. Now the cheapest new car in Canada, its starting sticker price of $9,998 for the base model with 5-speed manual and no AC or power windows, Nissan is predicting the Micra will sell like hotcakes, especially in Quebec.
This car will not be for sale in the United States, which means the North American model has been designed for Canadian drivers only. Nissan assembled a team of Canadian employees to customize the Micra for Canada.
What did we get that Europe and Asia didn’t? Heat ducts for the rear seats, an additional rear stabilizer bar and a re-tuned suspension and reinforced chassis to help with our lousy roads, and of course 60/40 rear split seats, which are obviously essential (don’t other nations realize?).
It stuffed full of practical choices. Naturally a 5-speed manual gearbox that is, well, just fine. It’s a little noisey when you travel faster than 110 km/h but you don buy a Micra for drag racing.
Leaving out the expensive (and generally crappy and noisy) CVT and popping in a rock solid and cost effective 4-speed automatic transmission may make the fuel numbers look a little high (8.6/6.6/7.7 L/100 km), but using proven technology means you’re less likely to visit the mechanic in tears when the warranty runs out.
1.6L DOHC 4–cylinder engine producing 109 hp and 107 lb.-ft. of torque. Unlike ridiculous non-cars that will get you killed on the highway (anything with under 90 hp) this is a real car. It can travel from 0 to 100 km/hr in 11 seconds, which is completely fine.
The added rigidity, sufficient power and responsive enough steering provide actual low budget entertainment. It is a peppy little car that is fun to zip around in. The turning radius is mere 4.65 meters. If you add the back up camera on the top trim level, you can truly park this car anywhere.
One of the things I liked most of all was the complete lack of an idiotic touch screen. I’m beginning to consider the lack of touchscreen an actual safety feature. The radio has simple buttons. The car answers the phone and plays tunes plain and simple. There is nothing dazzling or fiddly or annoying in the cockpit.
But we do need to talk price. $9,998 is a shocking number, but few of us will actually buy a car that stripped down, plus the number doesn’t include tax and fees.
The good news is, even fully loaded, this car has the cheapest options in the game. A manual with AC is $13,298. Add the low-resolution backup camera and Bluetooth add-on for $500, and tax and you’re around $18,000 in reality. But that’s still around $3000 less than an equivalent Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta.
Nissan also plans to make a Micra very easy to buy. Targeting new immigrants, people with less than perfect credit, and people who would otherwise buy used, we can expect to see some flexible lending with low interest rates and attractive lease offers too.