When Nissan announced the price of the all-new Micra, which was under $10K, I thought, “What could a sub $10K car really give?” I mean, I used to own a Nissan Micra while attending UBC back-in-the-day: a silver two-door hatch back that had no A/C, an impractical pop-up sunroof, and an automatic transmission – not an impressive car, but did serve its purpose for 4 years. Thus, when Nissan offered me the 2015 Nissan Micra base to test drive, I wasn’t expecting much to have changed – would the car that took a 15 year hiatus have something better to offer? In a nutshell, you bet!
For a toonie less than $10, 000 here’s what you don’t get: air conditioning, power windows and door locks, power side-view mirrors, automatic transmission, LCD screen, Bluetooth, or USB port. But here’s what you DO get: ABS, traction and stability control, six airbags, tilt steering wheel, AM/FM CD with audio line-in, decent cloth seats front and back, and great styling! Walk around the Micra and there really isn’t a bad angle on this European-inspired, built-in Mexico, for-Canada, car. That’s right – this is for Canada only, so nada for the USA.
As I nestled myself into the driver seat of this base model Micra, I couldn’t remember the last time I drove a car so simple and plain. The seats are surprisingly comfortable, more-so than let’s say a Yaris. They provide good support and are somewhat adjustable. Back legroom is adequate, and depending on length of commute, it should fair well for most people. All gadgets, dials, and buttons are perfectly placed and easily within reach, obviously. Sure, there’s a lot of plastic all around, but again, what else can you get for this price? What’s more, the plastic doesn’t give the impression of being cheap either.
On the road, this little road bug is a blast to drive. It’s peppy, especially with the 5-speed manual transmission – I didn’t have the opportunity to drive the automatic, but my choice would still be the manual. The 1.6 liter engine produces a modest 109 horses and 107 lb-ft of torque. It’s not going to snap your neck, but gets the daily driving job done nicely. Nissan included front and rear stabilizer bars which make taking sharp corners with the Micra fun, even though there is body roll. Steering is very good and sharp; at times, the car does feel twitchy, but it just makes urban driving that much more fun. And when was the last time you found parking a vehicle to be this easy? The short turning radius and small size of the car make it a breeze to maneuver and park in even the tightest of spaces.
Since the lack of power windows and door locks frustrated me (my two young girls found the wind down windows to be a novelty), I would dish out the $3700 more for the SV package, which Nissan is expecting to be the best selling Micra model. If you want the top-of-the-line, it’s only $15,498, with all the bells and whistles.
The 2015 Nissan Micra is a welcome surprise for what it offers, even at the base trim level. It’s cheap, fun, and a great car for first time buyers, students, and even those looking for a small urban commuter. Combine the fact that Nissan is offering some great incentive programs, you really can’t go wrong with the new Micra.