Nissan Micra Facelift Review
Car Tested: 2013 Nissan Micra Facelift
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5.69 – 8.60 lakhs
The facelift to the Nissan Micra transforms the car’s exteriors in a very positive way.
The Nissan Micra might be a global success, but the fourth generation model hasn’t picked up well in Asia. The reason for the below average sales (less than 1000 units a month) of the Micra can be blamed on stiff competition and the styling of the vehicle. The Micra looks cute and thus doesn’t attract too many male buyers. In a bid to freshen up things and appeal to a large audience, Nissan has given the Micra a minor facelift. The company has also worked on the features of the car to boost the value proposition even further. While the facelifted Nissan Micra is yet to make its global debut, we in Asia are among the first to get the updated model. The made in Asia Micra is exported to quite a few markets globally and Nissan has manufactured more than 2 lakh units till date. We take the facelifted Micra across Madurai roads to gauge the changes.
Exteriors – There are many visible changes on the outside with the Micra now looking completely transformed. The changes are not drastic but have been very well executed giving the Nissan Micra quite some appeal. The headlights are now pulled back (in line with Nissan’s new signature headlights) and the grille gets a thick chrome bar. The bumpers are new as well and the front bumper gets chrome on the lower half, right below the number plate. The dimensions have changed due to the new bumpers, with the facelifted car being 45 mm longer, however the wheelbase remains the same.
Gone are the soft touches of the old Micra and you can truly appreciate the changes when you look at the old and new Micra simultaneously. Notice how the new car looks so fresh and contemporary even though the body structure remains unchanged. Other changes to the styling of the vehicle include a new hood and front fenders. The fog lights get a chrome surround but oddly front fogs are only standard on the XV premium variant. The side profile reveals the new alloy wheels while the rear now sports LED tail lights (a segment first) and a new bumper with aggressive cuts. The tail gate is now slightly longer with the addition of a plastic part.
Two new colours make their debut on the facelifted Nissan Micra, both of which suit the car quite well. Overall Nissan has got the styling update quite spot on, which manages to shed the feminine image of the car to a large extent.
Nissan is offering the Micra in seven variants, just like the existing model. The new Micra gets three petrol variants and four diesel variants. The company has offered most features mid-level variant onwards (like iKey and ABS). However the lower variants don’t get alloy wheels and run on 14-inch rubber. The chrome on the bumper is missing on them as well (as can be seen in the above images). The rear spoiler, front fog lights, side airbags and reverse camera are part of optional equipment and should cost an extra Rs. 40,000/-.
Interiors – The changes continue on the inside as well. The design of the dashboard remains almost the same as before but Nissan has made changes to colours and added more features as well. Gone are the multiple colours on the dash, which are replaced with a single colour. The centre console is all new and features piano black finish which looks much better than the silver/grey console found in the old model. The centre AC vents are no longer round and are instead rectangular in shape. The company has added a sea of features like steering mounted audio controls, Bluetooth audio system, climate control, electrically adjustable and folding outside rear view mirrors, reverse parking camera, 4 airbags, etc (most of these features are standard on the top-end XV Premium diesel variant only). Chrome and silver inserts are present on the dash as well as the doors.
Nissan has reshaped the seats for better support and cushioning and you feel extremely comfortable inside the car. The Micra has a twin glovebox setup along with an open storage space in between, however lower variants surprisingly get a single glovebox. The power outlet is placed on the lower left side of the centre console, which is not very convenient for the driver or rear passengers to use. Right above the bottom glove box there are ports for USB and Aux. When you open them, the ports are not placed in the same order as its written on the flap, a minor irritant but something which can cause trouble when you are connecting your phone or USB in the night.
Space inside the cabin is generous, even though the exterior dimensions will make you think otherwise. Nissan claims the headroom is the highest in its class. The driver’s seat gets height adjust and there is plenty of room to seat four adults in good comfort. Quality inside is good and everything feels decently put together with no rattles or squeaks. The rear seat offers good legroom but under thigh support could be better. The boot is decently big (no 60:40 here) and there are quite a few storage areas in the cabin as well. However there is no seat pocket behind the driver’s seat even though it’s present behind the co-driver’s seat.
Performance – While the engines remain the same as before, the petrol powered Nissan Micra now gets a CVT gearbox. This unit comes from the Sunny and has been adapted for the Micra which uses a different engine than its elder sibling. The company claims the CVT gearbox lends the Micra a mileage of 19.34 km/l, which is higher than the manual Micra’s 18.44 km/l (under Nissan’s own fuel test cycle). The Japanese automaker bets heavily on CVT and has sold more than 10 lakh cars equipped with a CVT box worldwide. The CVT unit is not as noisy as in the Sunny but its quite audible when you floor the throttle and the motor spins continuously at around 5000 RPM but the car doesn’t move with much urgency. Driving the Micra CVT is quite hassle free and you can easily subject it to city duties and relax inside the cabin without having to worry about shifting cogs but low end progress is rather slow with some performance coming after 3000 RPM. The 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder engine produces 75 BHP and 104 Nm which is not adequate on the highway. Out on open roads the Micra CVT does feel sluggish and even the Sport mode (activated on the gear lever) isn’t able to help matters much. The petrol Micra is simply meant for city driving.
While the petrol engine has just about adequate performance, the diesel engine on the Nissan Micra pleases with ample amount of performance for a car which is positioned towards city dwellers. The 1.5-litre k9k dCi unit is offered in its lowest state of tune in the Micra but performance is pleasant with drivability being excellent. Turbolag is almost negligible and the motor pulls strongly at the low end of the powerband with almost linear pull. It’s only around 3500 RPM when this motor starts to wane down a bit but there is good enough pep for both city and highway driving, with the Micra diesel not feeling out of breath on country roads. Redline comes in at 5500 RPM and the Micra reaches 120 km/hr quite quickly, after which the lack of horses start to become apparent. The clutch is light and the gearbox offers slick shifts. The Micra diesel is quite frugal too and should return a mileage of 16-17 km/l in the city.
Driving Dynamics – Nissan has tweaked the suspension a bit on the facelifted Micra although dynamics are still not near the Ford Figo or Maruti Suzuki Swift. The Micra rides well on good roads but tends to get shaken on really bad ones, with the ride being on the stiffer side. The petrol version has a tendency to bounce over bad roads but the diesel Micra is more composed on rough surfaces, owing to the heavier front. Handling is good but the Micra is not a car you would find yourself pushing around corners as the steering is light offering little feedback at high speeds. The Micra remains stable at triple digit speeds and the company has improved NVH levels on the vehicle. Braking performance is good but the pedal feel could have been better. MRF, Goodyear and Maxxis are the suppliers of tyres for the new Micra.
Verdict – The facelifted Nissan Micra is a step in the right direction. The Japanese automaker has worked on improving quite a few aspects of their entry level car, which has worked very well. The new Micra looks quite appealing both inside-out and comes loaded with a host of features. While the Nissan Micra is not very rich when it comes to dynamics, it does offer a good balance of ride and handling for city driving. The Micra has always been an excellent car for the urban run and the update only makes it better.
The Nissan Micra facelift receives minor updates which make it an even better small car package for the city.
* Feature loaded
* Frugal diesel engine offers good performance
* Good interior room
What’s Not So Cool
* Noisy CVT lacks highway performance
2013 Nissan Micra Specifications
* Engine: 1461cc, 8-valve, 4-cylinder (Diesel), 1198cc, 12-valve, 3-cylinder (Petrol)
* Power: 64 PS @ 4000 RPM (Diesel), 76 PS @ 6000 RPM (Petrol), 77 PS @ 6000 RPM (CVT)
* Torque: 160 Nm @ 2000 RPM (Diesel), 104 Nm @ 4000 RPM (Petrol)
* Transmission: 5-speed manual, CVT option (Petrol)
* Top Speed: 160 km/hr
* 0-100 km/hr: 16 seconds (Diesel), 18 seconds (Petrol)
* Fuel Consumption (City): 17 km/l (Diesel), 12 km/l (Petrol)
* Fuel Type: Diesel, Petrol
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tyres: 165/70/14, 175/60/15 (XV Premium)
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drum (Rear), ABS, EBD, BA
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Reverse Parking Camera, Front Airbags, Side Airbags, Immobiliser
2013 Nissan Micra Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 3825 mm X 1665 mm 1530 mm (1525 mm – Diesel)
* Wheelbase: 2450 mm
* Turning Radius: 4.65-metres
* Ground clearance: 150 mm (Diesel), 154 mm (Petrol)
* Boot Volume: 251-liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 41-litres
* Kerb Weight: 992 kgs
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