By on February 14, 2014

Micra (14)

 

At the Canadian International Auto Show, Nissan debuted their Canadian-only Micra, an A-Segment car that takes up the Kia Rio’s one-time mantle of being the sole new car available for less than $10,000. At the show, we learned a few things about the Micra.

While the Micra uses the Versa’s 1.6L 109-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, it won’t get a CVT, but will offer a choice of a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. With the Micra weighing about 2100 lbs, it should feel nimble, but acceleration will be leisurely, given that its power to weight ratio is similar to an original Miata.

According to Nissan, the Micra has been localized for Canada with features like a rear heating duct in the floor, large, heated mirrors and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The crash structures have also been re-designed to meet Canadian vehicle standards, which are more nearly identical to American regulations. For a vehicle market of roughly 1 million units, this seems like an expensive undertaking. But evidently, Nissan feels that there’s some value in doing this for a product that competes in a traditionally unprofitable segment.

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35 Comments on “2014 Nissan Micra In Detail...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    “But evidently, Nissan feels that there’s some value in doing this for a product that competes in a traditionally unprofitable segment.”

    If they’re already building them in Mexico, then the marginal cost of producing a Canada-spec model won’t be all that high. The issues then are whether there are enough customers for it, and whether those customers add sales instead of cannibalizing other vehicles in the lineup such as the Versa.

    • 0 avatar

      Even re-designing the crash structures, crash testing them etc? Chevrolet sold about 2550 Sparks for comparison. The volumes are not high by any means.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If they had contemplated it from the start and engineered the car with US-Canada contingency plans in mind, then it shouldn’t be too bad. If this was a retrofit of a design that was never intended for US-Canada spec, then it could pose an issue.

        From what I read, they’re hoping to use this as a lure for used car buyers. Are they leasing a lot of Versas and Sentras in Canada?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Like the Mirage, this is for people that HAVE to get a new car, no matter what, I would rather have a used anything than these entry level death traps.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Not a fan of that white on red mess, bleh. That won’t age well.

    Overall though, lots of features for such a cheap car. And you get Infiniti door lock buttons and power mirror controls. x.x

    Why “larger mirrors” for Canadians?

    • 0 avatar
      Atum

      The Juke Nismo has a color combination just like that. It’s probably to make the car look really sporty, and for the Ontario teenage girls to get the men. Looks are what sell for most people, especially younger ones who know nothing about cars. And that’s who the Micra is geared towards.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Larger mirrors” are probably larger because they are lifted from a larger car. I expect that was the cheapest way to get *heated* mirrors, critical in Canada, onto the thing.

  • avatar

    “It won’t get a CVT, but will offer a choice of a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic.”

    I thought the CVT was cheaper to build than a conventional slushbox???

  • avatar
    Atum

    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/chevrolet/spark

    “Unsafe deathtrap.” This thing has better safety ratings than most crossovers.

  • avatar
    DevonK

    Derek’s missed a couple of key points about this car which might increase TTACer’s interest in it – from the Nissan Canada press release: “Front and rear sway bars were tuned and added to tighten handling, and the rack and pinion steering was further adjusted to improve the turning radius.” So tighter handling with less roll, and quicker steering. We all know how we typically get shipped the rolly-polly versions of world cars, here it looks like we might be going in the right direction for once.

  • avatar
    Jolgamazatlan

    I am most certainly not at the level of the car aficionados at TTAC but I do have some information to contribute which may prove useful.

    Last September I purchased a new 2013 Nissan March in Mexico. As you know this is virtually the same car as the Micra which you are discussing. The only major difference being that it is only available here with 2 airbags …. but that’s an off-topic discussion, so I’ll go on with a bit of owner experience regarding this little gem.

    This is definitely not an el cheapo penalty box with a punishing ride. Coming off a 7-year experience with a 3-pedal BMW 323i, this little 4-speed auto compares favourably in many departments, exceeds in some and is at a disadvantage in only a couple. Yes, the interior is not an opulent one to be sure, but it is comfortable and well-organized. All the controls fall to hand and you get the impression that they spent some time and effort to make sure that you never have to fight with the interface to get it to do what you want when you want it. My wife often had a sore back with our BMW because the seat had her sitting too low and stretched her back. She really enjoys the firm, yet comfy cushions and there is no more back fatigue nor pain.

    I have always been a manual transmission devotee, however, I decided to listen to my better half’s complaints about my jerky clutch driving and spring for the 4-speed auto. I was sure that I would live to regret it, but lo and behold … a revelation!! This humble 4-speed tranny`s shifts are quick and positive. The engine is kept in its power-band and there is no hunting for the right gear. I think it is aided by the fact that this light car has the same motor as the much heavier Versa so in this application it has a lot of spunk due to the much better power-to-weight ratio.

    I could go on and on extolling the virtues of our March… but you get the idea. If anyone is looking for a great little gas sipper, that doesn’t break, is dirt-cheap to maintain, is big on the inside and looks so cute you’ll want to give a pet name, then try out a March/Micra. For some of you it just might surprise and delight enough that you will be smitten.

    • 0 avatar

      +1

      I’ve almost given up trying to “enlighten” our American friends on the virtues of small cars such as these. People the world over drive and enjoy them. Must be we’re all crazy and only large, superlative cars can be fun!

      For what it’s worth, the March/Micra gets my stamp of approval. Good external design (see, I think at least some Japanese design is good), good content, coherent pricing (for parts, too), punchy and economical Renault engine, competente, slightly sporty handling etc. It’s also safe. My gripes are the lackluster interior and sometimes notchy gearbox. All in all, and being that here in Brazil we have similar cars from all major makes, I place it a solid second only to the Fiat Uno.

      Carry on piling on.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Cars in the US are relatively cheap, fuel taxes are modest, and there are no taxes on displacement. All of those factors discourage smaller cars.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, Pch101, I understand and agree with you. However, cars like these can be enjoyable even pitted against larger, more “sophisticated” cars. Like the pôster abobe, I know many people who can and do have larger cars, but also keep a smaller car like this for a variety of reasons, including the simple fact they enjoy them. To dismiss this car blecause it’s small, not powerful, unsafe, etc. Is, in my evaluation, a mistake. That’s all I’m saying.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            My implied point is that mainstream US car culture has evolved over a period of almost 100 years, and not once during that time have we had express legal or tax motivations to downsize as others have had. It has taken a long time to get this way.

          • 0 avatar

            No doubt, a huge, cultural hurdle to overcome, but the relativo success of things like Cincuecento, Mini, Fiesta or even Spark, show that maybe the time is coming.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Marcelo,
            Drive a small car in America and you’ll find that your head is exactly level with the bumpers and frames of millions of 3-ton monsters.

            That does tend to cast a certain pall (literally) over the situation. Absent that (and aging joints), small cars are very attractive to me for city/suburban driving. Cheap, fun and zippy.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            +1

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        I’m with you Marcelo, I’m quite sad that they went to great length to update it to Canadian standards yet, decide to not sell it in the US as well. The standards are the same as far as most people are concerned. I could import one but, then i have to pay an importer to certify it meats all us standards ( which it does ) since it doesn’t have an identical us model.

      • 0 avatar
        Jolgamazatlan

        I agree with you Marcelo that the Fiat Uno is a beautiful-looking, very desirable a-segment car. It came in a a close second to the March due to the sparseness of the Fiat dealer network and subsequent limited parts availability in Mexico. YMMV

        • 0 avatar

          Hey Jolgamazatlan, it’s interesting that ou bought the March and I would recommend the Uno over it. Why? Exactly what you said, here in Brazil it’s Nissan that has a sparse network and, sometimes, trouble in parts due to their low penetration. On the other hand, in Brazil, Fiat is like Nissan in Mexico, ubiquitous. Can’t throw a rock without hitting a Fiat and ou’d be hard pressed to find a mechanic not fluent in Fiats. Part of the reason why here, I’d prefer an Uno over a March, but the reality is, any one of them, you’d have a modern, fun to drive, economic, modern a segment car.

  • avatar
    andres550

    wow, that re design looks horrible in comparison to the original model

  • avatar
    chipc

    Canadians have always had a high tolerance for cheap, small cars. If Nissan can give us the backup camera, heated mirrors, steering-wheel buttons, five doors and — is that selectable stability control? — for $10k, they should try with a real stripper model for a thousand less.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I think this Micra’s Nissan NA cutest but until a CVT and rear discs are available, I’d be looking else where. I forecast by the time a Canadian Micra is optioned up with air/auto & tech etc, there won’t be much difference in monthly from dull Sentra.

  • avatar
    Hemi

    I think it’s a decent car for $10k, as are most entry level cheap cars. If that’s all someone can afford, that’s what they should buy. I hate taking to new college grads, barely making money at a new job, while on probation. They go out and buy used BMWs/Benz that they are then unable to pay for repairs. A friend has the first gen Versa, with regular oil changes it has been Perfectly reliable since day 1. Not a sexy car, but reliable.

    I was looking at one of these “tiny” cars, such as the Sonic, Spark, Fiesta and Yaris, being that I live in NYC. It would have been easy to street park, I wouldn’t care about about “street scars” that cars get in NYC, would have been reliable and unattractive to car thieves. Wellll I ended up scoring a secure indoor garage spot and stuck with my original choice of a bigger vehicle.

    Some people have too much pride to be seen in these cars and I don’t care. My only issue was as an enthusiast, how fun they are to drive. I just hate the NVH associcated with such small cars. They are very fun to zip around in traffic and park in most of NYC.

  • avatar
    seat safety switch

    The Versa and Hyundai Accent were both offered recently (last 5-7 years) in Canada at under $10k. In both cases they were super-base stripper models that were mostly used by dealerships to bait and switch upsell to a middle or high class model that compared in price to other cars in their segments.

    Hopefully the $9998 Micra won’t be a punishment for not going with the middle/high-end Micra. Spec Micra anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      spoonie

      Selling any car in Southern Ontario without A/C installed should be a crime.

      I would imagine that most buyers of this vehicle would spec it up to A/C and automagic. How good is the price once that (and it’s probably packaged) box is ticked?


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