The Truth About Cars » nissan micra The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » nissan micra Capsule Review: 2014 Nissan Micra Fri, 16 May 2014 04:01:28 +0000 IMG_5239

Canada and the United States are different in a thousand subtle ways. Surely, our auto market accounts for a few of those things. Our streets are tighter, our gas is more expensive and due to our tiny market (smaller than California’s) and our American-style regulations, our product mix mirrors that of what’s offered in America. But if the Nissan Micra is successful, that might change.

A look at Canadian sales charts are enough to illustrate the difference in tastes: when it comes to passenger cars, Canadians favor the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra. Mid-size sedans, the perennial leader in America, are far less popular north of the border. Large cars are a non-entity, and hatchbacks and diesels (as well as manual transmissions) have always been more popular in Canada. Especially in Quebec.

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So it’s hardly a coincidence that Nissan chose to launch their Canada only, A-Segment hatchback in La Belle Province, where the first 200 units were sent – and sold in a matter of days, with 10 percent of those being the base model, which has a manual transmission and no air-conditioning. That model will set you back $9,998 CAD, or $9,183 USD, an astonishingly low price for a brand new car with a warranty.


And we didn’t even get to drive one. Nissan had only a few base cars on hand, and all were snapped up by the Quebecois motoring press, even circumventing the sign-up sheet that Nissan circulated, leaving us Anglo scribes to face the indignity of well-optioned Micras – some with two pedals. Quelle dommage.

Nissan was emphatic that the Micra is not coming to America, and as much as that could change (it’s made in Mexico and complies with Canadian regulatory standards, which are essentially identical to American standards), there’s a reason for it. The Versa sedan, with its roomier interior, smooth CVT and better NVH characteristics, is the car that is much better suited to American conditions, namely lots of highway driving and interior space.

That’s not to say that the Micra is a bad car by any means. In fact, it’s the kind of car that the Canadian market has been clamoring for since Hyundai stopped selling a manual, no options Accent hatchback for – you guessed it – $9,999 some years ago. But compared to the three-door Accent of the mid 2000′s, the Micra is a much more appealing proposition.


Only one bodystyle – a five door hatchback – will be offered. Nissan invested a fair amount in small tweaks for Canada: things like rear seat heater ducts and a split folding rear seat (to better fit hockey equipment – seriously) are integral to all Micras sold up here, along with a number of improvements to the structure for crashworthiness. There are three trim levels offered, from the base, no options “Quebec special” to the fully loaded SR. That version will top out at around $16,000 CAD (or about the price of a base model Honda Civic), and come with Bluetooth, a backup camera, alloy wheels and an optional 4-speed automatic transmission.


At 150 inches long, the Micra is about 10 inches shorter than a 1992 Honda Civic hatchback, (but the same amount longer than a Fiat 500). At 2300 lbs, it’s not far off in terms of weight either, and the cars share similar powertrains. Honda may have stuck with 1.5L single cam engines in the Civic hatchback, but the Micra’s 1.6L DOHC 4-cylinder only makes 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, while behaving and sounding very much like the Honda 4-cylinder engines of 20 years ago.


Hindsight makes it easy for us to forget that the Civics of that era weren’t the most sporting vehicles, and neither is the Micra. Most of the driving thrills come from the novelty of piloting something so diminutive and unfiltered, with lots of thrashing engine noises, a low driving position and a tiny footprint – but there’s probably potential for the Micra to be honed into something truly fun, much like the Civic. The 5-speed manual transmission is a bit rubbery, but is satisfying nonetheless.



The 1.6L engine requires you to keep your foot pinned to the floor for any real acceleration, but unlike a Mitsubishi Mirage or a Fiat 500, you don’t feel like it’s ever struggling for breath in the middle of the rev range. Even more surprising was the 4-speed automatic – in this day and age, it sounds like a punchline for a cliche Toyota Corolla joke, but the 4-speed does an admirable job of getting the car up to speed, and let’s the Micra use 500 fewer revs at highway speeds (60 mph sees about 2500 rpm in the auto, versus around 3000 with the manual). Fuel economy, at 27/35 mpg city/highway, isn’t up there with other subcompact and compact cars, but that’s likely due to the transmission choices and the lack of em-pee-gee-optimized styling that bigger, pricier rivals have to their advantage.

Most promising is the chassis, which is shockingly adept at soaking up bumps on Quebec’s notoriously harsh roads. Only the short wheelbase prevents the Micra from having a truly compliant ride. Body roll is unavoidable on a car like this, and the Micra is no hot hatch, but at least the electric steering has decent weight to it and even provides a fair bit of feedback.


Inside, the Micra is constructed almost exclusively of black hard plastic – but if you’re expecting better, then you need to manage your expectations. Like most Japanese cars, everything appears to be well assembled, and all the materials appear to be durable and hard-wearing. The backup camera’s tiny screen is difficult to make out in the sunlight, but it’s hard to fault the Micra by virtue of offering it in this segment.

For the Canadian market, the Micra is an interesting and viable proposition. Easy to park, simple to maneuver in tight spaces, with a minimal appetite for fuel and what seems to be a relatively hassle free ownership experience, the Micra offers a chance for a number of Canadians to get a brand-new car when they might have otherwise had to have opted for used. To an American audience, this may sound like damming it with faint praise, but the reality for us is that with gas, insurance, taxes, vehicle prices and a higher cost of living, owning a car is much more of a financial burden than it is in the United States. For newly landed immigrants, teenagers getting their first car, or even someone looking for a reliable winter beater, there’s now an affordable option that has all of the safety and modern conveniences of a new car, for less than the cost of a good used car.

Nissan says that if the Micra does well, they’ll look at bringing in other Canadian-appropriate models from world markets. So far, other OEMs have been shy about putting resources towards Canadian market offerings, and given the economics of our market (European tastes and American regulations), it’s easy to understand this reluctance. But having taken a gamble on homologating the Micra for Canadian tastes, Nissan has taken a bold risk, and they should be rewarded for doing so – hopefully with a new customer base that will stay with the brand as they move up into other products that are also tailored for Canadian tastes. With any luck, the competition will take notice.

Nissan provided travel, accommodations and meals for this review. Yes, that is a real, authentic Quebec topless roadhouse in the background of the second photo. It was not open at the time of the photoshoot, but all the stories you’ve heard are true.

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QOTD: What Do You Want To Know About The Nissan Micra? Fri, 09 May 2014 17:54:55 +0000 450x298xMicra-14-450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.DYLxdk25LH

To paraphrase Tony Judt, Toronto is not the great Canadian city – that will always be Montreal. And I’ll be going there next week to test out the Canadian-exclusive Nissan Micra.

Nissan says that Montreal was picked due to the European character that the city is known for, and is reflective of the Micra’s European roots blah blah blah. What’s really interesting is the fact that the Micra is basically the ideal car for Quebec, a province full of narrow streets, high gas prices and notorious skinflints who still demand cars without A/C, power features or automatic transmissions.

The much touted $9,998 price tag may be a loss-leader gimmick in the rest of the country, but those base edition cars will sell in decent numbers in Quebec, especially in the northern regions where it never really gets hot enough to need A/C. Let us know what you want to learn about one of the first low cost cars to come to the NAFTA zone outside of Mexico.

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Nissan To Drop Versa Sedan In Canada As Micra Debuts Mon, 24 Feb 2014 18:45:40 +0000 450x298xMicra-14-450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.DYLxdk25LH

The Canada-only Nissan Micra debuts in April, with Nissan hoping to pick up overall market share in The Great White North. But Automotive News reports that one casualty of the Micra’s introduction will be the Versa Sedan – hardly a surprise when both compete at the absolute low end of the market.

While the Versa Note will still be sold in Canada, the Sedan will be dropped according to Nissan Canada spokesman Didier Marsaud. Citing Nissan’s three subcompact entries, Marsaud told TTAC

“The Nissan Micra has been extensively tailored for Canadians and specifically to complement the Versa Note in Nissan Canada’s product lineup.  We decided that it is best to focus Nissan Canada and our Dealers’ attention on Versa Note and Micra.  As a result, we made the decision to discontinue selling Versa Sedan in Canada after the 14 Model Year.”

Removing the Versa sedan also gives the Sentra some breathing room, with the Sentra outselling the entire Versa lineup by a couple thousand units in 2013.


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2014 Nissan Micra In Detail Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:59:13 +0000 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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Nissan Micra To Cost $9998 In Canada Thu, 13 Feb 2014 15:25:27 +0000 2014-Nissan-Micra-62


At the Canadian International Auto Show, Nissan announced that the new Micra, slated for Canada only, would slot in just under $10,000, making it the cheapest new car on sale in Canada. Compared to world markets, the Micra has some Canadian-only features, like an upgraded HVAC system and split-folding rear seat (to carry hockey bags and other large parcels).

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Oh, So You Guys Have Avril Lavigne AND The Nissan Micra Now Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:41:31 +0000 2014-Nissan-Micra-6[2]

Multiple sources are reporting that, yesterday in Quebec, Nissan announced the return of its world supermini, the Micra/March, to the Canadian market.

The Micra has been missing from the Great White North for nearly twenty-one years now, but it’s never even been seriously considered for United States release. With the popularity of the Chevrolet Spark in California, perhaps Nissan will reconsider. Two odd notes about what would otherwise be a straightforward introduction:

* The phrase “Japanese quality” was used during the intro but I couldn’t find anything to suggest that the Micra will actually be built in Japan. Surely this would be a bit of a cost issue, as it was for Honda with the Jazz/Fit in Canada before they changed to Chinese sourcing.

* Globally, the Micra uses a 1.2L three-cylinder, but in Canada it will share the Nissan Versa Note’s 1.6L four-banger. Hey! Muscle Mini!

More details as they arrive.

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Montreal Has Monopoly On A-Segment Debuts Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:40:20 +0000 Nissan-MarchK13 (2)

The often-ignored Montreal Auto Show will have two major debuts, both A-segment cars that may not make it past the 49th parallel. According to, Mitsubishi will debut a production-ready version of the G4 concept, aka a Mirage sedan, while Nissan will show off a Canadian-spec Micra. The diminutive Micra will likely slot below the Versa Note in size, but perhaps be positioned as a chic city car, to compete with the Fiat 500.

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Canada May Get New Nissan Micra Wed, 02 Oct 2013 11:00:50 +0000 nissan-micra-1-front

Canada’s affinity for small cars may result in it getting yet another exclusive product that won’t be offered to Americans. In addition to the Toyota Echo hatchback, Acura EL and Mercedes-Benz B-Class, the Nissan Micra may be sold in Canada.

A report by AutoGuide claims that Canadian dealers have been presented with the Nissan Micra alongside the revised Rogue. Powered by a 1.2L supercharged engine making 97 horsepower, the diminutive hatchback would compete against the Mitsubishi Mirage and Chevrolet Spark in the nascent A-segment space. But America won’t be getting it, according to Nissan sources. The Versa is considered small enough for American buyers, though evidently Canadians are more willing to consider a smaller vehicle.

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Nissan Adds Second Plant In Thailand Fri, 02 Nov 2012 15:43:22 +0000

Thailand will be the recipient of a $358 million dollar Nissan plant, with a maximum capacity of 150,000 cars, with half of those set for export.

Nissan has been investing heavily in Thailand; their Micra small car, a crucial product for the company, is now built in the country – though Japanese consumers have apparently taken issue with this, and sales have fallen. The Nikkei suggested that increased Thai production would come as a result of anti-Japanese demonstrations occuring in China, but a Nissan spokesman denied this when speaking with Reuters

“The reason we will be investing in Thailand more is because we trust in the growth in the ASEAN region and Thailand. China’s economy is slowing down, but still growing…we have no intention of shifting from China … China is a very important market for us,”

Chinese trouble nonwithstanding, Nissan has been on a big kick to increase localized production for various markets- the United States being a major beneficiary with this move. Increasing production in Thailand is a logical move for a company looking to increase its presence in South East Asia and who’s to say that some of the low-cost Datsuns won’t be built here either?

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