QOTD: What Do You Want To Know About The Nissan Micra?
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.
Before retiring in Canada my last car was a BMW 323i which gave us flawless service from 2007 - 2013. I sold it because It just wasn't going to fit our new, simpler beach life in Mazatlan Mexico. There is no BMW dealer here and any car that is not Hecho in Mexico is mucho dinero to fix. There was also the guilt factor about driving around in a fancy gringo car while the locals looked on. It's a bit like my wife putting on all her jewels and then walking around El Centro .... just to rub it in a bit more. Look at us we've got money and you don't! Definitely a Nay Nay! So how does one go native in Paradise? The first thing to do is get a car that fits the environment. The streets in Mazatlan are very similar to those that you find in Quebec city or, for that matter, any European town. We saw all kinds of cute subcompacts scooting about, so I did a lot of research for about a year before arriving for good. The car guru in Mexico is a gentleman by the name of: César Roy .... no not the Dog Whisperer ... that's Cesar Milan (who by coincidence comes from Mazatlan). He has a site called AlVOLANTE where, wonder of wonders, he actually gives car buying advice to people and is not sitting in the manufacturers' back pocket. I diligently read hundreds of messages from prospective and actual Latin American buyers and a pattern emerged. Buy Mexican made or you will regret it! So many poor owners were stuck waiting for parts to arrive for their Renault,Fiat,Peugeot,or Mitsubishi ... to name but a few. When they finally did get off the slow boat from China the labour costs also turned out to be astronomical. Cesar is a polite, cultured gentleman, but the message was a clear, " I told you so." Then something interesting happened, he decided to walk the walk and bought a Nissan March. And fell head over heels for it! Armed with this knowledge we set out to buy a new subcompact in Mazatlan. I had grandiose plans of visiting all the stealer-ships and making comparative spreadsheets ad nauseum but guess what happened? We went to Vamsa Nissan, found just about the only girl who could speak passable English. She took us out for a spin in a 2013 March Advance TA. Then on a quiet country road I took the wheel and that was it, hook, line and sinker. We knew we didn't have to look anywhere else. Here is an interesting sidelight to the purchase. When you go to pick up your new car it is covered with a white Nissan car cover.They then bring a bottle of champagne ... ok some fizzy wine, pull up some huge speakers and you drink and dance as your car is unveiled! This all goes on camera so you can bother your friends and family with it later. Marcello, The March has been flawless. He only gets occasional use around the city, he is fast, quiet and handles well. Moreover maintenance will only be once a year and will only cost 868 pesos at the stealership for God's Sake! That's $77 US.. the best deal in Mexico! We don't use him much... and only in town now, but every time I take him out he never fails to delight us. As far as fuel economy goes I fill him up every 6 weeks (yes we like to walk in Paradise)and it costs me $30.84 We can't ask much more of a $15000 car. Oh and for those of you with back problems, my wife always had a sore back in our BMW but she says these seats are Volvo-like.... not faint praise coming from her as she is beyond picky.. You lucky Canadians who will be getting the Micra, please don't cross it off your list until you have tried it... you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Disclaimer: Carlos Ghosn didn't put me up for this... but if he wants to send us a cheque I'm amendable:-)
Ha - Quebec cheapskates get the early production flaws from Aqua, MX. Maybe there aren't any auto 4 cogs to be found yet? Remember the 500 debut in NA? I recall the last Micra back in the 80's. A 3 day weekend cottager rental. Real expressway NVHer with the 3-sp auto topped @115 km/hr. 2014 = CVT/6 manual. nuff said.
What I want to know: Does the car have any degree of charm or soul? Probably not but some beloved cult cars were the basic transportation of their day. Doubtless this is not a modern day Renault 5 or Spanish miracle invoking SEAT 600 but fans of cheap and cheerful cars have to take what we can get. Except being in the U.S. I cant get this. Human cars, ones that need to catch their breath at the top of a hill. That's the ticket.
What if you are a sodium and eel salesman?