By on May 9, 2014

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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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68 Comments on “QOTD: What Do You Want To Know About The Nissan Micra?...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    You know, I love cars, and have spent an astonishing number of hours reading about them, but, no, I don’t have a single question about the Micra. No interest whatsoever.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Bingo!

      Cars this cheap are purchased on price, and price only. Besides mpg and msrp, the actual features and capabilities are irrelevant.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I was going to say: “The only thing I want to know about the Nissan Micra is: Why would I want to know anything about the Nissan Micra?” However, I think you’re right. I don’t even want to know why I should want to know.

  • avatar

    Well in a way the Micra/March is already present in North America outside of Mexico. The Versa is just its sedan version.

    Anyway this car is coming to Brazil. Will be produced alongside the Versa at Nissan’s new factory in Rio de Janeiro state. Fully anticipate it to be a hit.

    As to questions, just to annoy them, ask how much of the car is Renault. They’ll deny it of course, but we know better!

    Will you drive it? I find it quite nice though not as good as some of the competitors here. Depending on price though, I’d own one, no problem.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Well, as someone who is inflicting harm on his enthusiast well-being by driving around in a 7 year old Corolla with roll-up windows these days (all the other sticks sold), let me offer you a few questions.

    1) What is a realistic mpg number if you spend a substantial amount of time coasting in neutral?

    2) What fits in it… in real world terms?

    3) Would you feel safe driving it as an everyday car?

    and finally…

    4) How does it compare to a base Versa?

    Other than that, this will likely become a car review laced with financial spreadsheets and actuarial tables that reflect long-term longevity. On second thought, give me a couple of those as well.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Why do you coast in neutral? Doesn’t that Corolla cut off fuel flow when the throttle is closed and you’re decelerating?

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Why coast downhill in neutral? Because the car falls silent, the MPG-minder spazzes out and gives you infinite MPGs *and* you’ll accelerate at the same time.

        It’s magical!

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          It’s illegal in at least a few states to coast downhill in neutral/out-of-gear.

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            Yeah, those states can arrest me if they can somehow tell I’m in neutral. I even do it in rental slushboxes…

            What states are these, anyhow, so I can avoid spending money in them?

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            The list includes at least:
            AL
            AZ
            AR
            CA
            CO
            DE
            GA
            IL
            MI
            MT
            NE
            NV
            NJ
            NY
            TX
            VA
            WA

            Some Canadian provinces also have this law

            I also came across this:
            http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/alternative-fuel/news/coasting-in-neutral-fuel-economy
            I would say newer cars don’t save any gas by coasting downhill in neutral, but older cars probably do.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Race it against a 4.1L Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      4.1 Sedan DeVille (the big one, for extra handicap) vs Nissan Micra!

      The Micra would probably win, because the 4.1 tends to fail spectacularly.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        I do it because it eliminates the need to downshift from gear, to gear, to gear.

        Traffic patterns are easy to figure out where I live. So I can often just put in enough power and then coast. It allows me to maintain a rate of speed that keeps up with traffic. Especially on downward inclines which tend to be long where I live.

        I do it for convenience. In the winding one lane roads where you’re more or less playing follow the leader, you usually don’t have to worry about acceleration when going downhill.

  • avatar
    92golf

    I’m wondering if one of these would suit my daughter.

    What’s the sweet spot in terms of trim level and content? I’m thinking a manual SV with the convenience package. See what you think.

    How does it compare against the others in the category?

    Looking forward to reading what your impression is.
    Thanks!

  • avatar
    Wacko

    “especially in the northern regions where it never really gets hot enough to need A/C.”

    I live in this region, and In summer it does get hot enough for A/C. A/C is still a must for me, I do use it basically every day in summer.

    The the real reason for non A/C is the price, and only the Price. Life does cost a lot up here in northern Quebec, so If you can save a grand lot’s of people will. I still think that more than 95% of new cars are sold with A/C.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The places it doesn’t get hot enough for AC aren’t northern, they’re eastern and western (as in, coastal).

      You’re right. It gets hot in the north. It also gets bitterly cold, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Wacko

        I live in Rouyn-Noranda, and we are north-western quebec.
        If you go any more north than us, the car by choice is a 4X4.
        But yes it does get cold here in winter, and yes I still have snow in my yard( It just didn’t all melt away yet) But our summers are actually warm. It is quite warm here from june to september

      • 0 avatar
        Varezhka

        Yeah, AC would be nice but not necessary in Vancouver.
        However, you would want a passenger side power window in that case. Stretching over every time you get on/off highway to adjust the window is not fun.

        Does the stripper model have a roll-up window too, or is it powered?

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        There are plenty of east coast places that are miserable in summer without AC.

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      I live in central new york my whole life and have only owned one vehicle with ac, and i ripped everything out and used an ac bypass pulley. I have never found it necessary, that’s what windows are for in my eyes.

      • 0 avatar
        Helmut Spargel

        As someone who has lived in western and central New York my whole life, I think you must be trolling. Not having a/c in August sounds about as pleasant as not having heat in January.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    Go hunt down a Nissan Pao (there are plenty running around Canada) and test that instead.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    It used to be only Europe, Asia and So America, now even Canada is getting cars we don’t get here at all, they must think we’re a land of gas-guzzling trucks and SUV’s!!

  • avatar

    >>>To paraphrase Tony Judt, Toronto is not the great Canadian city

    As Obama said to Hillary during a debate, “You’re likable enough, Hillary”

    As for the Micra, I want to know the same things Steve Lang wants to know.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Is it a car? Because if it is, the Yaris might be in trouble.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “To paraphrase Tony Judt, Toronto is not the great Canadian city – that will always be Montreal.”

    Well, Montreal definitely has the better hockey team, though you have to wonder about ANY team nutty enough to trade Patrick Roy for a bag of pucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      Ask if Canada is actually gettin the euro Micra or the watered-down March they make in Mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Whenever a team makes a boneheaded trade to politically-connected team in a critical market, the league was involved. Roy to the Colorado Avalanche didn’t happen without some league kickbacks, perhaps an exclusivity agreement to keep another franchise out of Quebec City for a set period of time.

      Remember that Bettman was Stern’s protege, and the NBA is notorious for these kind of shenanigans.

    • 0 avatar
      Helmut Spargel

      Have the habs retired all whole numbers yet (albeit grudgingly retiring Ken Dryden because he’s not a francophone)?

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    #1 What do I want to know about the Nissan Micra ? Absolutely nothing

    #2 Neither Montreal [ though a close 2nd ] or Toronto are the Great Canadian City . That honor goes to Vancouver BC . Hands down . No questions asked . End of discussion

    Why Vancouver BC you ask ? Mountains , skiing , hiking , ocean and sailing within striking distance . One of the worlds greatest Urban parks . The best , freshest and most varied food in CDN . By far the most amiable residents . One of the best downtowns in North America . A hop skip and a jump to Alaska and the Yukon . One of the most fascinating Native cultures again in North America . And then there is the music/culture/art / theater / movie production-filming and architecture

    So in my [ not so] humble opinion Vancouver BC is not only the Great Canadian city .. but is also one of the top three North American Cities as well

  • avatar
    Maymar

    The Turbo DI engine should drop in easy enough, right? What would it take to get a Micra Nismo and absolutely eat the Fiesta ST’s lunch?

    Also, if I buy one new, what are the odds it won’t be a pile of ferrous oxide by the end of the decade?

  • avatar
    Joss

    What do you want to know about Micra?

    When will there be available CVT & rear discs?

    Not until outside Quebec takes an interest and there’s a 3 lane Gardiner. Presently I spy Mazda 2 weaknesses.

    To top it all I forecast end-of-year Sentra leases equipped with auto & air being very competitive with Micra.

  • avatar
    993cc

    In a car this size, what I want to know is:

    How many screws/bolts/pins/etc. do you need to remove, in order to pull the back seat out of the car? Seriously, with the back seat left at home, you can usually increase the cargo capacity by 50% which can double the car’s usefulness.

    Beyond that, effective brakes are essential on a small car, and a good chassis is essential on an underpowered one.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Any chance the 1.2L supercharged engine makes its way into a US-spec Versa? If so, what kind of EPA mileage can we expect [in vague non-committal marketing speak]?

    Overall, though, I don’t really care about the car. Versa sedan is the leader in the subcompact segment, IIRC, and Nissan will probably not bring the Micra to the US. Too much to lose. Nothing to gain.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I you go to Canada to buy one of these cars, can you register them in the US, or don’t they meet the Federal Govt standards?

  • avatar

    Can I use it for target practice?

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Even Daewoo managed to carve out a decent market share in Quebec for cripes sakes, that all I have to say about that.

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    I commented in the wrong place, so here it is.

    Where it this canadian March made? Is it watered-down like the mexican one?

  • avatar
    50merc

    Montreal is not the Great Canadian City. It is and will always be the Great City of New France.

    In a few decades, Montreal will be the largest, not second-largest, Francophone city, as Paris becomes dominated by immigrants from Africa and the Mideast.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Autocar UK found this thing to be subpar in almost all respects. It used to be known affectionately as the Noddy Car back when it was properly made, a decade or more ago. Apparently now it is so-ill finished, they claim it would be difficult to have little or any pride of ownership.

    Enjoy Montreal, have a Schwartz’s sandwich and nod your head wisely as the Nissan reps go on in great detail about what a world-beating car it is. If the room is warm, try to avoid nodding off.

  • avatar
    turvo

    Well lemme see…ahhh, ummmm, what about the….naaah. I’ve got nothing.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    there is nothing about this car that demands questions

    the engineering isnt there and the car suffers for that

    also for me, its a car that has no place

    firstly it is 900kg, 2000lb

    there’s no need for a car this small where i am where the fuel econ and registration insurance etc, is the same for a C segment

    if you’re an avg. size male you’re bumping elbows with your partner (life partner?)

    i’m not saying go straight to a Focus Cruze but I reckon the sub-C is a hot class

    a class leader here is the Kio Rio

    here’s a car with a with a 6 spd man, allegedly a 6 spd auto and a class leading interior which is not much more than the Micra and yet it has a better warranty and they stand by their car in regards to servicing and 24hr onroad support

    its a car that isnt perfect, the 1.4 n/a four isnt great but you cant get it all

    4 spd autos in 2014? yeah… no

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    Derek, what I want to know is if you want to grab a drink sometime between Mon-Thurs, since I’ll be off work and live just outside of downtown (St-Henri). There’s open lapping on Monday in Ste Eustache and on Wednesday at ICAR (the track which was built on the old Mirabel airport runways). I won’t be running on the track this week yet, but would be happy to take the NB to check out the action or hit the rural roads up towards Tremblant if you’re interested.

  • avatar
    TheyBeRollin

    My questions:
    – Are those actual alloy wheels?
    – What size are the tires?
    – Does it have disc brakes?
    – Will the Quebec stripper model really look like the one in the picture?
    – Is the interior as nice as the Japanese version? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nissan-MarchK13interior.jpg)

    If they include the basic motor, it’s 1 ton and has 78hp, which is not that much worse a power:weight ratio than many economy cars (better than the base engine in the iQ, for example). The NISMO variant is roughly the same weight with a screaming 114hp. Not fast, but not shabby. I guarantee nobody in Quebec will buy it if they’re as cheap as people are claiming, though, between premium fuel and the higher price. Back when I was practicing with my learner’s permit I sometimes drove my dad’s old VW Transporter (1970 T2, German-made) which was about 1.5 tons (not counting passengers) with a 1.6L (dad always called it 1600cc, to make it sound bigger) air-cooled engine. “Supposedly it makes 47 horsepower. It might make that on a good day, but I don’t think it has many of those left.”, to quote my dad. It was endurable if you needed to get somewhere without walking or riding a bus.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Will this car be sold in the US as a Datsun? With Brock Racing Enterprises racing mods, it might be kinda fun! Just paint it red, white and blue, put on flared fenders and racing tires, and rip out the interior! Fun!

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    In the nineties, Micra was the small car to buy.
    Solid and economical.
    Then they lost it.
    First (2003?)with a butt ugly car, and now with a car that is not the best at anything.
    There are several other small cars that are a better choices.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      So I Wikied that and, wow, are you ever right. The second generation (’90s) was a handsome little scoot, a more rounded Mazda 323.

      But the third generation (’02-’07) was spectacularly ugly, sort of an intimation of the Juke to come.

      This fourth generation looks far less frog-like.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    How did they choose the name?

  • avatar
    Smaller-is-Better

    I’m curious to know how it compares to a Mitsubishi Mirage. Maybe you and JuniperBug could go for a Mirage test drive instead of a drink?

    I’m sure some American readers would like to know whether they’re missing out, and some Canadians (especially Quebecers like myself) would be interested in knowing which one is superior should friends/family seek our advice on the matter.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    This car might be a good choice over used with former middle class people.
    So, like Mr. Lang mentioned, how reliable is this car projected to be?

  • avatar
    Jolgamazatlan

    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:-)

    • 0 avatar

      LOL! Loved every word in your review! What’s more, I love the fact that you gave up all the fancy stuff, and in spite of it all, you found some blessings in your little, little Nissan. Not to rob your thunder, but that is my whole point, almost, but of course not, my whole “life mission” when I see this kind of thing….

      Muy bien hecho señor. Have at it. In an alternative meaning cf the phrase, “live the dream’,…mucho gusto, yo soy el Micra/March”

      That’s not to say a Fiat Palio is better, but that’s besides the point.

      Enjoy!

  • avatar
    Joss

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Jolgamazatlan

      The March has been produced at Aguascalientes since March of 2011. So that’s three years of daily production adjustments. Also it has a lifetime no-maintenance timing chain. The low maintenance cost I quoted is no doubt due to the fact that the bean counters have determined that they can afford to charge less because it is a simpler, rugged car with fewer parts therefore; they can underwrite the warranty liability at a lesser cost. There is no free lunch here.
      The Jatco Nissan compact 4-speed conventional auto trans is known for its longevity, quick shifts, excellent programming logic (never hunts)and great climate adaptability. It has been used in many Nissan models worldwide including the Nissan Tiida (this is a taxi favorite), Nissan Note, Nissan March, Nissan Wingroad, Nissan Bluebird Sylphy, Renault Samsung SM3
      As to the 80’s Micra’s 3-speed auto. My first car was a 100 dollar found-in-a-barn 1949 Pontiac with 3 non-synced gears on the tree, but does that make all modern GM products bad?

  • avatar
    bdaniels_us

    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.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    What if you are a sodium and eel salesman?

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