November 2010 Update: Auto Magazine Topgear tested Nissan Micra against all other small cars, viz Hyundai i10, Ford Figo, Fiat Punto, Maruti Swift etc and has given a virtual thumbs down for Micra. Micra scored only w.r.t engine smoothness, safety and looks, while other cars fared better on highway performance, fun to drive factor etc. Good car without ABS is better than a bad car with ABS- the article noted. Topgear's verdict is fairly similar to my verdict which is published at the end of this article. (depending on what exactly you look for in your car, you've many other better options than Micra)
After a brief visit to Blue Cross Society, I stopped by Sherif Nissan to check out the new Nissan Micra. As I entered the showroom, I was welcomed by the Ranbeer Kapoor cut out that said Booking Open, but I was put off by the telephonic conversation of the receptionist, which I had to overhear- “Yes Sir, we’re open on Sundays sir… you’ve to take left after Raj Bhavan sir… then you’ll find Tata Motors on your left sir, keep coming straight sir, our showroom is on the right side sir!” Why would you divert the attention of your prospect towards a rival brand? What if the prospect stops at Tata Motors and decides to buy a Punto or Vista Drivetech4 instead of Micra?
Some quick facts about Nissan Micra: Micra comes in 4 variants, XE, XE+, XL and XV, with onroad prices starting from 4.63 lakhs (XE) and going upto 6.11 lakhs (XV) Nissan has delivered about 80 Micras in Chennai so far and has over 350 bookings, 80% of which were for topend XV. Waiting period is about 6-8 weeks, more if you’re particular about Sunshine Orange colour, the most demanded one. No Diesel options and 1.2 L, 3 cylinder petrol engine with driver airbag is standard on all variants.
What’s good? Push button ignition is unique to Micra and as of now not available in any other cars. But this button is positioned on the left hand side. Since left hand is needed to release hand break and change gear, right hand side would have been better positioning, in my personal opinion.
Steering is silky smooth, I feared over steering at times. Drive was comfortable but couldn't test its top speed. Door handles are unconventional and eye catching in design. Airbag is standard in all variants.
What’s not good? No adjustable head rest for rear seat, no diesel option, no bluetooth in music system. No mirrors behind sun visor. Looks are supposed to be attractive, but with several other models sharing similar looking front (Maruti A Star etc) I am not sure about this. Rear, instrument consol etc have nothing specific worth mentioning. The beige interior in XV is not as impressive as Figo Titanium. Nissan service network is not comparable with Maruti or Hyundai or Tata and spares will have to be imported from Japan. Lots of fancy accessories- Alloy wheels (about 8.5k per wheel), turn indicators in mirrors etc come at an extra price.
The representative kept insisting that most of the components are imported from Japan and hence we needn’t worry about quality. According to him, diesel option might be available from next year, nothing official about it as of now though. 14-15 is the guaranteed fuel economy, according to him, though brochure claims it at 18.06 under test conditions.
Verdict: Micra has some uniqueness and carries Nissan’s DNA. Though the Micra model is famous worldwide, its Indian version is tuned down to meet local conditions and expectations (such as fuel economy). It is be worth evaluating its competition. If you want power, Fiat Punto is a good option in similar price range. (90PS is a bit expensive though) If you want diesel or value for money or space, Figo Titanium is a clear winner. i20 has better looks and luxury if you can shell out 6 lakhs. So depending on what you’re looking for, take your pick.
Similar: Ford Figo Review * Maruti A-Star * Ford Endeavour 2.5XLT MT * Mahindra Xylo * Scorpio mHawk Vls * Toyota Etios Sedan and Hatchback * Toyota Landcruiser Prado 200 SUVs * Tata Jaguar RangeRover * Self Drive car rentals in India *