Nissan has unveiled a new generation of the Micra, and it’s again a little car made bigger by the sum of its parts.
Longer, wider, lower and roomier than its predecessor, the new Micra is targeted for Europe, with new turbocharged engines and an agile chassis, along with a host of safety features. It would undoubtedly prove a worthy race car for a single-marque grass-roots series, as the current generation Micra is showcased in Canada.
Although it was unveiled at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris as a car made specifically for Europe (the world’s largest hatchback market), it will likely also cross the ocean again to Canada, even though it will likely still be deemed too small for the US.
“When the first Micra appeared more than 30 years ago, it marked a revolution in the small hatchback segment and opened a new chapter for Nissan. The fifth generation Micra is just as revolutionary, and will raise expectations for what a hatchback can, and should, deliver to its customers,” said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, “Following in the wheel tracks of distinctive cars like Qashqai and Juke, the latest Micra reinforces Nissan’s position as a leader in automotive design. It also shows our intent to compete right at the top of Europe’s B-segment market – the largest and most competitive B-segment market in the world.”
Dubbed Micra Gen5, it’s styled to turn heads but with definite styling cues to tie it to the Nissan line-up. It gets its looks from the Sway Concept unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, itself a study on signature Nissan cues like the floating roof, and V-motion grille and boomerang shaped taillights connected by a heavy full-length body crease that gives it a profile and window-line reminiscent of that on the current Juke compact crossover.
Like Juke, it has the rear door handles hidden in the trailing edge of the rear window, at the C-pillar, and a high spoiler at the rear of the roof. There will be a choice of 10 exterior colours for Europe, though not all are likely to make it to Canada, and various other customizable exterior bits that reportedly allow up to 125 different variations.
Inside, the driver sits lower in the vehicle, adding to feelings of security and sportiness, with multiple adjustments for both seat and steering wheel. The cabin is bathed in sound from an exclusive 6-speaker Bose Personal sound system with speakers integrated into the driver’s seat headrest, front doors, and in the A pillars. A 7-inch full colour central display provides touch control over the audio system, satellite navigation, and mobile phone, including downloadable apps and Siri voice control via Apple’s CarPlay.
To enhance cabin comfort, a lot of attention has been paid to noise reduction, through improved insulation and optimized exterior aerodynamics.
Enhanced ride and handling characteristics are provided by Active Ride Control for ride comfort, and Active Trace Control for reduced understeer and sharper handling. Driving aids include lane departure prevention, emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, around view monitor, traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning and headlight high-beam assist. It should be noted that these aids are the building blocks on which Nissan builds its autonomous driving system.
The European Micra will be available with several 3- and 4-cylinder engines, normally aspirated and turbocharged, fuelled by gasoline or diesel, and ranging in displacement from 0.9 to 1.5 litres. The Canadian engine will likely remain the 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, or some new derivative of it.
The new Nissan Micra will be built in Europe at the Renault plant in Flins, France, with sales starting in March 2017. Canadian Micras will arrive later, though no timeline has been revealed.