The new Micra remains an international car, the exterior of which was developed at home, in Japan, but with the opinion of colleagues from the Munich studio, responsible also for the interior of the car.
Micra is an example of ennobling modesty. Unnoticeable against the background of sedans and SUVs, it multiplied across the Old World in the saving quantity of 1.3 million copies for the company and literally pulled Nissan out of the financial mire even before the appearance of the brotherly hand of Renault and reformer Carlos Ghosn. It was the first “Japanese” to win the European Car of the Year title in 1993, and it has gone through only three minor upgrades in the past decade. But there is justice in the world of cars. That modesty should embellish, designers remembered only in the new century, rewarding a small hatchback appearance, worthy of a big car.
The new Micra is an international car, the exterior of which was designed in its homeland, Japan, but taking into account the opinion of colleagues from the Munich studio who are also responsible for the interior of the car. At a glance at the shape of the car, you remember at once the Le Keman’s “bubble of optimism” from the cover of our January issue. So, if the French bubble has all chances to burst, so the Japanese-German one stands firmly on its feet – after all, it is a serial copy! But “roundness” of the car, smooth, soft outlines of its forms and especially large square of a glazing really give grounds for comparison of the Micra with a bubble.
Not indulging modern tendencies, the founders have shortened the automobile by 30 mm, but instead made it higher and wider, and even increased wheelbase by as much as 70 mm. Thus, Micra has become not only more compact, having received the additional advantage in city crowd, but also more confident on high-speed country sites. The additional height has benefited the passengers, who now have more direct landing and more convenient disembarkation, without any jokes. Excellent visibility and negligible overhangs are added to the “I sit high and look far” – what else does a metropolitan dweller need nowadays in the “traffic-hazardous” time?
The character of the car is defined by unusual headlights – they are similar to eyes of the previous “Micra”, which went out on a forehead from astonishment that gives it harmless look. It is in the spirit of modern European road democracy – inhabitants of the old Europe got rid of inferiority complexes long ago. “We wanted the Micra to be a friendly car that would be a clear indication of its owner’s character,” says Christopher Ritz, head of Nissan’s German design studio. But the car is as emotional as it is practical – it is not without reason that Micra’s interior was designed by Germans. The car possesses a number of undoubted advantages, the first of which is a sliding back seat. Being moved back up to the limit, it gives more freedom to legs of rear passengers, limiting trunk capacity by 240 liters. And when it is necessary to transport more luggage, the seat can be moved forward on the whole 20 centimeters, making space for record-breaking 370 liters of volume.
In addition to this in the cabin is designed a few more roomy containers for various small things – for example, in a secret box under the front passenger seat fits 20 CDs.
To access the car and start the engine, an electronic transponder system is used, almost identical to the one installed on Renault cars. The differences lie in minor details: for example, to close or open a Micra door, it is necessary to press an additional button on the door handle.
The car can be propelled by one of five engines: 1.0-liter (64 hp), 1.2-liter (80 hp) or 1.4-liter (88 hp) gasoline and two 1.5-liter turbodiesels (65 hp and 82 hp), one of which is equipped with intercooler. All gasoline engines have variable valve timing and multi-point fuel injection, and diesels have common-rail system. There is also a choice of two transmissions – five-speed manual and four-band automatic, electronically controlled, which is put on the powerful petrol versions.