by: Mike Ginsca
For $9,998 you could have a gold plated Apple watch or the mother of all gaming PCs but Nissan wants you to spend that money on their new car, the Micra.
Performance – There’s no beating it around the bush, this is the cheapest car on sale in Canada. The Nissan Micra’s competition from Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Kia, and Toyota are all $2,500 – $5,000 more expensive than the base model Micra. The Nissan Micra is what the Volkswagen Beetle and Ford Model T were, cheap and simple transportation for the masses. So what do you get for the price of a gold plated watch?
For under $10,000 you get a 1.6L inline-4 engine that is capable of producing 109hp and 107 lb-ft of torque with a fuel economy rating of 8.6L/100km in a city and 6.6L/100km on a highway. Those fuel economy figures are right in the middle when compared with the Micra’s direct competition but it’s slightly bigger brother, the Versa Note, can achieve a better fuel rating thanks to the option of a CVT automatic transmission. The Nissan Micra is only available with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic, as tested. The automatic transmission is average in terms of its performance. It’s neither fast nor slow when it shifts but shifts are done smoothly and the 4 ratios allow the engine to always be in its “sweet spot” where it has just enough torque to pull the 1070kg body at a steady rate of acceleration. While 109hp and 107 lb-ft of torque may not seem like a lot of power, the light body and well geared transmission allow for faster than expected acceleration. Merging on a highway or overtaking takes very little effort and before you realize it, you’ll be speeding.
Not only is the speed of the Nissan Micra a surprise but so is the handling of this little car. With the small amount of weight, the body leans very little through corners and maintains its composure. Also the steering has a nice weighted feeling that is more reminiscent of a front wheel drive sports car rather than an urban commuter. Of course, it is very easy to reach the limits of this little car due to the skinny 185 section wide tires. But it doesn’t have to be a scary ordeal because every Nissan Micra model comes standard with vehicle dynamic control (VDC) to keep the car going where the driver wants it to go.
Comfort – While the Nissan Micra is a relatively fun car to drive for under $10,000, you will be missing for some basic creature comforts in the base “S” model Micra. Power windows, power door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, automatic transmission, and Bluetooth hands free connectivity are just some of the basic features that you will not find on the $9,998 Nissan Micra. If you want those basic creature comforts, then you’ll have to upgrade to the SV model which raises the price to approximately $13,600 which is more in-line with the competition from other manufacturers.
Unfortunately even with the extra features, you won’t be getting any more room inside the Micra. Its small size makes parking a breeze but interior leg space is limited to say the least. Drivers and passengers over 6 feet tall will struggle to find a comfortable seating position in the front seats and the back seats are completely off-limits for anyone that is even close to being 6 feet tall. On the upside though, the seats are quite comfortable for what you’re paying.
Odds and Ends – The Nissan Micra is definitely not a car for everyone. Once a potential buyer test drives it and realizes just how basic of a vehicle it is, they’ll want to add in some extra comfort features or upgrade to the Versa or Sentra entirely. But at a price of just $9,998 before taxes and fees, it is cheap transportation around an urban environment for individuals and small families on a very tight budget. In today’s society of excess and inflation, prices of vehicles are slowly increasing just like everything else but Nissan has taken a step to make personal transportation more accessible for more people.
Thank you to West Coast Nissan for providing the vehicle and visit their website to view this and other vehicles that are available for purchase or lease. www.WestCoastNissan.ca
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.