DRIVEN: Nissan's gutsy all-new Micra is finally available in South Africa

Nissan has unleashed its all-new Micra in Cape Town this week as the automaker hopes to take on the upper B-segment by storm.

The fifth-generation Micra has evolved from a cute bubble-shaped entry-level vehicle to an edgy, sharp-lined, premium hatchback.

GALLERY: 2018 Nissan Micra

It's all-new in every sense of the word and has been built from the ground up with a serious injection of premium upgrades throughout.

Little Micra goes premium in SA - Here's all you need to know about Nissan's funky new hatchback

The automaker launched the Micra Active derivative in September last year and since then, 2600 units have been sold.

Nissan SA told Wheels24 they'll be retaining the Active variant as an offering in the lower B-segment which goes up against the Kia Picanto, Ford Figo and Polo Vivo. The new Micra will compete in the upper B-segment.

Pricing for the new model will make you reach a little deeper than usual into your pockets; starting from R233 500 for the Visia version, its price is eye-raising but the automaker is confident that it's 2018 Micra is worth it.

At launch, only the 900cc turbocharged petrol powertrain will be available, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and good for 66kW and 140Nm along with three trim levels: Visia, Accenta, Accenta Plus.

Nissan also said that more power trains, trim levels and grades will be available in 2019.

Nissan Micra Visia -R233 500
Nissan Micra Acenta - R257 400
Nissan Micra Acenta Plus - R272 400

Is it worth it?

Well, Nissan is sure of that. The Micra has a V-motion grille, it comes loaded with technology and man does it look absolutely stylish with its dramatic and athletic design. It has a turbocharged engine, 140Nm and the car has literally been taken to a new level.

At the rear of the car there are new boomerang-shaped light clusters, along with a sculpted bumper which features a carbon-look finish which hides the car’s exhaust pipe - I'd prefer it to be visible though, as even though I know there's an exhaust, I still prefer to see it on the car.

There's also a sports-style rear roof spoiler that all makes the car more visually appealing. If the Micra had to enter a B-segment beauty pageant, it would win hands down based on looks.

What's it like to drive?

So it's relatively expensive, especially when acknowledging the Suzuki Swift 1.2-litre model, launched earlier in June 2018, with a price tag of R179 900. But one needs to put it in context; the Swift does not have an entertainment system matching the Micra, and it also still falls in the lower B-segment category compared to the Micra.

The Micra is a treat behind the wheel and the 900cc engine's 66kW genuinely feels that it has way more power than you'd think.

On very wet and slippery roads around Cape Town on Thursday (June 15), the Micra held its own on the road and even managed to evade gale-force winds blowing in the Overberg and surrounding areas. And for a 900cc 66kW little engine, it sure feels even more powerful behind the wheel than what its figures will have you believe. 

Despite the terrific rains for the Western Cape on the day of the launch, we had to drive what felt like torrential downpour at times but even that didn't hinder the turbocharged engine.

It hardly felt lacklustre at all and if anything the car enjoyed the cold, wet weather. And for that kind of performance from a small-engine car, then yes, it could be worth the hefty price and Nissan might just have pulled off an awesome product.

Its looks are top-class, and it feels that way too inside the car. Materials feel plush and the two-tone look certainly adds to the drama. Nissan says the dashboard is based on a 'gliding wing' design while the D-shaped, multi-functional steering wheel matches the flow. 

Safety goodies include six airbags, and other high-level safety features such as auto headlights with auto hazard and niceties such as hill start assist, cruise control with adjustable speed limit, and fully adjustable steering wheel. 


Nissan Micra Visia -R233 500
Nissan Micra Acenta - R257 400
Nissan Micra Acenta Plus - R272 400

As with all other Nissan vehicles, the Nissan Micra is covered by Nissan Assured and comes with a 6-year or 150 000km warranty; a 3-year or 90 000km service plan; and 24/7 roadside assistance.

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