Nissan’s fourth-generation Micra didn’t make much of a splash when it launched in the UK last year thanks to the absence of headline-grabbing technical advances. The forgettable styling didn't help, Nissan abandoning the idiosyncratic look of the previous model in favour of something that looked decidedly plain alongside its …
The look on the face of that cretin behind the wheel of the "erectile disfunction compensator" which was toying with the accelerator behind you at the traffic lights - priceless. For everything else there is MasterCard.
Seriously, a lot of people enjoy driving a wolf in sheep clothing. Me included. It is something nobody will key in a parking lot just because it looks sporty and nobody will try to break in. It is economical, has low insurance and at the same when you need so (or when you feel so) can be driven in a manner which will give M3 drivers complexes of inferiority (especially in a city).
I meant, "Why oh why a car review?". On an IT site.
It's arguably hardware, but one review means nothing without a comparison set --- "Is 70% good or bad? Is 180pounds heavy or not? Where does the reviewer stand anyway?". For example, a bad review by Jeremy Clarkson may mean it's a reasonably priced and efficient vehicle instead of an ED/CD (erectile dysfunction compensator device), or it may actually be a bad car.
I had one of the older Micra's before this one came out as a hire car.
It actually really surprised me by how much fun it was.
The Micra felt like a bumper car on steroids. I hope they've not lost that in this new generation.
Although new Festas, Corsa etc are very much more refined they really have lost all sense of fun to drive. The economy wasn't bad either Even that one easily achieved 50mpg, where the fords/vauxhalls achieve 40 at best.
I just wish they'd produced a more manly version! (Definitely nothing with a Reno badge on it)...
You probably had the 1.3 or even 1.4 version, not the 1.0 16v sewing machine.
The 1.3 and the 1.4 versions of the old Micra (not the bubble, but the 1990-es model) were a classic wolf in sheep clothing - around 9s 0-60 and sub 4s on 0-30 combined with nice stiff suspension, good cornering and good grip. Definitely lots of fun to drive. One of my colleagues had one of those and I remember her passing me while I was doing 70mph as if I was stationary on the way to work :) That thing went like the clappers.
Still, IMO, these Micras were not as nuts as a Daihatsu Sirion Rally2/Rally4 with its sub-8s 0-60. That was the peak of the SuperMini class evolution - 107bph non turbocharged engine in a 800kg car with factory stiffened suspension. Go cart with a jet engine. From there on it all went downhill.
The old model Micra was a fine and fun little car, but then you have to remember that the Clio that came out a couple of years later was essentially the same car. Which tells you a lot about the supposedly objective and impartial motoring press. The Micra got reasonable write ups which teated it as a rather dull but practical shopping car. Even the cooking model Clio's got shining writeups that treated it like it was the original Mini Cooper. Which goes to show that motoring journalists, like most other people, have trouble seeing past the badge.
Quote: "So you want your new car to be in the local dealership more often than it's in your posession ?"
For that you need a diesel Honda, not a Renault.
57 days in less than 2 years before I got rid of it... Leaks from all holes on one side of the engine, duff alternator, charging faults, exhaust fumes going into the cockpit - you name it.
On top of that, because "Honda is reliable", when you ask for a courtesy car you get a " you do not deserve one" answer.
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A diesel Honda civic may be reliable, but as a colleague of mine will grumpilly tell you when they do break they cost an absolute fortune to fix. Not only did it cost a fortune to fix, but the dealer had to wait an age for the part because there were none in the country, so being out of warranty the car was off the road for that time.
Even if the break rarely they still break, there's no such thing as a 100% reliable car. What you want then is a backup system that will get your car back on the road quickly.
The wife's after one of these to replace her Mk. 1 Yaris, we took a demonstrator for a spin at our local Nissan dealer last week and I'd agree with the review entirely - blinding little engine, easy as pee to drive but rather dull. But we aren't looking for excitement from the families second car so we placed our order yesterday!
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That's not strictly true is it?
The engines you desribe as Atkinson cycle are not true Atkinson cycle engines. The true Atkinson cycle never really worked well and was really invented as a way to avoid breaching the patent on the Otto cycle engine. The engines that are called Atkinsons these days were, I believe, effectively derived from Miller cycle engines with the super charger removed.
Sp you're right in saying that all Miller cycle engines have some form of supercharger, but that doesn't make them Atkinsons with an added supercharger.
The reason that the Miller cycle engine seems to be undergoing a resurgence is that mechanically driven supercharger design has taken leaps forward of late and superchargers themselves are much more efficient than even a few years ago. The result being that the efficiency and performance of the Miller cycle engine has also improved.
Bear in mind however that the Nissan's engine is a long way from being a converntional Miller cycle engine.
Efficiency all trumpet but no figures? What did YOU achieve on your haring around the peaks? IT might be capable of being an econobox under certain conditions but when the foot is down just how economical is it? usually a super charger (injects more air) is used because you want to inject more petrol into each stoke, to up the power which is all well and good for headline 1.2L figures but how much more petrol does it use? I'm not convinced this is economical at all..
0-60 in 11 is good for a 1.2 but probably won't fool many into thinking it's 1.5! now a 1.4 maybe.
Slow in fast out is for RWD drive cars! (and a number of French favourites, 205, Saxo VTS, 306 GTi-6). Where if you go too fast into a corner you'll come out of the corner still going fast but backwards.
Small FWD cars are typically fast in, fast out! ;-)
Think classic mini Cooper. BMW right up your playmini on the straights then it appears to stop dead in time when in a corner.
Fewer cylinders = Fewer parts = Cheaper to make
Because they've come up with algorithms to dynamically balance an engine without needing balancer shafts, they're cheaper to make.
Also if they can share more parts this saves on tooling costs.
e.g. 1.2 3cylinder and 1.6 4 cylinder, same pistons, rods and associated components.
In automotive, if they can save 10p per car on 500,000 cars they will try to.
I've got a Suzuki Splash with a three-cylinder (1.0L, normally aspirated) engine. The only niggle I have* is that at idle, the vibrations tend towards "unsettling", when compared to four-cylinders (which are a major fourth higher in pitch for the same speed, and probably smoother).
Did the Micra suffer from this, or did the on-off thingy stop it happening?
* You could complain that it's underpowered, or that it sounds like a demented sewing machine when you thrash it, but they're not really valid - it's a cheap, small and economical engine.
The vibrations made by a multi cylinder engine are inherent in it's design, not in the number of cylinders. Funilly enough an inline four cylinder engine is not actually particularly well balanced.
There are two basic ways to make a triple (if we ignore odd things like V3's) one is to have a 180 degree crank shaft, the other is to have a 120 degree crankshaft. Usually a 180 degree crankshaft has pistons 1 and 3 at TDC while 2 is at BDC. This means that the vertical movement of the two pistons is not balanced by the other. This is poor primary balance in the vertical. Try to correct it with weighted crank webs and you have poor balance in the horizontal. Such an engine is hard to balance and manufacturers will often throw in a balance shaft to try to counter the inherent shakes. Four cylinder engines tend to have 1 and 4 at TDC while 2 and 3 are at BDC. This means the pistons vertical accelerations balance each other out. You will notice however that the longtiudinal seperation between the pistons along the crank means you have a rocking couple that is trying to bend the whole engine in the middle.
A smoother three cylinder engine has a 120 degree crank where the crank pins are seperated evenly spaced. This is a much smoother engine as the pistons motions balance each other out. You will notice in the cutaway picture of the engine that number 1 is at BDC, number 3 is at TDC and number two is in the middle of a stroke. It's a 120 degree crank.
The 180 degree engine is cheaper to manufacture. Partly because it's more like a four cylinder engine so things like crank and camshafts are easier to tool for. And partly because ignition and injection systems are easier to setup build. For example you can use the good old wasted spark system between 1 and 3. Try that on a 120 degree crank and you'd be in trouble.
Britain didn't actually give up on the car industry. There are still an awful lot of cars designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, but we did sell it all off to foreign ownership. Except for Morgan, of course, and Metrocab, but that needn't trouble us now.
('D'oh icon for the short-sightedness of the failure to invest in the UK car industry, rather than Jim LIX).
Ariel* make toys for rich people. They're very nice but you can't build a large manufacturing industry on that. Furthermore many of the components are bought in from foreign plants. Where do Aeriel get their engines again? And how much do they charge for their impractical cars? Peronally I'd rather have a fleet of bikes than one of their 30 grand cars. And as for the one that costs five times as much. Eh?
At least some of the foreign owned plants over here are manufacturing a lot more than just a chassis with a whole load of bought in parts bolted on.
* Along with Caterham, Morgan, Ginetta, Noble, et al.
I like the concept, but for me the key to a super mini is its looks. The micra has always been iconic in the way it presented itself. The Mk1 was cool, the Mk2 looked like a bubble and was rather cheeky. Mk3 was less so, but still looked neat. This looks like a cross between a Tata and a reanult.
Mind you, the same can be said for the whole segment I guess. Just look at how inoriginal the new Ka is.
The Micra isn't ugly, it's just bland. You could easilly lose it in a car park because it looks like so many other small cars on the market today.
The Fiat OTOH does look crap. Just like the new Beetle and Mini the styling is a total mess because they tried to make it look like an original 500, but modern with it. As such it looks like a kit car.
Enduring memory of a Micra...
A 1.0l, probably 2nd gen. Going up the long dual-carriageway hill after joining the A420 from the A34 at Oxford. Foot to the floor in 4th and it was actually slowing down. Underpowered piece of junk, hire company told me it was a 1.2.
I agree about the 5 cylinder 2.0l FIAT engine too. I drove a Marea with the non-turbo version, great sounding engine, went like stink too.
I've got a K11C (2002) Micra, and I can say with some authority that it pulls pretty nicely at 75mph in third. As quite a few dawdlers have found out as I've blown past them on A-roads. They don't tend to expect a granny-chariot to be going quicker than them, and don't tend to like it up 'em.
You should have dropped another cog and let it breathe a bit. After all, if they wanted you to use fourth uphill at road speeds, they'd have made it more torquey, wouldn't they?
That engine just loves to rev. I rarely end up using fourth and fifth unless I'm actually cruising in traffic or in town, any other time on the open road it's an excuse to tank it up to the rev limiter in third. Other than the reasonable build, it's about the only thing the car has going for it, mind.
Must start looking at Pumas in anger...be nice to have a car with a chassis again.
Anon, because I don't like admitting that I thrash a Micra for fun.
We had a 1999 Micra, 1L, and it would happily do 130 km/h (~80 mph) on the French autoroutes, even with a boot full of wine (40 bottles) and the back seat full of the rest of our luggage.
I shudder to think of the economy, but hey - petrol was about half the price it is today.
If you're climbing and the car is slowing down then you change down. Who taught you to drive? It never ceases to amaze me how many people climb big hills in too high a gear and just get slower and slower and slower until they are forced to drop two or three gears to keep going.
Also the old K11 1.0L was a sight more powerful and had a lot more toque than a lot of other cars with 1 litre engines at the time. I've driven cars with a lot less oomph than a Micra and still managed to climb big hills (I live on the edge of the Peak District) at 60mph. Even my old 850 Mini could pull most big hills at 55mph or more and that had a rip snorting 34bhp when new and probably a whole lot less by the time I got my hands on it. And of course only four gears and a box that actively discourage you from changing gear by being so sloppy.
Sorry, just an addition to point out that a mate had a Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo LE - one of the last ones with the six speed box and overboooooost.
That was an amazing engine, especially when you hit overboost in third, lit up the front tyres and held on for dear life as the car started scrabbling all over the place.
It was a bloody nice engine when you weren't thrashing it, too, with the exception of the £600+ clutch changes and the quite staggering thirst.
The K11C Anon...
Missing the point. A hot hatch isn't necessarilly a blazingly fast car. It's just a breathed on version of the standard car. Some of the top end fast hatchbacks are so fast they don't really work as a hot hatch. A lot of traditional the traditional hot hatch driving always been about being quick around town. The sill 300bhp 30 grand hot hatches just can't be driven like that.
Nissan have greatly improved their engine technology and mechanical build quality in recent years.
Now all they have to do is figure out a way to spray every panel the same shade of colour and without their trademark orange-peel effect. Seriously, their paintwork is appalling, even on flagship models like the GTR.
but without the supercharger and with a CVT "automatic" and it returns around 65mpg and the 0-60 is around 10secs.
So what exactly is the supercharger needed for? I live in Thailand and the Micra (or March as it is known locally here) seems to be a better car than the European model. Its also manufactured here in Thailand too.
It doesn't have a anti roll bar, which makes high speed cornering entertaining though, it's not only motorcyclists that can get their knee down....... :-)
Im not entirely a fan of the Micra, having driven one of the bug-eye variety with the manual (yes I really do have a clutch, even if you cant tell its there) variety - but at least it was something different, something with a little bit of appeal to it over and above the euroshoebox norm.
This is just arrgh-some - it looks like a the result of a Fiat Punto doing something illegal to a Fiesta.
I've no real complaints with a three-banger, bearing in mind that I am of an engineering bent and know these can be made to be both smooth and quick (witness the 890cc Suzuki turbo that with a little massaging can manage 200hp) but ack on the blandness of it.
Nissan, please come up with something a little more special on the bodywork front. The last micra was something special and something different - this is worthy of the old TR7 styling comment "Oh my God, they did it on both sides..."
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