Whether you’re after a thrifty and affordable first car, a spritely second car or something to take to work when you don’t need the size and fuel bill of the family SUV, the Nissan Micra should fit the bill as an attainable, affordable, and basic transportation product.
What is a 2015 Nissan Micra?
On this side of the globe, the Nissan Micra is a Canada-only subcompact offering which competes largely with the Mitsubishi Mirage in terms of feature content, price, and size. This is a basic car first and foremost, and as such horsepower, a luxurious ride, and spleen-shattering handling aren’t primary purchase considerations. Affordable access to a new-car experience is what’s selling this machine. Other competitors include the Fiat 500, Toyota Yaris, and Mazda2.
2015 Nissan Micra S Pricing and Specs
In very base trim, with its manual transmission, key-operated locks, stick-operated mirrors and lever-operated windows, my tester carried a price tag of $9,998. That’s under 10 grand for a brand new car! Your brand new car. One that nobody else has driven, one with a big fat “0” on the odometer, and one with a driver’s seat unsullied by any previous buttocks but your own. Various packages and trim grades allow shoppers to fine-tune the Micra to their exact needs and tastes, pushing the price past $16,000 for a nicely loaded unit.
Standard equipment includes a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine with 109 horsepower, and a 5-speed manual transmission.
Driving the 2015 Nissan Micra S
Handling and steering are fitting of a $10,000 car: when you steer, the car goes in the direction it’s pointed, and when you don’t steer, it carries on straight. Of course, as a bonus, the steering is tight and turns sharply at low speeds, lightens during parking and turns the Micra into a parking-lot ninja capable of sniping any parking space it likes with ease. The tiny turning circle makes tight-quarter maneuverability even more entertaining, too.
The ride is well done. Suspension feels more tough and robust than I expected, and it’s sprung fairly soft, meaning it’s typically comfortable, even on rougher surfaces. At or slightly beyond the highway speed limit, the Micra’s light weight and slightly-soft suspension tuning can cause it to feel a little uneasy, especially on windy days or near transport trucks. Though it feels its size and weight at highway speeds and beyond, the Micra is a pleasant and comfortable machine to drive, overall.
My tester was rolling on a set of winter tires, which shoppers should consider absolutely mandatory if driving the lightweight Micra in the snow. The ABS system works effectively and with less vibration and buzzing than I’d expected when engaged, and the traction control keeps wheel spin down on slippery surfaces -- though both of these systems are only as good as the tires attached.
Best thing about the Micra? The engine. The 1.6L, 109-horsepower 4-cyl motivates one of the lightest cars in the game, giving the Nissan Micra a pleasing power-to-weight ratio, and one unbeatable for its price. The engine operates smoothly at lower revs, makes enough low-end torque that you needn’t downshift for most hills, and it makes a mischievous growl when pushed to redline. Most notable? This engine doesn’t sound like an old Hoover choking on a shag carpet when you give it the beans. It sounds eager, happy, and fires the Micra along with authority when called upon.
Inside and Out of the 2015 Nissan Micra
The Micra has room (though snug) for four adults, providing they’re of average height and width, with the rear seats best left for the kids. Be sure to ask rear-seat passengers to lock the doors themselves before leaving, since the rear locks can only be engaged via an internal lever fixed to the door handle that’s nearly impossible to reach from up front.
The rear seats fold down to make extra room for your things, your stuff or maybe your pet when there aren’t people sitting in them. Flip the seats up, and there’s still room for a few bags or a day’s worth of shopping for one or two people with little issue. You’ll find a few spaces on board to store your at-hand items, wallet, phone, cup of coffee and so on, too.
Comparing the 2015 Nissan Micra
At the end of the day, the Micra competes most closely with the Mitsubishi Mirage ES, which is also priced at $9,998 after a price-drop (with incentives) in response to the Micra’s launch. The Mirage is sized similarly, trimmed similarly, and I found it had a more confident highway feel at speed. The Mirage’s 3-cylinder engine doesn’t come near the Micra for power output, though Mitsubishi’s lengthy warranty of 160,000 kilometers might compensate for some. If you’re test-driving one of these, be sure to test-drive the other.