Kolkata has only one Nissan dealership and thought I take a test drive of the Micra just to be sure I don't regret it later after I have decided on something else. Micra was not on my original list because it was a little over priced than my budget at that time (6.5 L OR) and due to absence of ABS
on the diesel model. Anyway since I was trying to sell the Spark on my own (and expecting a higher price), I though I could go upto Rs. 7 Lakhs.
Anyway sent a query to Nissan and though the SA called me up within a day, the TD could only be arranged after 2 weeks (both are to blame). So yesterday the SA arrived with a mint green Micra. He told that this was the demo car, however the stickers and markings were missing and the default music system was replaced by a high end GPS enabled LCD system, which made me doubt if it was a demo car at all.
Anyway, my wife took the wheels and took it through the back roads from our office and later I drove it back. Following are my observations:
1) Styling is OK, looks cute but will not be to everybody's liking. My wife did not like it at all.
2) Front seats are comfortable and spacious. Driving position is good with nice visibility. Less storage space near the gear console, but otherwise OK.
3) AC is good and at par with the segment
4) Back seats are too narrow, though there is average legroom -- under thigh support is non existent, just like sitting on a broad bench
5) Start Stop button is OK, a good gadget but you will soon out grow its charm
6) Handling is good, not at par with say the Punto or Figo, but better than the Beat. Suspension is a little soft and is good for city roads with small bumps but not sure how this will act on the highways at greater speed. Very little turbo lag and hence very good for city driving
7) SA said that GC is 165 mm, which I doubt as it seems a tad low than other cars in the parking space. The diesel has 15 inch wheels which I guess is required for the heavy diesel engine.
8) With windows rolled up, there is minimal engine noise but a lot of road/tyre noise.
9) Good size boot (I think 210 lts)
The biggest positive I think for the Micra is the engine. It does not have the usual diesel clatter that the other diesels have. The sound is loud, but its type of petrol loud. Probably the reason why Micra does not have the usual insulation layer underneath the bonnet that the others have.
Biggest negative (and reason why I will not probably buy this) is the brakes. Totally inefficient. At 60 km/hr, you brake and its nearly 4-5 seconds it takes to come to a stand still. My current Spark does comparatively better. Absence of ABS
does not help either. To Nissan (if you are listening).. the heavier diesel needs ABS
. Drop the auto climate control and put in ABS
In summary, for approx Rs. 6.7L for the base model and Rs.7.12 L for the top end, its an expensive hatch with certain glaring limitations for the Indian market. The engine is the only saving grace but that is not enough.
Again my personal opinion and not trying to offend anyone (Micra owners or otherwise).