It’s been a while since Nissan made its foray into the Indian market with the Micra and the hatchback has been up for a makeover for a while now. While the car itself was pretty potent, there were some issues that Nissan really needed to sort out with it – first and foremost of which was its somewhat feminine face. Interiors don’t seem to have been the Japanese manufacturers strong point in India either and while the Micra brought with it lots of gadgets and gizmos that had never before been seen in this segment here, the sea of grey on the dash didn’t really make the Micra a happy place to spend your commute in. Well, the Micra has now been refreshed for 2013 and it more than takes care of those issues that plagued the sales for the Micra all these years, and in fact Nissan has gone a step further too.
The car you see in these pictures is the new face of the Nissan Micra – it’s bolder, more aggressive and yet a whole lot more attractive than it ever was. Gone are the oval headlamps and the soft baby look of the front grille and the air dam. Instead, the new Micra sports a headlamp design more in tune with the Nissan family’s current design theme – a nice set of rakish lamps that make the car look angrier than before. The new front grille is taller and gets broken up by a v-shaped slat in chrome and the air dam is all new as well flanked by triangular recesses for the fog lamps that are available with the top-of-the-line XV Premium variant.
While the front end gets that heavy do-over and still manages to gel well with the rest of the curvy car, the changes at the rear are much less subtle. The taillamps retain their existing design but are now lined up with LEDs – another class-first from Nissan. The boot lid also gets a lip that helps it gradually flow into the rear bumper instead of looking like it was cut out from there as on the earlier car. On the outside the only other major change is the new set of very swanky alloy wheels that buyers of the XV and above variants will get as standard equipment.
The exterior styling may have been refined quite a bit, but the biggest improvement seems to have been made on the inside. With a whole new set of seat fabrics and trims, the Nissan Micra now transforms from being the rather dull wash of grey to being one of the classiest cabins in the market. While the basic layout remains the same with the round set of air con controls, the top half of the dashboard has undergone a major revamp and with a piano black finish, it is indeed very pleasing to behold.
Also coming in is an all-new music system with horizontal buttons finished in chrome that really stand out against the piano black backdrop. The steering wheel also finally gets a chrome Nissan logo that instantly makes this car feel more upmarket.
Engine options on the new Nissan Micra remain unchanged with the excise-duty busting 1.2 litre petrol and 1.5 dCi doing duty in the engine bay. Both engines come mated to five-speed transmissions. The diesel Micra though seems to have been upgraded with a rework of the engine mapping though, and it is far more driveable than we can remember – less lag and great roll ons even in higher gears. The car easily picked up from 20km/h in third gear without breaking a sweat and the trend continued in the fourth and fifth gears as well.
The biggest change in the Micra’s options line up though is the addition of the X-Tronic CVT option, albeit only with the 1.2 litre petrol engine. This is the same CVT that is available on the Sunny that was recently made available and though this transmission seems to work better with the sedan’s bigger 1.4 litre engine, it isn’t bad at all with the Micra’s 1.2 either.
The CVT has been programmed to adapt to driving styles on demand but the focus is clearly on better efficiency. While the manufacturer claims 18.44 km/l on the manual transmission petrol variants, the CVT is claimed to return 19.34 km/l – both figures not being ARAI approved as of yet.
The changes have definitely made the Nissan Micra a major player in the premium hatchback segment and while the earlier version did come loaded with gadgets, the new one adds even more features. In comes a rear-view camera and climate control on the higher-spec variants along with the existing keyless entry and start-stop buttons as well.
Expect the new Micra to cost marginally higher than the older model when it is launched soon, but with the refreshed styling and classier interiors, the extra dough should be well worth it.