Nissan New Micra

Nissan reckons its new UK-built and UK-engineered Micra will be the cleverest small car yet created when it goes on sale on 23 January. And also one of the most distinctively styled.

The new Micra will make waves. It’s got an all new chassis and the five available engines – including for the first time state-of-the-art dCi diesel units - are either new or extensively revised. But it’s the thought that has gone into the car’s design that should really give buyers cause for conversation. Once they get past the Micra’s bold new look, that is.

Its funky body is packed full of clever features that have never been seen before in a small car and which customers won’t have to fork out a fortune to enjoy. Just how featured up the new Micra will be is revealed by Nissan today, 22 October.

Every version, for example, is equipped with Friendly Lights which is Nissan-speak for headlights that illuminate the way to the front door at night when you arrive at your journey’s end. All Micras also have a standard fit battery save feature that removes the risk of leaving, say, an interior light on. And talking of lights, the ovoid front pair on all Micras incorporate a ‘bubble’ that illuminates with the headlights and that is visible from the driver’s seat to aid parking. Another thoughtful example is the sliding rear seat standard on almost every version that shifts forwards or backwards by 20 cm enabling the owner to decide between rear legroom or luggage space – it also means a baby in a child-seat can be brought closer to the adults up front. And flip back the base of the front passenger seat on most Micras and a 10 litre storage box is revealed.

Things get really clever from the middle of the range upwards because that’s where the Intelligent Key, rain sensing wipers and drive computer (amongst other things) are added. An Intelligent Key? Actually, it’s not a key in the traditional sense because to lock or unlock the car and even to start the engine, the driver doesn’t have to press on a remote control fob or insert anything anywhere - the Intelligent Key can stay in the driver’s bag or pocket for ever.

Providing the Intelligent Key is within 80 cm of the Micra, the door opens by a push of a small button on the door handle. Even inside the car, the Intelligent Key can remain tucked away with the engine started by turning a switch. It also makes entry into the car speedier, and therefore safer, because there’s no time wasted digging through a bag to find the key. Unlocking can be programmed to only open the driver’s door on first handle press, too – the anti-hijack feature. This keyless entry system will be familiar to owners of super luxury saloons. But not to small car drivers. Okay, some might have met another of the Micra’s features before – rain sensing windscreen wipers - but the Micra’s rear one will also give an automatic wipe when reverse gear is selected. And the trip computer does more than just give average fuel consumption, distance remaining till fuel runs out and the like … it can also be set to wish you Happy Birthday. Bless.

In line with Nissan’s make-life-simpler-for-the-customer mantra, the Micra’s range structure goes E, S, SE, SX and SVE with no word-names or plus signs to confuse things. Price jumps between grades, door numbers and engines will also been rounded off for ease of leaping. Exact amounts will be revealed next month.

But enough of an overview. Let’s get down to basics. Or rather not-so-basic as you are about to find out.

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Published : 23/10/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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