Car reviews - Nissan - Micra - City 5-dr hatch
Nissan's Micra name returns to Australia after 10 years, but only the name is familiar
22 Feb 2008
A DOZEN years ago, light-car buyers ignored the first Micra to come to Australia despite its obviously progressive design, engineering and packaging because Korean-made cars cost significantly less. Today, unless they want a manual gearbox, really need to carry three people in the back, demand stability control availability, want class-leading performance or Mini Cooper-rivalling steering and handling, then the same sort of buyers must consider what the latest Micra offers. Yes, it has limitations and flaws, but the fact that Nissan has priced the car at thousands of dollars below most rivals’ equivalent model suggests that the company has certainly learnt from the mistakes of the past.
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Nissan MicraReleased: May 1995
Ended: December 1997
Family Tree: Micra
Although available overseas since the early 1980s, Nissan Australia didn’t market the Toyota Echo-sized Micra until well into the MkII model’s career in 1995. Engineered and built in Britain for European tastes, and offered in three and five-door hatchback guises, the Micra suffered from high pricing at a time when rivals were engaging in a savage price war. Yet its exceptional spaciousness, peppy performance and excellent economy (especially with the advanced CVT auto option to the standard five-speed manual) should have won Nissan more buyers. The base LX was sparse, the SLX five-door gained power steering, and the sporty Super S (so-named to evoke the Mini Cooper S which inspired the design) offered anti-lock brakes, a sunroof, bodykit and alloy wheels. All models featured the same 55kW 1.3-litre twin-cam four-cylinder engine. A minor facelift heralded the 1997 model from August 1996.
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