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Geneva show: Nissan presents its new baby

Baby on the way: Nissan's Micra will be made in Thailand for Australia, arriving Down Under in late 2010.

Fourth-generation Micra unveiled at Geneva amid a host of fresh Oz-bound models

3 Mar 2010

NISSAN has presented its brand-new baby, the fourth-generation Micra, at the Geneva motor show, where CEO Carlos Ghosn promised it will set a range of new industry standards in the light-car class.

Due on sale in Australia in late 2010, the latest Micra city-car will play an integral role in the brand’s ‘GT2012’ sales strategy and is expected to triple sales over the Japanese brand’s current five-door range-opener by offering a number of model grades, drivetrains and, eventually, body styles.

Nissan says its all-new global compact car, which is based on the company’s new V (versatile) platform and will be sold in 160 countries, delivers breakthrough packaging and small-car engineering.

It will first go on sale in March in Thailand, which will supply Australia’s Micra, and will also be produced in Mexico, China and India, which is expected to supply European markets from May.

That means the new Micra should offer better value than the current Micra (available here only in 1.4-litre automatic guise for $15,990), which is produced in the UK.

It will be replaced at Nissan’s Sunderland plant by the all-new Juke mini-SUV, which also makes its global premiere at Geneva, but is yet to be officially confirmed for Australia. Other world debuts at Geneva from Nissan include upgraded versions of the Qashqai (called the Dualis here), Pathfinder SUV and Navara utility.

12 center imageThe K13-series Micra is expected to be joined a year later by a sedan version, while an all-new mini-people-mover also based on the V platform is likely to emerge in 2012, although it’s unclear whether either Micra derivative will be sold in Australia, when the next-generation Micra’s specifications are also yet to be confirmed.

Two new engines will be available in Europe, based on Nissan’s all-new HR12 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. Both will employ valve-timing control (VTC), with the naturally aspirated entry-level version claimed to produce 59kW and 108Nm of torque, while emitting a class-leading 115g/km of CO2.

The Micra will also become available with a direct-injection supercharged version of the new 1,2-litre triple, fitted with an automatic idle-stop system as standard in Europe. The latter is said to reduce CO2 emissions by six per cent to just 95g/km, but the blown 1.2 still delivers up to 72kW and 142Nm.

Both engines will be available in Europe with either a five-speed manual transmission or Nissan’s all-new continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is said to employ wide gearing and world-first technology to achieve the economy of a 1.0-litre as well as brisk acceleration.

Nissan’s new light-car, which will continue to be known here as the Micra and in Japan as the March, appears with an exterior design that’s part way between the cute but effeminate current model and the more muscular and aggressive style conveyed in Nissan’s design sketch.

Inside, a fresh circular theme extends to a large central speedo and polished all-look centre console with climate controls arranged in a ring around a central LCD display, beneath an audio unit that is switched for a large colour touch-screen in upstream models.

The new model’s ‘twin-bubble’ dashboard also features a start/stop button for the ‘Intelligent Key’ system, while chromed door-pulls, foglights, alloy wheels, automatic wipers, a trip computer, automatic door-locking and a two-tone interior colour scheme will also feature, at least in top-shelf variants.

European models will come standard with ABS, ESP electronic stability control, twin front and side curtain airbags, and seatbelt pretensioners.

Reverse parking sensors will also be available with reverse parking sensors and a new ‘parking space measurement’ (PSM) device with three skill levels (amateur, normal and expert) – despite the fact it’s claimed to deliver “superb visibility and a class-topping turning radius of 4.5 metres”.

Nissan says the new Micra will offer significant advances over the old model in interior packaging, performance, dynamics, efficiency, safety and comfort.

“Combine 25 years’ experience of designing compact cars for city driving … with a totally new, versatile platform and Nissan production know-how … and the result is modern, simple and destined to be a serious competitor on the world stage,” said Mr Ghosn at the new Micra’s reveal.

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