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Future models - Nissan - Micra

Nissan considers supercharged Micra

Eco Nissan: The Micra DIG-S sold in Europe is powered by a thrifty supercharged three-cylinder engine.

Supercharged three-pot Nissan Micra and new CVT on agenda for Australia in 2013

Nissan logo5 Dec 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

NISSAN Australia is investigating an expansion of the Micra range to include an eco-orientated three-cylinder supercharged petrol model, as well as a new-generation CVT automatic gearbox in lieu of the ageing conventional four-speed transmission.

They are being considered for when the current K13 generation undergoes a facelift sometime during 2013However, keeping down costs and complexity in such a price-sensitive segment count against their introduction, particularly as the smallest Nissan on sale locally is the cheapest ‘full-sized’ B-segment hatch available by some margin.

Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson flagged the proposed technologies for its popular light-car contender, which has just switched from Thai to Indonesian sourcing to meet market demand.

“It’s certainly on the cards, and something that is in the mix as a lifecycle upgrade or midlife upgrade,” said Mr Thompson.

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“But we will watch the market dynamics around price, because all the segments and not just the light segment have been under enormous pressure from a pricing perspective, so we are going to balance very carefully putting any more cost into the Micra if we can avoid it.

“That’s the greatest differentiator the Micra has at the moment over any other properly sized light car – because of its global scale and cost structure.

“It could supplement the existing four-speed auto model but that’s not my way of thinking in terms of efficiencies. I’d much rather do (a CVT) as a running change.”

Although the supercharged engine in question is marketed in Europe as a low-emissions hero model, Nissan admits that it might have a better chance of success in Australia as a semi-sporty flagship.

Fitted overseas to the 1.2 DIG-S model, the HR12DDR direct-injection three-cylinder Miller Cycle unit features a supercharger, idle-stop and the Nissan’s Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System to deliver 72kW of power and 143Nm of torque.

The five-speed manual version returns 4.1L/100km and emits just 95g/km on the Euro cycle, while the equally economical CVT version emits 115g/km.

In the existing K13 range, the ST’s naturally aspirated version of the 1.2-litre three-pot engine offers 56kW, 100Nm, 5.9L/100km and 138g/km with a five-speed manual, while the ST-L and Ti employ a 1.5-litre four-cylinder powerplant offering 75kW, 136Nm, 6.5L/100km and 153g/km.

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