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Nissan Micra

K11 Series I

1 May 1995

Although available overseas since the early 1980s, Nissan Australia didn’t market the Echo-sized Micra until well into the Mk2 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 bad timing.

Its British sourcing made it expensive just as its main (and often inferior) rivals from Ford (Festiva), Hyundai (Excel) and later Toyota (Starlet) embarked on massive discounting, effectively pricing the Nissan out of contention.

Yet its exceptional spaciousness, peppy performance and excellent economy (especially from the advanced CVT auto optional in the mid-range SLX) should have won it more buyers.

The base LX three-door boasted little beyond cloth trim and a radio/cassette player, the SLX five-door gained power steering and split-fold rear seats, and the sporty Super S (so-named to evoke the Mini Cooper S which inspired the design) offered anti-lock brakes, a tachometer, sunroof, bodykit and alloy wheels.

All models featured a 55kW 1.3-litre twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine, mostly mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

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