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Thread: Why a conventional 4-speed automatic in the 2015 Micra instead of a CVT?

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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Why a conventional 4-speed automatic in the 2015 Micra instead of a CVT?

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    I was a little surprised to see that the Micra has a conventional 4-speed automatic transmission. At least until they revealed the price of the car.

    A CVT is a lot more efficient... is it really that much more expensive to use? Fuel economy suffers with the old school automatic.

    If you look at US EPA ratings for the Versa sedan, which uses the same engine & automatic transmission as the Micra, but is also offered with the CVT, you can really see the difference:

    U.S. EPA Fuel Economy of 2013 Nissan Versa (source)

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    US EPA fuel economy
    4-speed Automatic
    mpg (US) / L/100 km
    CVT automatic
    mpg (US) / L/100 km
    City 26 / 9.1 31 / 7.6
    Highway 35 / 6.7 40 / 5.9
    Combined 30 / 7.8 35 / 6.7

    There are other pros & cons of each style of automatic...


    • North American auto journalists don't like CVT's, for one thing. (I've read enough reviews of small cars with CVT's to know they can be the kiss of death in a review.)
    • CVT's can feel smoother in city driving (no pauses/jerks during gear changes).
    • Conventional automatics sometimes feel more "responsive" (even if they're actually no faster).
    • Cars with CVT's can be louder under hard acceleration, with the engine revving at a steady, high RPM.
    • CVT's can be quieter at cruising speeds, if they're programmed to let the engine RPM drop way down for efficiency.


    But with Micra's two closest competitors both using CVT's (Mitsubishi Mirage even uses a Nissan sourced CVT, and the Chevrolet Spark which just changed from a conventional 4-speed to CVT this year), it's surprising to see one in the Micra.

    Maybe they'll offer a CVT after a while, like they did with the Versa in the U.S. -- you could choose manual, 4-speed auto, or CVT, with each one costing a bit more than the last.

    Is it really just down to price? Maybe Nissan has a giant warehouse full of the old 4-speeds and needs to get rid of them!


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


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    Wow I can't believe they don't have 6 speed manuals, but I guess no one knows how to drive a stick anymore.
    Hopefully the CVTs of today are better then those of the past.
    They may well be following GM's parts platform, if its already available from the parts bin then why improve it.
    But I guess if the price is as cheap as they say then that answers the question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD40 View Post
    Wow I can't believe they don't have 6 speed manuals, but I guess no one knows how to drive a stick anymore.
    Hopefully the CVTs of today are better then those of the past.
    They may well be following GM's parts platform, if its already available from the parts bin then why improve it.
    But I guess if the price is as cheap as they say then that answers the question.
    I would be surprised to see a six speed- too much money, but the gearing really shouldn't be needed.

    Are automatics any lighter? I was really shocked to see the difference in the CVT vs Auto for the US Versa. I wonder if that would be the same for real world driving. My sister had a 2012 Cube with the CVT and her in dash readout always read ~31 mpg, and she did mostly city driving. I'd be interested to know what the difference would be with the automatic, but probably about the same change as with the Versa.

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    CVTs can be very efficient, but I have the impression they require regular fluid changes to maintain reliability.
    For example: Honda, there's plenty of reading material on the web regarding the Jazz CVT.

    I've owned a CVT car and it was a lovely smooth drive, however it was not particularly fuel efficient.

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    Administrator Daox's Avatar
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    I just wish OEMs would allow drivers to have more full control over their automatic transmissions be it a CVT or traditional automatic. I know there is low/towing mode for most automatics, but I'd like something more than that even. That mode can double as a sport mode because it keeps rpms higher before shifting. I'd also like to see the addition of an eco mode that lets the engine load up more before downshifting...

    You would think that aftermarket companies would have caught on and offered some form of piggyback to allow this, but I don't think I've ever seen one.

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    Senior Member AlphaMicra's Avatar
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    Perhaps CVT+1.6L engine are too big for the bay?

    EDIT: Looks very tight in there:


    In our culture obsessed with absurd excess, the Nissan Micra is my counterculture car of choice.
    Be sure to visit my blog at mymicra.com!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra SV manual: 6.4 L/100 km ... 44.3 mpg (Imp) ... 15.7 km/L ... 36.9 mpg (US) ...


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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    That's a good theory... Could potentially be answered by seeing if there's a 4-cylinder K13 Micra sold with the CVT in another market. (Lots of 3-cylinder K13's with CVT's, but the length of the triple's engine is smaller so not directly comparable.)

    Or... by comparing the Micra's underhood dimensions to the Versa sedan/Note, which get the CVT.

    The difference in the front track of the Versa Note & Micra is only 5 mm, if Google is to be believed.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


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    Senior Member AlphaMicra's Avatar
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    5mm can make all the difference. When Pontiac squeezed a V8 in the FWD Grand Prix (which normally came with a 3.8L V6), there was barely a couple of millimeters of clearance.

    The Nissan people at the Toronto Auto Show did indicate to me that they were working on seeing if they could make it fit in a future version of the Micra, so who knows?

    In our culture obsessed with absurd excess, the Nissan Micra is my counterculture car of choice.
    Be sure to visit my blog at mymicra.com!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra SV manual: 6.4 L/100 km ... 44.3 mpg (Imp) ... 15.7 km/L ... 36.9 mpg (US) ...


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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Another consideration: the Versa Note is the company's most fuel efficient automatic transmission car. (The Micra will probably be their most efficient manual). If they put the CVT in the Micra, the Note loses a big selling point.

    Nissan has to walk a fine line between selling Micras and cannibalizing sales of the more profitable Note.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


  10. #10
    Senior Member AlphaMicra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
    Nissan has to walk a fine line between selling Micras and cannibalizing sales of the more profitable Note.
    Not sure if I can accept that; Nissan could charge more for the Micra if it was more fuel efficient than the Note with the CVT, making it at least equally as profitable. In fact, I was shocked that they were selling it for as cheap as they are, given the build quality I observed at the Toronto auto show. I think if they could've done it, they would've, but they couldn't, so they're going after lowest price instead of best fuel economy.

    I'm pretty certain they're sticking with the 1.6L because it communicates with the CanOBD2 standard with no changes, and are going with whatever transmission fits.



    In our culture obsessed with absurd excess, the Nissan Micra is my counterculture car of choice.
    Be sure to visit my blog at mymicra.com!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra SV manual: 6.4 L/100 km ... 44.3 mpg (Imp) ... 15.7 km/L ... 36.9 mpg (US) ...


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