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Thread: Review notes: 2015 Micra S 5-speed extended test-drive - Darin's thoughts

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    Review notes: 2015 Micra S 5-speed extended test-drive - Darin's thoughts

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    (Note: I am not a car reviewer/journalist. In fact, I think you should be mighty skeptical of the things many reviewers say, which is why I tell people: if you're curious about a car, GO TRY IT YOURSELF. When it comes to separating your hard earned money from your wallet, your opinion is vastly more important than anyone else's, and you might be surprised at how little a "professional" opinion matches your own.)

    Nissan has kindly loaned me this base Micra S with manual transmission for a couple of weeks. (I paid for the gas, and I drove to Montreal to pick it up/drop it off.)

    This is the $9,998 special. (OK, it's a touch over $9998: the single option on it is the pleasant Caspian Sea paint colour, at $135.) With shipping, before taxes, it stickers at $11,533.

    I drove an S once before, as part of the transmission fuel economy showdown: Head to head: 2015 Micra manual vs. automatic MPG/fuel economy comparison. But that was only for about half an hour and 20 kilometers -- not ideal for getting the most thorough impression of a car.

    I've already started scribbling in the notebook I keep in the door pocket, and will be updating this thread with my thoughts & more pics as the two weeks go by.

    First thoughts?

    Engine: it's got the same zippy 1.6L engine that the top spec SR has. Long gone are the days of multiple drivetrain options in economy cars when only the top trim got the most powerful engine.

    Handling/ride: again, surprisingly, the base car has the same suspension set-up as the top-trim Micra -- including Canada-only standard front & rear stabilizer bars. Yes, the SR gets lower profile tires, but the S retains the same pleasingly well-sorted ride & handling characteristics for a short-wheelbase car.

    Not your father's entry level car

    Some perspective: I drove my little old Pontiac Firefly (36,000 km on the clock) to pick up the Micra, and OH MAN what a difference! Despite both being bare bones budget cars, let's face it: 17 years separates them, and there's almost no comparison. It's almost comical. Back to back, the Micra feels so much more grown-up, refined and sophisticated.

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    Those auto journalists who have been "fondly remembering" their base model cars from decades past when reviewing the Micra S -- this theme has shown up in several reviews -- are so far off their rockers, their rose tinted glasses have almost fallen off.

    Although I will say there were a couple of things about the Firefly that I missed immediately when I drove off in the Micra. I'll get to those soon.


        __________________________________________

        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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    Sounds great Darin. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the car and seeing what you do with it.

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    oh, the blackness ... and the seats

    Allow me to be a complainypants about a couple of things I missed after switching from my Firefly to the Micra:

    1) Purely subjective... but the inside of the Canadian Micra is a dreary place to spend time: any colour you like, as long as it's black!

    The designers created some light-hearted shapes & surfaces (eg. the layout of the controls for HVAC is funky), but it's all lost in the blackness. Lighten up, Nissan! In some other entry level cars there's at least an attempt at some levity with accents in different shades or colours. The Spark has some spark; a base Fiat 500 has tons of personality inside.

    On this issue, ptbo micra has taken things into his own hands, literally: he has added a little life inside his Micra with some custom accents. And Look how pleasant the inside of MicraK13NL's Euro spec car is by comparison:

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    I'd be willing to bet that Nissan is saving the addition of interior accents like these as a way to "freshen up" the Micra as it ages. Watch for it in a year or 2.

    2) This is also somewhat subjective...
    but I find the seat in this Micra lacks thigh support.

    It feels like it's sloped ever so slightly downward. I didn't notice this in the SR I tried, saying "I could easily drive one of these on a long trip. Cross country by Micra? I'd do it." Maybe the SR's 6-way adjustment vs. the 4-way adjustment in the S is the reason.

    I'm no princess & the pea: I've never been the type to strap various cushions and obus-forme things to my car seats. But within half an hour of driving the S, I stopped and folded up a sweatshirt to put under my thighs (the forward part of the seat).

    That said, my Flea's seat was also like that when I got it, and I modified it by adding a layer of padding to raise the lower cushion (just the forward part). I would do the same to this Micra.

    Also seat related:

    3) Several media reviews about the base S have mentioned the seat fabric is a lint & hair magnet. When I read this I thought, "what an odd thing to mention in a review." But it's totally true. I've never seen a material quite like this on a car seat (it looks like heavy duty nylon stocking material). And it totally is a lint & hair magnet.

    4) Once your seatbelt is on, access to the seatback adjustment lever is blocked by the belt. A little inconvenience.

    5) But even the base seat has little side bolsters. Much appreciated!

        __________________________________________

        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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    snowboard test: PASS

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    My nephew just got his licence, and I took him out to try the Micra. He's a rare youth who loves driving stick. He's also an avid snowboarder, and when we were done he said: "It's neat but I don't think it'll pass the snowboard test, so I couldn't drive one."

    CHALLENGE ISSUED!

    And as you can see: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

    So, 3 people plus 3 snowboards & gear could fit (just) and the front seat is in my normal position. (I'm average height - 5'11"). My board is 159 cm, and there's room for boards that are a little bit longer than mine.

    I emailed the pic back to my nephew. He was pleasantly surprised.

        __________________________________________

        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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    Happy looking Micra S in a happy looking setting.

    ---

    I'm enjoying the same things about this base S that I liked about the top spec Micra SR I tried out last year. Things like: a surprisingly roomy interior (tons of headroom), simple controls/dash layout, nicely weighted steering.

    I have quickly gotten used to checking the door locks before I get out of the car (easier to see if they're all locked from inside than checking each handle on the outside).

    Don't forget the hatchback: on the S it's locked/unlocked via the key as well.

        __________________________________________

        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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    It's supposed to get up to 26C / 79 F this weekend. Oh lawd, the heat.

    So I just installed the Micra's "A/C":

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        __________________________________________

        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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    Driver's seat comfort: S vs. SV (and SR)

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    A rose among thorns? ptbo micra's car -- seen here at the back of the line at this weekend's Loyalist Parkway Micra meet -- was the only SV in a posse of S's.

    Something's been bugging me about the thigh support in the S that I don't remember being an issue in the SR:

    Loooooong drives in an SR? Gladly. But in the S? Not so much.

    Maybe the SR's 6-way adjustment vs. the 4-way adjustment in the S is the reason.
    Bingo! I sat in ptbo micra's SV, and the height adjustable seat cushion makes all the difference.

    When set lower down, the cushion angle is noticeably more "bucket seat-y". This was the Micra seat I remembered and loved. Perhaps not an issue if you truly use a Micra as a "city car" for relatively short trips, but most of my driving tends to be on the highway, where after a while an uncomfortable seat can become a real pain in the ass.

    So iIf I had an S, I would be either (A) looking for a seat from a wrecked SV/SR, or (B) modifying the cushion. (Actually, that wouldn't be the first time: I've taken apart the seats of 2 cars I've owned to add targeted padding.)

        __________________________________________

        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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    I felt like I was slumming it with all you S's yesterday hahaha only kidding

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    Senior Member Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptbo micra View Post
    I felt like I was slumming it with all you S's yesterday hahaha only kidding
    Is that like wearing your pajamas to wal-mart ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Is that like wearing your pajamas to wal-mart ?
    Saw a woman at the dollarama on the parkway in an elmo onesie last week...



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