(This Micra was loaned to me for a week by Nissan. I paid for my own gas, and even hand washed it before passing it on to its next reviewer. I'm not an auto journalist, and think you should be skeptical of car reviews in general. Do your own homework! You may be surprised at how little you care about the things the "pros" tend to go on about.)
I picked up the car in Ottawa this evening. Quebec plates -- it could very well be the same Micra I drove briefly in Montreal back in May.
I'll be using this thread to post notes, impressions & photos through the week, starting with...
- It's a top of the line SR, with a sticker price of $18,148 (including shipping/destination), which is somewhat shocking when you're used to thinking about the Micra as a $10k car. This one will be over $20k out the door after taxes/fees!
- Suspension: even though I've driven the car before, I was again pleasantly surprised by how well it soaks up bumps, yet it also handles decently. It's well sorted.
- Comfortable cruiser: in combination with the comfy & moderately bolstered driver's seat, I found myself thinking: I could easily drive one of these on a long trip. Cross country by Micra? I'd do it.
- But the arm rest is a bit of a problem. (Base S owners don't even get one, so forgive me for "complaining on the yacht.") While it's certainly a nice place to rest the right elbow, it reveals 2 problems: first, it's not at the same height as the door armrest; second the door arm rest is hard plastic (left elbow doesn't deserve comfort?). The whole arm resting experience ends up being somewhat disjointed. Pun intended. This needs sorting out.
- Steering feels nicely weighted & responsive. I took the scenic roads back from Ottawa which turned into a real life game of "Frogger." There were literally hundreds of frogs on the highways out in the country. Why did the frog cross the road? I don't know, but it was fun flicking the car left & right to keep from squishing them!
- Speaking of flicking the car, did you know the cruise control will cancel itself if you briefly activate the automatic stability control?
- And the automatic transmission? I don't hate it, but I still would not buy one myself. C'mon - it takes too much fun (and some efficiency) out of the car! Though Nissan has done a few things to try to wring more efficiency from the autobox that I'll talk more about later. Also noteworthy: it's remarkably smooth-shifting under light throttle -- practically imperceptible.
- Fuel economy! I'll be tracking all my driving, and calibrating the onboard gauge against a "3-click fill" this week (I topped it right up before I left Ottawa). So far over ~120 km of careful driving in Ottawa, on the 417, and back road cruising at the 80 km/h / 50 mph limit on cruise control, it's showing 4.8 L/100 km (59 mpg Imperial / 49 mpg US). The meter said 9.3 L/100 km when I picked up the car (though I have no idea when it was last reset).
More to come!