DRIVEN: Nissan Micra Active
The 2017 Nissan Micra was launched in Johannesburg in September 2017 and I managed to get behind the wheel for a week. The model I received had all the optional extras, alloy wheels, spoiler and a lot more which I will get into a bit later.
On seeing the pictures at first, I never bought into the looks of the Micra Active. It feels like the Juke’s smaller brother (Disclaimer: I think the Juke could do with some plastic sugery.).
Anyways, after getting over relationship with its older brother I thought I would judge the Micra Active on its own merit. At first, the on-board computer was quite difficult to operate; it took me a good twenty minutes to pair my phone to the Bluetooth. I was impressed with the on-board Satellite Navigation powered by TomTom. This is more convenient and saved me from using a navigation application on your cell phone. I am now obviously going to sound (and with those mags, I probably looked) like a stereotypical Indian guy. The sound system was amazing. You can customize the equalizer based on what you are listening to. Additionally, the Micra Active also comes with iPod connectivity, USB Port, and even a DVD player. Yes, apparently, DVDs are still relevant in 2017. My only gripe with the on-board computer (once again) lies with the absence of controls on the steering wheel. For such an advanced on-board computer system, it would make sense to have some radio controls on the steering wheel. Even if it is just the basics; volume, mode/channel change and call answering. It would be way more user-friendly and, more importantly, it would keep your eyes on the road.
So, what is it like on the road you may ask?
In the city, the 1.2 litre engine works just fine and, like the Toyota Aygo, can definitely keep up with its 1.4 litre counterparts. If you are in a bit of a rush within the city, the naturally aspirated engine can certainly help you make that 8:30am meeting or lecture. In terms of the ride comfort, I didn’t have any problems in an urban setting. The bumpy Johannesburg roads, thankfully, did not feel like the Grand Canyon. However, on the highway there are a few problems. The cabin does get rather noisy if you surpass 130 km/h, so to maintain a comfortable conversation with your passengers may be a challenge. If you do happen to keep your conversation going, you’ll probably be talking about how poor the road holding is. I felt every bump on the motorway at slightly higher speeds. There was no real stability and it felt completely out of its comfort zone. Disappointing.
If you like putting makeup on whilst driving – as a passenger or a driver – I suggest keeping a mirror on you always. The sun visors have no mirrors, so good luck doing last minute hair and makeup rituals. The brilliant technology stops at the on-board computer, the rear windows are manually operated, along with the door mirrors. Not cool.
For 159 000 you would get a standard version which includes air conditioning, front electronic windows, electric power steering, ABS & EBD amongst others. Not too shabby. In terms of extras, I was impressed with the prices. Metallic Paint will set you back R1,350.00, a chrome exhaust finisher comes in at a modest R343 whilst a rear spoiler will cost you just below R2,900.00. The most expensive extra is the 14” matte black alloy wheels. These will cost you R5,070.00.
Would I buy it?
I know I said I would not judge it based on its relationship to Quasimodo, but the resemblance the Micra Active has to it, has turned me away. From an aesthetics point of view, I do not find it appealing – but different strokes for different folks. The absence of steering wheel controls would make it impractical for daily use. Even with the amazing on-board computer and brilliant sound system, I wouldn’t pay R159 000 for the Nissan Micra Active. Please don’t get me wrong, it is a very good car. It just doesn’t tick my boxes. I would be mark it a strong 6.5/10.
Photography: Adelaide Moeng @adelaidemoeng firstname.lastname@example.org