Car tested: 2010 Nissan Micra Diesel XV
Price OTR Mumbai: 6,52,439/-
Petrol Micra Review: Read here
Nissan’s serious entry into the mass market was with the Micra, which was the first of its locally manufactured cars in the country. Launched about 6 months ago, the Micra has received more than 8000 bookings and Nissan is pleased with the response it has generated. Everyone is aware that India is a diesel loving country, if possible we Indians wouldn’t mind having diesel for tea or coffee. Diesel prices may be hitting the upside but the demand for diesel cars is steadily on the rise and as promised six months ago, Nissan launched the Micra’s much awaited diesel variant recently. We get our hands on the Nissan Micra diesel and find out if its got the guns to shoot the competition.
The Micra diesel in not very different than its petrol sibling when it comes to the looks. The diesel variant is complemented by the dCI badge on the lower right side of the boot, the rest remains the same. Nissan has introduced the diesel version in 2 variants, namely the Micra Diesel XV and XV Premium. The XV premium get additional 15 inch alloys with 175 spec rubber while the the XV retains the same 165/70/14 MRF ZVTV tyres.
The interiors are again similar to its petrol variant and the XV variant we drove was devoid of climate control. No height adjuster for the drivers seat even in the top XV Premium variant. Nisssan has followed a “twin bubble theme” with the interiors as they like to call it. Lots of space for the front and rear passengers with good thigh support for the rear seats.
Boot space measures 251 ltr but the rear seats don’t fold 60:40 if you want to tow some extra luggage. Interior quality, fit and finish is top notch with no inconsistent panel gaps. Owing to the large windows and thin pillars, the cabin feels airy and gives a feeling of it being larger than it actually is. Push button start, i key and immobiliser are standard on both variants, as already described in detail with the Micra Petrol.
The engine which powers the Micra diesel is a product of the Renault – Nissan alliance and is doing its job on the Logan since a while. This 1.5 ltr, 8 valve, SOHC, 4 cylinder diesel motor produces 64 PS @ 4000 RPM and 160 NM of Torque @ 2000 RPM. The figures may not look impressive on paper but considering that the Micra is lighter than the Logan, the power to weight ratio is more favorable towards better performance. The K9K engine is a best seller from Renault and is known for its superior mileage. Its the second time a 1.5 liter engine is powering a diesel hatchback in India. ARAI figures indicate a class topping mileage of 23.08 kmpl.
Dump the clutch and push the start button, the Renault K9K engine starts with minimal sound and settles into an idle. For a diesel engine, the K9K is relatively quiet to the extent that one will hardly notice whether its a diesel or a petrol motor. Slot into first and the Micra drives very much like a petrol car, power deliver is linear without any turbo lag and this gives it petrol like driving characteristics, floor the pedal to the metal and Micra gallops forward without much strain. The light steering makes it quite easy to negotiate traffic and the 160 NM of torque makes sure the Micra is an established highway cruiser as well.
On a timed run, the Micra hits 100 in just less than 16 seconds and the engine becomes more audible post 3500 RPM. The car revs all the way to 5500 RPM after which the ECU cuts its off subtly. Gearshift is slick and the gear ratios have been tweaked to suit the diesel engine. The Micra hits 130 kmph with ease and then struggles to its top speed of about 160 kmph. We hit a top speed of 150 kmph and the Micra seemed decently planted on the road at such speeds, though steering feedback almost disappears at high speeds.
Over our test, in extremely harsh, rev limit driving conditions the Micra delivered an average of 15.5 kmpl and we expect it to comfortably return 18 – 21 kmpl (mix of city and highway driving). A big incentive to the mileage conscious.
The Micra’s ride is decent and handling is fair but is adversely affected by the minuscule 165/70/14 tyres. The car tends to lock up under heavy braking and to makes things worse, ABS is not even offered as an option on the XV Premium model (XV Premuim comes with 175 spec tyres).
Upgrading to wider rubber should do the trick however. Nissan’s commitment to safety has been highlighted by the fact that every variant of the Micra comes equipped with drivers side airbag, but Nissan does not offer both sides airbags, even on the top model. When we asked the Nissan officials about this, we were told that in a price sensitive market, it was important to provide a bit of everything, ABS and both airbags would push the price to a higher level affecting sales, seemingly justifiable.
The Micra diesel is an all around hatch and though we miss ABS and both side airbags, the overall looks and interiors of the car oodle with quality and the diesel motor delivers outstanding mileage and is great on performance too. The only hitch could be the pricing of the car as there are many options available in the market for that kind of money and Nissan dealerships are sparse at the moment but if you are looking for a good quality diesel car, the Micra diesel has to be on your list.
* Push Button Start & ikey
* Low turning radius
* Retro looks
* Nippy handling and light steering
Whats Not So Cool
* Lack of a strong dealer network
* Puny tires
* No ABS
* Unknown service costs
* Only driver’s side airbag
Nissan Micra Specifications : -
* Engine: 1461cc, K9K, SOHC, 8-valve
* Power: 64PS @ 4000 rpm
* Torque: 160Nm @ 2000 rpm
* Transmission: 5 speed manual
* Top Speed: 160kmph
* 0-100kmph: 15.86 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 17 – 18 kmpl (City), 20-21 kmpl (highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Mcpherson Struts (front) & Torsion Beam (rear)
* Tires: 165/70/14 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drums (Rear)
* Safety: Driver Airbag, Engine Immobilizer
Nissan Micra Dimensions : -
* Overall length x width x height: 3780mm X 1665mm X 1530mm
* Wheelbase: 2450mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1470/1475 mm
* Ground clearance: 154mm
* Turning Radius: 4.65m
* Boot Volume: 251 liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 41 liters
* Kerb Weight: 992 kgs (XV variant)