We have the fifth generation Nissan’s iconic Micra on test and we’ve decided to stack it up to the sixth generation Volkswagen Polo
In a head to head the polo is the bestselling car in the upper B hatchback segment by a considerable amount with the Polo Vivo right on its heels.
So how does the all new Micra rival the sixth generation Polo? Besides the R9,400 price point gap.
The new Nissan Micra has dynamic hatchback proportions and with an overall length of 3,999 mm, it’s placed right at the core of the B-hatchback segment. Featuring a sculpted body with strong and sharp character lines visible from every angle the car delivers an athletic feeling that’s hard to ignore.
The sixth generation Polo is the first Polo based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform. This offers the ability to create significantly more dynamic proportions with a long wheelbase coming in at 4,053mm, short body overhangs and a sporty ratio of its key dimensions (longer, wider, lower overall height but improved headroom). The design has been made more powerful, masculine, charismatic, and expressive than previously, which has resulted in a completely new vehicle.
After living with the new Micra I’ve found that it’s a very fun car to drive. It really handles well and I think it’s got to do with its light weight body and the 16” alloys which you can tuck it into a corner with confidence along with the new chassis control tracks that makes the car feel extremely stable and well controlled. The body design is very different and has taken some getting used to but the more I look at the new Micra the more I’m starting to enjoy it. The lines are very fun and give a sense of excitement when walking over to the car it just feels fresh and new when I compare it to the 6th generation polo. I know its new and I can see where its changed but to the untrained eye is it really fresh and exciting or does it just feel like the familiar?
The interior quality of the new Micra has definitely improved in terms of ergonomics and a very high quality clean look. It’s got the 7-inch touch screen mounted neatly on the dash below and the climate/Aircon controls finished in aluminum trim which gives them a quality feel when operating the dials. The cabin is based around a T-shaped “gliding wing” dashboard, with simple structures that create excellent space for the driver and front passenger, a driver at 2.03 meters tall would fit comfortably behind the steering wheel.
Boot capacity is a very competitive 300L and delivered without compromising on rear passenger knee room. That figure expands to 1,004L when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded down. Smart storage options are everywhere in the new Micra’s cabin, with location, capacity and design all optimised to ensure maximum convenience for occupants. Larger items can be placed in the centre console ahead of the gear selector. It offers flat storage for a phone, and includes ambient lighting plus USB and 12v sockets.
The 7-inch touch-screen colour display on the Acenta and Acenta Plus allows the driver to access features such as music, messages and maps through Apple CarPlay in addition to the MP3, USB, and Bluetooth in the Visia model.
When an iPhone is connected via an Apple lightning cable, it offers users Siri voice control, Apple maps with turn-by-turn navigation, access to music, telephone services and other apps such as Audiobooks and Spotify.
Complementing the audio unit is the advanced driver-assist display located in the speedometer display. Positioned to minimise “eyes off the road” time, it uses a high-definition 5-inch thin film transistor colour display to provide the driver with key information about the car and journey. It’s based on technology which Nissan developed for the Qashqai and X-Trail crossovers and is controlled using dedicated steering wheel buttons.
The sixth generation Polo has the Composition Colour infotainment system which boasts a touch-sensitive 6.5-inch colour display (16.5 cm screen diagonal) and a design that immediately appeals to users of smartphones and tablets. It’s surface is clear and elegant. In addition to two rotary/push-button switches there are six flat menu buttons. Its 2 x 20 watts of audio power is output over four loudspeakers. Along with the FM radio the infotainment system also offers an integrated SD card interface over which music can be played back in MP3 or WMA format. Like the next larger Composition Media system, the Composition Colour is also equipped with a diversity antenna. There are several antennas and signal noise can be filtered out by linking them. A USB interface is offered as an optional extra (Apple compatible) and the touchscreen on this system is pressure sensitive.
The new Micra comes with six airbags as standard plus seat belt warnings and seat belt height adjustment for the front and rear. Isofix child seats are standard in the new Micra including in the front passenger seat. Electronic safety systems include Vehicle Dynamic Control, Anti-locking Braking System, Electronic Brake force Distribution and Hill Start Assist.
As with all other Nissan vehicles the Nissan Micra is covered by Nissan Assured and comes with a 6-year/150,000km warranty, a 3-year/90,000km service plan, and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Nissan Micra Visia: R233, 500
Nissan Micra Acenta: R257, 400
Nissan Micra Acenta Plus R272, 400
Test drive one at William Simpson Newlands or your nearest Nissan Dealership.
The all-new Nissan Micra is a fantastic car to drive with dynamic performance that strikes the perfect balance between agility, excitement, and the secure feeling that comes with confident and predictable handling. There is one engine currently available– the 66kW, 140Nm Turbo-charged petrol engine which delivers both driving pleasure and outstanding practicality. 3 trim levels are also currently available.
Whether it’s darting through traffic in the city or out on the open road the new Nissan Micra is an exceptional car to drive. It’s the perfect blend for today’s Upper B-hatchback customer. But it’s not just great to look at and drive, the new Micra has a best-in-class drag coefficient of just 0.3cd, to maximise fuel efficiency. I was getting a realistic Fuel consumption of about 5.2L/100km in traffic against the claimed 5.0L/100km combined.
The new Micra has a low driving position promoted by the excellent ergonomics of the interior reduces the center of gravity further enhancing the secure driving feel. Responsive and accurate steering comes from a new brushless electric power unit, and provides a high degree of maneuverability, the feedback from the car while cornering is pretty good and I didn’t feel disconnected from the road.
The Micra also has a remarkably quiet cabin making you feel comfortable and more relaxed. This due to the enhanced noise isolation technology engineered into the car and is particularly noticeable during highway driving and around a busy city centre.
When you take all of this and compare it with the 6th generation polo the new Micra is very attractive and it’s cheaper, comes with a better spec as well as a far better warranty and service plan. You may sacrifice slightly on the German feel and finish, but when you put them side by side, I think I’m swaying towards the Micra.
See a comprehensive comparison below.