Nissan Micra.
Nissan Micra. Contributed

Micra cut-price with high safety

AIMED squarely at buyers of the Suzuki Alto and Holden's recently released Barina Spark, Nissan's newest offering will follow its competitors in offering a cut-price car with high levels of safety equipment as standard.

The entry-level Micra starts from $12,990 (plus on-road and dealer costs) and is powered by a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine that produces 56kW of power and 100Nm of torque. It offers six airbags as standard.

Unlike Holden's $12,490 Barina Spark, the Micra will be available with an optional four-speed automatic transmission (priced at $2000). A five-speed manual is standard.

Fuel consumption for the base-model ST isn't quite as eye-catching as the ultra-frugal Suzuki Alto (which sips a claimed average of just 4.7 litres of unleaded petrol per 100 kilometres), with the Micra averaging a claim of 5.9L/100km in its manual incarnation (6.5L/100km for the auto). There'll also be two better-equipped models, the ST-L (priced from $14,990) and Ti ($16,990), both of which are powered by a 75kW/136Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine. Fuel consumption is 6.5L/100km for the manual and 6.6L/100km for the auto.

The diminutive Micra measures up at just 3.78 metres in length and 1.66 metres in width and weighs less than 1000 kilograms in all guises.

All models come with air-conditioning, Bluetooth compatibility, MP3 auxiliary input, steering-wheel audio controls, a multifunction trip computer, electric windows (front only for the ST), power mirrors and a tacho.

The ST-L comes with rear power windows, auto-off headlights and bigger 15-inch wheels (ST is fitted with 14s). The Ti further differentiates itself with 15-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles, electric folding door mirrors, reversing sensors, climate-control air-conditioning and smart key.

The Micra will be available in a range of 10 bright colours but with an added cost for metallic paint.

Nissan says the Micra is aimed at a range of buyers, including those looking for their first car, those looking for a second car and even more senior buyers looking for a cut-price alternative.

The chief executive of Nissan Australia, Dan Thompson, says he thinks the Micra is packed with enough value to shake up the city car segment and he told Drive at the Sydney motor show that the company expects to sell 18,000 Micras a year.

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