Nissan Micra RX 2007 Review

Nissan Micra RX 2007 Review

Nissan Micra RX 2007 fq

I thought it’d be amusing (not for me, but for you), that I swapped a 307kW HSV GTS for a 72kW Nissan Micra. My main concern driving to Nissan was that they hadn’t supplied a candy pink one. And they hadn’t: it was little black number concealed behind a Navara ute. Whereas with the GTS you could spot it in a carpark from miles away because its length sticks out, the little Micra is just 3.7m long and easily concealed in a row of cars, so my trepidation wasn’t eased until the last minute.

There are some other stark differences, as you would expect in a car that is $70,000 cheaper: the 1.4-litre engine manages 6.17l/100km as opposed to the six-litre HSV’s 16.7l/100km, but the Micra’s still negotiating the urban speed limit while the HSV is at 100kph. But if you’re in the market for a Micra, you’re not considering a GTS, and vice versa. It’s the difference between a funky alcopop and a pint of whiskey. Both will get you to a different place, but the pint of whiskey does it much quicker.

The Micra is a breeze to drive around the city. It’s nippy to 50kph, easy to manoeuvre and all-round visibility makes it a doddle to park. At motorway speeds, it becomes a little fidgety on its 175/60R15 tyres, but when it’s time to slow down the brakes are exceptional.

I was surprised at the amount of kit that comes with the Micra for a car that’s less than $23,000 dollars. On the safety side it has driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags, ABS, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution and disc brakes at the front, coupled with rigid monocoque construction, front and rear impact absorption zones and side impact door beams.

On the outside, the RX comes with colour coded door handles, roof spoiler and side skirts, and it gets the alloy wheels over the other models’ steel wheels. And you can make a statement, too, with the multitude of garish colours available that includes orange and yellow.

The interior design is mostly thoughtfully laid out. Instruments are easy to read, and controls are within easy reach. However, the size and placement of storage compartments could be improved — many (e.g. the door ones) aren’t quite big enough to be really useful, and there should be a central binnacle that doubles as a driver’s armrest, but there’s not.

Sitting quite upright in the car, it’s a doddle to change the climate control, radio and powered door mirror settings.

The Micra has an intelligent key. Leave the key in your pocket and the Micra detects it’s there, even allowing you to open a locked door by pushing a small rubbery button on the handle. Get in the car, but don’t bother fumbling for the keyhole. You just have to turn the ‘key substitute’ (see the pics), and you’re away. It won’t start if the key’s not close to the car.

The hatchback gives easy access to the boot, and the boot blind keeps everything private. The folding 60/40 split rear seat offers more load lugging capability. Rear seat legroom is cramped with tall front seat occupants, but the seats themselves are comfortable enough and the driver’s adjusts for height as well.

Overall, the Micra is a competent little car, best suited to city driving. With its high level of specification for its price (it even includes automated headlights on/off), frugal engine, and reasonable sized boot, it gives Honda’s Jazz a serious run for its money.

Price: from $22,495

What we like

  • Nippy
  • Excellent brakes
  • Easy to park
  • Fuel economy
  • Excellent level of standard kit

What we don’t like

  • Storage options aren’t class-leading
  • Headlight styling is acquired taste

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

You know a good car when, within the first 100m of driving it, you smile and let out a chuckle. Then I chuckled at myself chuckling and suddenly I was in an infinity loop of chuckling that could only be stopped by opening a rift in the space-time continuum. Fortunately the HSV GTS has all the power you need to do that!

So, before I start chuckling again I thought I’d begin this review with what I don’t like about the GTS, because once that’s out of the way with I can explain why it’s made it onto my favourite drives list. And it’s easy to do: I very much dislike the handbrake lever (I had the same issue with the SV6), and I slightly dislike the steering wheel (it’s nowhere near as nice as FPV’s offering) and the gear change action (which is not as sharp as it should be).

Minor things really, because just about everything else about the GTS is fabulous. Take a look around the outside: I love the slotted brake rotors that are the size of helicopter landing pads. Not only do they look the part behind the 20-inch deep dish alloys, they are fade-resistant and feel like you’re suddenly driving through a patch of glue.

I also like the styling — flared arches, spotlights, E-shaped cooling vents behind the front wheels, a tasteful spoiler blocking the view of the lethargic vehicle you’ve just overtaken, and the tomato soup-colour of our test car. Comforting.

On the inside it’s as good. I tested it out on some people with strong environmental leanings (my partner [Jen] and a friend I mentioned in my review of the Maxima Spec R). According to Jen it’s the nicest car I’ve had (and she likes the colour), and if we had 90 grand to spend she’d be happy to own one. According to our friend, she can ‘see the difference between her car and this one.’ Her car being a 1990 Toyota Corona.

So, a big yes from the petrolhead faction (me), and a slightly less enthusiastic but still significant yes from the tree-lovers. But that’s not reason enough (yet) for you to buy it, so let me explain more.

Press the clutch, turn the key and the engine explodes into life like a tiger on P. Slot it into first, give it some revs, feed in the clutch, then bury the throttle. There’s a physical bombardment of your senses. Acceleration from the six-litre LS2 Generation 4 V8 is brutal as I wrap the rev counter around to 6500 before snatching second, and it’s repeated again, sounding like a WWF wrestler gargling a pint of lava. If you could take it to the Autobahn, you could do this another four times and you’d hit 260+kph. 550Nm and 307kW surge through limited slip differential to the 275/30R20 rear wheels, being reined in by traction control which beeps in alarm as it fights against the laws of physics. I could do this all day, and I’d have extremely strong neck muscles. HSV claim a 4.96-second 0-100 time, but I (and it seems other reviewers) have not been able to get anywhere close to this, all of us posting mid 5 second times (we tried twice and recorded 5.57s on cold tyres, with the rear end squirming all over the place into third gear — it would have been a good 0.2-0.3 quicker had the road had more grip or we had reduced the pressure in the tyres).

Turn the traction control off and the GTS has enough wheelspinning power to set off every smoke detector in the street. This surfeit of grunt over grip would be useless if the GTS didn’t handle, but it does and it’s so controllable. A button on the dash marked ‘Track’ firms up the suspension using Magnetic Ride Control (MRC). MRC activates continuously variable damping using front and rear sensors that monitor each damper piston 100 times a second, reducing body roll.

Naturally, it would be ridiculous of HSV to give you all this power and not have the safety to match. There are dual stage airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags, plus the usual safety acronyms: Electronic Stability Control, Anti-lock Braking System, Traction Control System, Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution, and Active Head Restraints. The GTS monitors the car 30 times a second to detect situations where the car’s prodigious capability might be exceeded by a total nutcase.

On the interior a large screen functions as a reversing display showing whether there’s anything being picked up by the sensors, with areas around the edge of the screen displaying dual climate control settings and stereo presets. The trip computer displays as part of the dials. No rev limit is visible on the rev counter, but it stops at 6500.

If you’ve got $91,990 to spend there is a plethora of options from other manufacturers. But you’re going to buy the GTS because a little bit of you wants to know what it feels like to be a V8 Supercar driver. It’s HSV’s 301 modifications that turn a standard V8 Commodore into the closest you’ll get to Skaife’s office. It’s a travelling neck muscle exerciser. It makes me smile, and that’s the important thing.

Price: from $91,990 (manual), $92,990 (auto)

What we like:

  • Noise
  • Interior
  • Styling
  • Power
  • Handling
  • ‘Chuckle factor’

What we don’t like:

  • Handbrake lever
  • Spongy gearshift
  • Steering wheel could be nicer
  • Buy shares in a petrol company

Words Darren Cottingham, photos Sean Craig and Quinn Hamill

Nissan Micra RX 2007 fq

I thought it’d be amusing (not for me, but for you), that I swapped a 307kW HSV GTS for a 72kW Nissan Micra. My main concern driving to Nissan was that they hadn’t supplied a candy pink one. And they hadn’t: it was little black number concealed behind a Navara ute. Whereas with the GTS you could spot it in a carpark from miles away because its length sticks out, the little Micra is just 3.7m long and easily concealed in a row of cars, so my trepidation wasn’t eased until the last minute.

There are some other stark differences, as you would expect in a car that is $70,000 cheaper: the 1.4-litre engine manages 6.17l/100km as opposed to the six-litre HSV’s 16.7l/100km, but the Micra’s still negotiating the urban speed limit while the HSV is at 100kph. But if you’re in the market for a Micra, you’re not considering a GTS, and vice versa. It’s the difference between a funky alcopop and a pint of whiskey. Both will get you to a different place, but the pint of whiskey does it much quicker.

The Micra is a breeze to drive around the city. It’s nippy to 50kph, easy to manoeuvre and all-round visibility makes it a doddle to park. At motorway speeds, it becomes a little fidgety on its 175/60R15 tyres, but when it’s time to slow down the brakes are exceptional.

I was surprised at the amount of kit that comes with the Micra for a car that’s less than $23,000 dollars. On the safety side it has driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags, ABS, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution and disc brakes at the front, coupled with rigid monocoque construction, front and rear impact absorption zones and side impact door beams.

On the outside, the RX comes with colour coded door handles, roof spoiler and side skirts, and it gets the alloy wheels over the other models’ steel wheels. And you can make a statement, too, with the multitude of garish colours available that includes orange and yellow.

The interior design is mostly thoughtfully laid out. Instruments are easy to read, and controls are within easy reach. However, the size and placement of storage compartments could be improved — many (e.g. the door ones) aren’t quite big enough to be really useful, and there should be a central binnacle that doubles as a driver’s armrest, but there’s not.

Sitting quite upright in the car, it’s a doddle to change the climate control, radio and powered door mirror settings.

The Micra has an intelligent key. Leave the key in your pocket and the Micra detects it’s there, even allowing you to open a locked door by pushing a small rubbery button on the handle. Get in the car, but don’t bother fumbling for the keyhole. You just have to turn the ‘key substitute’ (see the pics), and you’re away. It won’t start if the key’s not close to the car.

The hatchback gives easy access to the boot, and the boot blind keeps everything private. The folding 60/40 split rear seat offers more load lugging capability. Rear seat legroom is cramped with tall front seat occupants, but the seats themselves are comfortable enough and the driver’s adjusts for height as well.

Overall, the Micra is a competent little car, best suited to city driving. With its high level of specification for its price (it even includes automated headlights on/off), frugal engine, and reasonable sized boot, it gives Honda’s Jazz a serious run for its money.

Price: from $22,495

What we like

  • Nippy
  • Excellent brakes
  • Easy to park
  • Fuel economy
  • Excellent level of standard kit

What we don’t like

  • Storage options aren’t class-leading
  • Headlight styling is acquired taste

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

You know a good car when, within the first 100m of driving it, you smile and let out a chuckle. Then I chuckled at myself chuckling and suddenly I was in an infinity loop of chuckling that could only be stopped by opening a rift in the space-time continuum. Fortunately the HSV GTS has all the power you need to do that!

So, before I start chuckling again I thought I’d begin this review with what I don’t like about the GTS, because once that’s out of the way with I can explain why it’s made it onto my favourite drives list. And it’s easy to do: I very much dislike the handbrake lever (I had the same issue with the SV6), and I slightly dislike the steering wheel (it’s nowhere near as nice as FPV’s offering) and the gear change action (which is not as sharp as it should be).

Minor things really, because just about everything else about the GTS is fabulous. Take a look around the outside: I love the slotted brake rotors that are the size of helicopter landing pads. Not only do they look the part behind the 20-inch deep dish alloys, they are fade-resistant and feel like you’re suddenly driving through a patch of glue.

I also like the styling — flared arches, spotlights, E-shaped cooling vents behind the front wheels, a tasteful spoiler blocking the view of the lethargic vehicle you’ve just overtaken, and the tomato soup-colour of our test car. Comforting.

On the inside it’s as good. I tested it out on some people with strong environmental leanings (my partner [Jen] and a friend I mentioned in my review of the Maxima Spec R). According to Jen it’s the nicest car I’ve had (and she likes the colour), and if we had 90 grand to spend she’d be happy to own one. According to our friend, she can ‘see the difference between her car and this one.’ Her car being a 1990 Toyota Corona.

So, a big yes from the petrolhead faction (me), and a slightly less enthusiastic but still significant yes from the tree-lovers. But that’s not reason enough (yet) for you to buy it, so let me explain more.

Press the clutch, turn the key and the engine explodes into life like a tiger on P. Slot it into first, give it some revs, feed in the clutch, then bury the throttle. There’s a physical bombardment of your senses. Acceleration from the six-litre LS2 Generation 4 V8 is brutal as I wrap the rev counter around to 6500 before snatching second, and it’s repeated again, sounding like a WWF wrestler gargling a pint of lava. If you could take it to the Autobahn, you could do this another four times and you’d hit 260+kph. 550Nm and 307kW surge through limited slip differential to the 275/30R20 rear wheels, being reined in by traction control which beeps in alarm as it fights against the laws of physics. I could do this all day, and I’d have extremely strong neck muscles. HSV claim a 4.96-second 0-100 time, but I (and it seems other reviewers) have not been able to get anywhere close to this, all of us posting mid 5 second times (we tried twice and recorded 5.57s on cold tyres, with the rear end squirming all over the place into third gear — it would have been a good 0.2-0.3 quicker had the road had more grip or we had reduced the pressure in the tyres).

Turn the traction control off and the GTS has enough wheelspinning power to set off every smoke detector in the street. This surfeit of grunt over grip would be useless if the GTS didn’t handle, but it does and it’s so controllable. A button on the dash marked ‘Track’ firms up the suspension using Magnetic Ride Control (MRC). MRC activates continuously variable damping using front and rear sensors that monitor each damper piston 100 times a second, reducing body roll.

Naturally, it would be ridiculous of HSV to give you all this power and not have the safety to match. There are dual stage airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags, plus the usual safety acronyms: Electronic Stability Control, Anti-lock Braking System, Traction Control System, Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution, and Active Head Restraints. The GTS monitors the car 30 times a second to detect situations where the car’s prodigious capability might be exceeded by a total nutcase.

On the interior a large screen functions as a reversing display showing whether there’s anything being picked up by the sensors, with areas around the edge of the screen displaying dual climate control settings and stereo presets. The trip computer displays as part of the dials. No rev limit is visible on the rev counter, but it stops at 6500.

If you’ve got $91,990 to spend there is a plethora of options from other manufacturers. But you’re going to buy the GTS because a little bit of you wants to know what it feels like to be a V8 Supercar driver. It’s HSV’s 301 modifications that turn a standard V8 Commodore into the closest you’ll get to Skaife’s office. It’s a travelling neck muscle exerciser. It makes me smile, and that’s the important thing.

Price: from $91,990 (manual), $92,990 (auto)

What we like:

  • Noise
  • Interior
  • Styling
  • Power
  • Handling
  • ‘Chuckle factor’

What we don’t like:

  • Handbrake lever
  • Spongy gearshift
  • Steering wheel could be nicer
  • Buy shares in a petrol company

Words Darren Cottingham, photos Sean Craig and Quinn Hamill

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