Nissan Micra diesel test drive review

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Car reviews
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It has been quite some time since Nissan has launched the diesel version of its popular hatch Micra in the Indian market. Ever since the car made its entry, we had been receiving requests for a test drive report of the car and comparisons. So finally after two long months since the launch, we decided it is time to test the car…better late than never…
We had analysed the car in terms of design and features in the previous two reviews (click here to read them), so let us go straight into the performance of the car.
Push the ‘start’ button and the car sprang into life without much of a fuss. It was all calm and composed and the diesel clatter that one would normally associate with diesel cars was missing. The noise insulation of the cabin also seemed pretty good with very less engine noises percolating into the cabin and minimal vibrations, unlike the rather unrefined petrol car.
Depress the throttle and acceleration is decent and linear and does not give you a sudden jerk (gives the feel that it lacks turbo altogether) unlike other diesel cars around. The gear shifting also felt notchy and quite difficult to slot in the gear, the first gear being the only exception. The pedals were also too close together for comfort and were quite difficult to get adjusted to.
The suspension, quite like its petrol sibling, seemed to be too soft for comfort. All minor road inputs were felt, especially on the floor even on highways and takes its own time to settle down after bigger inputs. The situation was even more pathetic on rough roads, The vehicle handling also does not seem on course with good amount of body roll at corners and during overtakings. The steering also feels lifeless (except at centre) and offers minimal feel to the driver of what is happening underneath. The vehicle response to steering inputs during lane changes and overtaking has deteriorated considerably over the petrol variant and feels like eternity before the vehicle takes a decision to respond to driver inputs. It can be quite a pain in the highways trying to show off your driving skills in the car. The only consolation was that the tyres offered sufficient grip and never felt like losing control. But considering the higher body roll and inconsistent steering, it seems highly unlikely that one would be tempted to go that far in a Micra diesel. The brakes were decent, stopping the car in good time and distance, but not exactly in a straight line.
To sum it up, the car simply doesn’t live up to the expectations one would have from a diesel hatch. It lacks in raw power, rides and handles rather poorly and is stripped of features from its equivalent petrol variant despite being a lakh rupees dearer. It may benefit from the relatively long waiting queues outside competition dealerships, and to an extent because of its proclaimed fuel efficiency, but otherwise, Nissan has managed to bring out a product, that would neither be appreciated because of price nor performance nor features. And coupled with the weak dealer and service network of Nissan, spending over 6lakhs for a Micra, simply does not make any sense to any general customer.

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