First drive: 2012 Nissan Micra in the UAE

First drive: 2012 Nissan Micra in the UAE


When we were hanging out at the 2012 Nissan Micra’s GCC launch in the UAE, we heard that almost every British expat has had seat-time in its predecessors dating back to the 1980s, sort of like how everyone here has some experience with the Toyota Yaris. It is interesting then, that Nissan chose to finally launch the fourth generation in the Middle East to do battle with, what else, the Toyota Yaris.

Launched with much fanfare to the media at the Burj Khalifa, including a superb concert with regional celebrity Nancy Ajram herself singing her heart out, the new Micra is anything but glamourous. Rather, it is being targeted at the “youth” market, with inoffensive styling and palette of funky colours. Hard to imagine I was a “youth” just five years ago, but I can’t remember shopping for little lime-green or orange cars.

Based on the new Sunny platform, it is Nissan’s cheapest car, built to international standards at their plant in India. But it isn’t really a Sunny hatchback, because the wheelbase was chopped by 150 mm, giving it more of a “regular-sized” sub-compact interior, rather than the ridiculously-enormous cabin of the Sunny. Still, space is pretty good all-round, even for six-footers.

The cabin is all hard plastic of various basic textures, with cloth door inserts and one right-side padded armrest for the driver only. There are two glove-boxes, three cup-holders, big front-door pockets and fold-down split rear seats that can also flip forward. Features, at least in our top-spec test car, included a basic CD/MP3 stereo, AUX port, auto-fold side mirrors, smart keyless entry and start, strong manual a/c, dual front airbags, trip computer, fog lamps and four power windows. It’s a decent set of features, although the pricier Toyota Yaris throws in Bluetooth and a USB port as standard, while they’re not even available here.

The Micra does one-up the Yaris on the performance front though. Packing a larger 1.5-litre 99 hp engine, mated to a 4-speed automatic, it should be able to out-muscle the Toyota. But the Micra still isn’t a quick car by any means, with the engine revving hard on overtaking moves or just about any time a burst of acceleration is needed.

Where the Micra shines is in actual driving refinement, as we found out on a brief media drive. It offers sharp nicely-weighted steering, meaty brake-pedal feel and taut suspension, everything you’d need to hustle this car around tight corners fast. It can readily outhandle a Chevy Sonic while giving the Yaris a run for its money.

And somehow Nissan has managed to keep it comfortable too, as it rides smoothly over most road surfaces, including on that stupid brick road outside the Atlantis hotel. Road noise and ambient traffic noises are noticeable though, but generally we were content with the driving feel of the car in the city.

With a starting price of Dhs 44,500 in the UAE, Nissan has a solid contender on its hands with the Micra. If its styling and origins aren’t an issue for you, and you don’t care for connectivity, we’d heartily recommend this car to you over any other hatchback in its class. For non-techies, it comes out as being cheaper than the Toyota Yaris, it drives better than the Chevy Sonic, and with standard dual airbags and ABS with EBD, it offers more standard safety than the Hyundai Accent. Of course, if you’re a non-techie, you’re probably not a “youth” either.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. GOD .. Only looking at this piece of junk makes me angry ..

  2. Well !! It reminds me of old days back in U.K when i had it and one of the best compact selling car there. Only negative that definetly it will struggle on U.A.E roads.

  3. The prices from the Micra are starting from 45750, 49000, 53500 to 57000. The Sunny from 47000, 50500, 53750 to 58000. So almost no difference. So we should choose for the Micra or choose for the Sunny?
    Just came from Rostamani with a quotation. Serious interested to buy Micra or Sunny, although we are just with 2 persons in our family. What would be your advice??

  4. Might be good for Europe countries…
    for UAE…. naaa

  5. I dont like the styling at all.. It looks dated and not that interesting.. The previous micra looks more original.

  6. The price is almost the same as the Nissan Sunny. Hmm so the Nissan Sunny is upgraded to a higher market now?

    Before it was Sunny vs Yaris
    Now its Micra vs Yaris

    So Sunny vs ???

    • Sunny vs Corolla…(i think)
      but corolla beats it with the engine performance and interior features..

    • Its always Sunny vs Corolla in past so still the same!! but now for Yaris vs Micra..

    • It is this way around
      Micra vs Yaris HB
      Sunny vs Yaris Sedan
      All new Tiida 2013 vs Corolla

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      ^Correct

    • sunny is versa and versa is tiida. which means sunny vs corolla..

      and it has always been like that as far as i thing coz 2011 sunny which we were getting here was for asian market only to target cheaper buyers. but now as far as i think nissan has combined sunny and tiida as one in asian market as well.. coz what i believed versa replaces sunny where as we were getting both models.

    • lemme get u guys clear

      BEFORE IT WAS

      TIDA VS YARIS NOW ITS
      MICRA VS YARIS
      SUNNY VS COROLLA

      SO TIDA IS LEFT YAPPING LOLZ

  7. Is the Sunny hatchback offered here?

  8. yes it is the Nissan Micra aka Sunny Hatch

  9. 44,000 for this ugly junk?… kia rio better

  10. why paying 47K for this non attractive design while you can buy a KIA Picanto for 35K which looks better

  11. Well,All small cars which looks exactley like this is used for short journey

    i hope we will see a real good car built and preformance too from India
    Hyundai i10,suzuki celerio and now nissan micra

    we would like to see (and i mean it) a cars like Accord,Camry,Altima rangs made by india – Except Sunny

  12. i test drove a sunny and micra last night i have a 2012 maxima and need soomething quiet small to get around city as maxima is just a pain in Dubai! and is over powerd for city the car is no justice if your gona drive 20km each way in traafic.

    micra verdict

    very nice handling real good power to weight ratio yes road noise is there but you can get better tires handling is very confident and is just plain awsome to park n run around

    sunny verdict awsomly big inside can make 6 foot+ people look fine in a car has handling is decent braking is ok over all long term will be ok

    now negatives

    micra bit small at back with a kid trunk is punny barley enough to put a stroller and run to super market

    sunny too heavy for engine u need to always keep pedal half way down even to maintain any good up keep

    what needs imporvments

    both cars can benefit from CVT as it takes out every ounce of torque from engines as my exp with maxima is amazing i just love the darn thing and when i want to fly and feel i am flying just slip into DS mode and you get your 6 speed rocket….else D more is 99% fine!!

  13. how much price car Nissian Micra 2012

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