Paris - Nissan has announced two new engines and connectivity upgrades for its French-built Micra hatchback.
And no, this is not a facelift of any kind - it’s way too early for that and we’ll certainly argue that the striking little hatch doesn’t need one quite yet - but the Clio-based Micra was launched before the new generation of engines and infotainment was ready so now it’s simply getting those upgrades.
Nissan South Africa has also confirmed that local Micras will get new engines during the course of this year, and although it hasn’t confirmed exactly which engines are planned, the new 1-litre IG-T is likely to take over as the main engine in the range.
The 1.0 IG-T three-cylinder petrol, with electric turbo actuators for better response, takes over from the previous 0.9-litre motor, and the same changeover is likely to apply to the new Clio that’s due to be revealed today.
The new engine’s a bit brawnier too, with outputs rising to 74kW and 160Nm (from 66kW/140Nm). This engine can be mated to either a revised five-speed manual gearbox or Xtronic continuously variable (CVT) gearbox, in which case the torque output is restricted to 144Nm.
The new engine is sure to give the Micra the boost it needs in this end of the market, as the laggy 0.9T engine struggled against rivals like the Polo and Fiesta, which have turbo engines with better elasticity.
Perkier version with direct injection
But Micra has yet another trick up its sleeve in the form of a new 1-litre DIG-T engine, which it says is a completely different engine, and one that’s more closely related to the new 1.3-litre four-cylinder unit that was co-developed with Mercedes-Benz. In fact it appears to be the same engine with one less cylinder - hence more cost efficient to produce on a modular assembly line.
For starters, the 1.0 DIG-T has direct fuel injection, hence the ‘D’ in its name, with injectors mounted centrally in the combustion chamber to create a more targeted fuel spray pattern.
But most importantly, it is more powerful than its counterpart with conventional fuel injection, the DIG-T pushing 86kW and 180Nm, with an additional 20Nm available on overboost.
All of that makes for a one-second advantage from 0-100km/h, the DIG-T taking 9.9 seconds and the IG-T 10.9 seconds, according to Nissan.
The DIG-T also features a six-speed manual gearbox and revised suspension tuning - these cars also sitting 10mm closer to the ground.
A 'sports' trim to match
Nissan has furthermore come up with a trim grade called N-Sport that perfectly complements the sportier engine - although it is available with both 1.0T engine options.
This sportier trim gets a carbon-style finish on the alloy wheels and mirror caps, as well as gloss black side mouldings and bumper trims and N-Sport badging, while the cabin is perked up with Alcantara seats, black headlining, unique floor mats, while air vents and a reverse camera.
As a further spec upgrade, European market Micras are now available with the new NissanConnect 17.8cm touchscreen infotainment system, said to offer “significantly enhanced functionality” and featuring a customisable home screen, single line search and new features like ‘Find My Car’.
Owners can now download a new app called Door to Door Navigation, which allows them to plan a route on their phone before leaving the office or home.
What’s more, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard from the Acenta grade upwards.
We’ll update you with local information when it becomes available nearer to launch.