JOHANNESBURG - Nissan has expanded its Micra range in South Africa with a more powerful (and much-needed) 1-litre turbo engine derivative.

The new power plant doesn’t replace the current 66kW, 140Nm, 900cc three-cylinder turbopetrol engine, which continues to be offered at the lower end of the range in Visia (R252 800), Acenta (R279 400) and Acenta Plus (R295 400) spec grades.

The new 1-litre DIG-T engine, which is good for 86kW and 180Nm, is available in Acenta Plus (R305 900), Tekna (R326 300) and Tekna Plus (R336 900) guises, and in the former case it commands a R10 000 premium over the 66kW version, which is worth it.

To drive

The new 1.0 DIG-T engine is more sophisticated in many respects, boasting direct fuel injection, with injectors mounted centrally in the combustion chamber to create a more targeted fuel-spray pattern.

The motor is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, while the 66kW versions continue with a five-speed manual. There is no plan to introduce an automatic transmission variant.

Most importantly, the latest Micra doesn’t stall as easily as the old car and there are fewer instances of it being caught off-boost. You still have to rev it out to make haste, but overall, the driving experience is superior to the 66kW experience.

Well appointed

In spec terms, the 66kW Visia kicks off the range with all the basic comforts, including manual aircon, a basic two-speaker sound system with Bluetooth, cruise control, six airbags and Vehicle Dynamic Control.

The Acenta adds 16-inch alloy wheels as well as a 17.8cm touchscreen audio system with CarPlay/Android Auto, among other additions.

Acenta Plus, which is the lowest spec grade available with the new 84kW engine, puts a plus sign next to snazzier 17-inch alloy wheels as well as an Energy Orange interior pack (with certain colours) and a leather-covered steering wheel.

The Tekna adds a Bose Personal audio system with additional speakers mounted in the headrests, Around View Monitor, Blind Spot Warning, push-button start, sports suspension and chrome exhaust tip.

At the top of the line-up, the Tekna Plus gains leather seats (heated upfront) as well as an “Invigorating Red” interior package. Henry Ford would be proud of the colour scheme as the Tekna Plus is available only in Enigma Black.

All Nissan Micras ship with a six-year/150 000km warranty and three-year/90 000km service plan.

Drive360