I've got a 2015 Nissan Micra 1.6 for a week. Anything you want to know about it?
Nissan Canada has loaned me a new Micra for a week.
This is a "global car" like the Mirage, sold in 160+ countries. Sales began in May, marking the return of the car which was last sold here in the early 90's.
The Micra is the Mirage's most serious competitor in Canada -- similar size, similar pricing, similar "value" marketing angle. Actually, Nissan's pricing announcement was a bit of a bombshell: MSRP is $9,998 to start (plus delivery, fees & taxes etc.), which undercut the previous cheapest car by a significant amount (the $11,498 Chevy Spark).
Nissan starts a price war
Mitsubishi isn't taking this sitting down. They responded with a massive $2500 rebate on the base Mirage to match the Micra's $9998 starting price and more advertising. Hyundai has also responded with big rebates on its Accent to bring it down to the $10.5k level.
A Nissan rep told me the last time we had a $10k price war (last decade) it raised sales of all the participants. That seems to be the case for Mitsu, which had its second highest sales last month. Still, Nissan sold twice as many Micras.
Opposite ends of the spectrum
Unfortunately we've got a bit of an apples to oranges situation here: the Mirage that Mitsu Canada loaned me last month was the base, 5-speed model. The Micra I've got is the top of the line loaded automatic, with a $16,748 sticker price (over $20k out the door, after delivery, fees & taxes). I asked for a manual shift, but they said this was the only car available in my area.
The Micra shares its platform & drivetrain with the Versa sedan & Note hatchback:
Engine: 1.6L, 109hp, 4-cylinder
Other countries get a choice of more efficient 1.2L 3-cylinders (one naturally aspirated, one supercharged), but not here. It's a question of economics: parts sharing keeps costs down.
Transmission: 5-speed manual, or a 4-speed slushbox (not a CVT, as in the Note).
It's interesting they didn't offer a CVT because the Note uses the same Jatco CVT7 as the Mirage. GM even dropped the same CVT in the Spark to raise its fuel economy for 2014, giving up their 4-speed slushbox.
Curb weight: it's up there, at 1044 kg (2302 lbs) for the manual and 1072 (2363) for the automatic. That puts it right in the middle of the field of small cars.
Fuel economy: not surprisingly, the weight and 1.6 make it much thirstier than the Mirage. Ratings:
* Combined = 55% city, 45% highway
||8.6 L/100 km
27.4 mpg (US)
33 mpg (Imp.)
||8.8 L/100 km
26.7 mpg (US)
32 mpg (Imp.)
That's a huge difference from the Mirage. It's the Micra's biggest problem, in my opinion (being the fuel economy nerd I am). As Canoehead pointed out, even without Mitsu's big rebate, a Mirage's lower operating costs will put it ahead in total cost of ownership (assuming you keep the car more than a few years).
Of course, driven carefully, it's easy to beat the ratings by a good margin. Drive it "normally" and you'll probably still beat them.
Behind the wheel, first impressions:
Frankly, Mitsu needs to get a Micra and copy its steering & suspension. It's that much better.
The steering is direct, the ratio is quicker, and it doesn't have the strangely weak self-centering of the Mirage. Yet it has the amost identical super tight turning radius.
The wheels & tires help too: 185/55R16's on the SR model (185/60R15's on the lower trims).
Suspension/body control is also better. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard (Canada's the only country that gets both), and it corners much flatter than the Mirage. Composure in left-right transitions raises zero disapproving eyebrows. It's no go-kart, but you will enjoy more highway ramps and twisty roads in a Micra.
If you value "fun to drive" (which admittedly most car buyers don't care much about), you would pick the Micra in a heartbeat, all else being equal.
Yet it still soaks up bumps and rides well enough for a little car (its heft helps there). The ride isn't as compliant as the Mirage's, but I'd give up a bit of the Mirage's Cadillac ride in a heartbeat for better body control.
Anything you want to know?
I've got the car until next weekend. I'll be taking more pics, taking notes & tracking fuel consumption.
If you've got any questions, fire away.
View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)