REVIEW | 2019 Nissan Micra Acenta Plus Tech is packed with toys
Is the most luxurious Micra really the one to have? Brenwin Naidu finds out
Automotive joint ventures make for interesting comparisons. The core ingredients might be shared, but the resulting recipes and overall executions are entirely different. Invariably, this leads to debates among commentators as to who did it best. The most recent of such discussions transpired following the local launch of the Toyota Supra, whose kinship with the G29 BMW Z4 is well documented. An ultimately frivolous contrast, if you ask me. Either panders to different demographics and the person shopping for the one is unlikely to have considered the other in the first place.
Having said that, I will expound by putting this on record. The additional rigidity and marginally lighter concoction proffered by the Japanese car with the fixed ceiling left more of a lasting impression.
And it was the Japanese interpretation between a pair of chic B-segment hatchbacks that had my vote after a recent test drive. The Nissan Micra and Renault Clio are based on the same platforms. The French car came to market in 2013, while the product from the Land of the Rising Sun dawdled onto the local scene only last year.
They must have used that time effectively, to analyse and rectify the shortcomings of the Gaelic connection. And to leverage off its existing strengths. Nissan recently availed the Micra to us for a week in its most lavishly equipped specification: the Acenta Plus Tech. According to its custodians, it features the type of amenities expected from high-end, premium offerings on loftier categories.
And when you look at the lists of goodies, you can agree. Allow us to list the highlights. First up is an infotainment system compatible with AndroidAuto and Apple CarPlay.
So said the technical release from Nissan: “The car comes with a dedicated Siri button on the steering wheel so you can get her to do things, like send an update to your followers, without picking up your phone.”
This was a function I overlooked, much to the dismay of the 230 real and robotic souls keeping tabs on my Instagram exploits. Moving along. An around-view monitor helps with parking, a radar detects and warns of wayward objects while on the move, and blind spot warning takes the guesswork out where outward views might be slightly obscured.
Semi-autonomous braking also intervenes should you not react timeously to a hazard ahead. This is in addition to the default kit included across the board: daytime running lights, six airbags, cruise control and automatic headlights.
An aspect that stood out was how tidy and self-assured the Micra felt on the road. It seemed more planted and better insulated than its cousin. You will find the same 900cc, boosted, three-cylinder (66kW and 140Nm) paired with an easy-shifting, five-speed manual. That makes for sprightly performance. Those 17-inch wheels give the Micra a more substantial footprint.
The quality of the interior, meanwhile, is markedly superior with its soft surfaces – and while there are harder plastics too, they are of an inoffensive nature. The so-called Energy Orange interior accents added a joyous feel to proceedings. Plush leather clads the steering wheel, a touch that did a great deal for the positive perceptions of high tactile quality.
There is a varied assortment of choice in this category of highbrow B-segment cars. And the Micra is a praiseworthy contribution. Although I am not convinced that the pricey Acenta Plus Tech, loaded though it is, would be the pick of the litter. Compared to the asking price of R305,900, the regular, middle-grade Acenta for R273,900 would probably make you just as happy.