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REVIEW: 2015 NISSAN MICRA SV-Who says cheap can't be good?

2015 Nissan Micra SV

PRICE: $14,698
ENGINE: 1.6 litre 4 cylinder
POWER/TORQUE: 109 hp/107 lb. ft. of torque
FUEL CONSUMPTION (REGULAR): 8.6L/100 km highway, 6.6L/city.
COMPETITION: Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Spark, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mazda2
WHAT?S BEST: A lot of value for the money
WHAT?S WORST: No available navigation system
WHAT?S INTERESTING: The Nissan Micra will not be sold in the United States

Cheerful little car returns to Canada with lowest price in the market

It?s not very often that a car reviewer merits being featured on a national news program. But that?s exactly what happened recently when John Pearley Huffman of the New York Times wrote a scathing ? and hilarious ? piece on the Mitsubishi Mirage.

His subsequent appearance on CNBC to discuss both the review and the car unleashed a maelstrom of differing opinions across the world of social media. Why was this news?

Was it, as CNBC implied, that auto writers have become inherently dishonest due to the nature of their close relationships with automakers? Or has the industry evolved to the point that really bad cars have become few and far between?

?Some industry pundits like to claim that nowadays, there?s no such thing as a bad car,? said Consumer Report?s Tom Mutchler. ?We really beg to differ.?

Calling the Mirage the ?worst handling car? they?d driven in years, CR referred to the car?s handling as almost ?scary? on twisty roads.

Some lambasted Huffman for his elitist attitude, declaring it demeaning towards the Mirage?s targeted segment that may not have the luxury of choice.

Others, myself included, disagreed. If anything, it?s more insulting to suggest folks on a budget don?t deserve better, that the Mirage is nothing less than what a cheap car should be. Who says cheap has to be depressing?

Case in point: the 2015 Nissan Micra.

After a 22-year hiatus, Nissan?s little subcompact hatch returns to Canada with the lowest sticker price in our market.

With a base price of $9,998, the Micra may be the most inexpensive new car Canadians can buy ? but don?t call it cheap. Although it costs about the same as a decent used car, the Micra offers big value for its low price.

The bottom line buy-in refers, of course, to a base S model stripper with manual transmission, roll-down windows, and no air. Much like every daily beater I?ve ever driven.

My test model, a mid-range SV likely to be the top-selling trim level, features power locks and windows, a four-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, Bluetooth and a cute little 4.3-inch display screen with backup camera for $14,698.

There?s an available sporty SR model, boasting 16-inch machined alloy rims, side skirts and a jaunty rear spoiler ? but it only adds some show and not an ounce of go. Optioned with the automatic transmission, it?s $16,748.

Strangely, not even the range-topping model is available with navigation nor leather upholstery. Heck, even the dreary Mirage offers navigation.

Although it resembles a shrunken Versa, and indeed shares its platform, the Micra?s design works better on this pert little scaled-down hatchback. So compact does the Micra appear, that the second set of doors are almost overlooked ? yet add greatly to its utility and ease of entry.

Interior of the 2015 Nissan Micra

  • REVIEW: 2015 NISSAN MICRA SV-Who says cheap can't be good?
  • REVIEW: 2015 NISSAN MICRA SV-Who says cheap can't be good?
  • REVIEW: 2015 NISSAN MICRA SV-Who says cheap can't be good?