YOU can’t blame people for wanting to get the biggest and best they can get from their lease deal, but in more austere times and with pressure to reduce emissions and fuel consumption in cities, there are increasing reasons to downsize – something smaller but with big ideas maybe?
With an eye particularly on SMEs, Nissan believes there is a chance to tip the balance more in favour of corporate sales with its new Micra, launched earlier this year and which has already sold 8,000 models in the UK. So here are 10 reasons for leasing the new Micra.
- It’s as close to British as you can get these days: designed and developed at Nissan Design Europe in London and engineered at the Cranfield Technical Centre (although it is no longer built in Sunderland, but at Renault’s Flins plant near Paris). The carmaker said the fifth generation Micra has been targeted specifically at European drivers.
- Launched in the UK last March, how do buyers currently rate the Micra on ReeVoo? Nine out of ten which is slightly key better than an impressive European average of 8.8.
- Looks: it’s the Micra’s new sporty, dynamic appearance which has appealed to the latest owners. Gone is the old boxy ‘fogey’ design making way for a more stylish exterior. Longer, wider, lower, it features a floating roof with spoiler and hidden rear door handles. The car is already appealing to more male drivers – 48%, up from 39% – while the average age has come down from 59 to 55.
- Personalisation: There are more than 100 combinations of exterior colours and inserts as well as interior trims to choose for your next lease car. Nissan said that across Europe, 30% of customers personalise their Micras and spend around £350 doing so.
- Engine options feature the latest addition, a nifty 1-litre naturally aspirated 70hp, 3-cylinder petrol engine joining the 0.9 turbo petrol and 1.5-litre diesel. Starting at £11,995 this is expected to take around 25-30% of the mix. It’s linked to a five-speed manual transmission resulting in official combined cycle fuel economy of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 103g/km when running on 15 or 16-inch wheels. Around a year from now there will be a high power 120hp petrol engine in a performance model complete with black exterior finishes, carbon print effect inserts and an Alcantara leather interior. Also next year a CVT auto transmission for petrol models.
- Bose sound system. A first in a B segment (supermini) car, a six-speaker system, including two 6-inch speakers mounted in the driver headrest, specifically engineered for the Micra by Bose. This really does produce a stunning sound and comes as standard on the top spec Tekna Models, a £500 option on mid-range Acenta and N-Connecta versions, although not available on entry Visia and Visia Plus. A fantastic sound system to lighten the commute or business trip for company car drivers.
- An impressive new interior with an upmarket look and feel with a lot more use of soft materials in the front cabin. This will actually make you feel as if you are in something a little bit more upscale. Levels of refinement and the highest perceived quality were a top priority and expressed through the use of two-tone and soft-touch materials as standard on every grade of Micra. Premium detailing includes the D-shaped multi-function steering wheel – also standard equipment – and chrome finishing on the door handles and air vents.
- Big ideas – big technology: There are a number of ‘in-control’ features – the sort usually associated with more expensive models. Not only are they new to the Micra, they’re new to the segment. These include Intelligent Lane Intervention, Nissan’s acclaimed Intelligent Around View Monitor camera system – as seen on the Qashqai and Juke crossovers – Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist and Blind Spot Warning.
- Boot capacity is a competitive 300 litres, and delivered without compromising on rear passenger knee room. That figure expands to 1,004 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded down. There are a number of smart storage spaces and larger items can be placed in the centre console ahead of the gear selector. It offers flat storage for a phone, and includes ambient lighting plus USB and 12v sockets.
- Finally, what is the Micra is like to drive? The first thing that hits you is that this is a real step change for what has, in the past, been a fairly dull small car offering from Nissan. As well as the looks there is a real quality feel to the build and the interior.
If you’re considering leasing the new Nissan Micra, check out the latest engine, which is the 1-litre 3-cylinder, a nice responsive unit which gives off the characteristic three-pot growl but runs out of puff fairly quickly under hard acceleration, but, hey, this is a car for the urban roads not a tarmac burner.
That said the new Micra sits happily at motorway speeds without any obtrusive noise. What noise there is you can always drown out with the Bose sound system which is more than capable of splitting an eardrum or two.
Inside, the seating position has been lowered which not only provides more headroom but adds to the more sporty aura which surrounds the latest generation. We like the increased use of softer materials around the dashboard area – softer being the operative word, it’s not plush soft. Intrumentation is neat and easy to read and there are, as mentioned, plenty of big car technologies to make life on board easier.
As much as it feels like a larger car, there is no escaping the fact that this is a B-segment supermini model and in corporate terms, size often matters and that’s where Nissan has a job to do – persuading SMEs and corporate buyers that the Micra can do a serious job for them.
But you’ve read our 10 reasons to lease the Micra – in the age of downsizing, the Micra packs a big punch.