I test drove a Nissan Micra yesterday in the base “S” trim which means a 5 speed manual, manual windows, manual mirrors and no AC. This thing is basic. So basic in fact, that it felt like I was driving a car either from the mid 1990's or from the Indian/Asian market. This is a refreshed 4th Gen Micra (K13). My wife can’t drive stick, so she will have to learn, but did drive an automatic and liked the size and feel.
More on why we suddenly need a 4th car (holy crap!) can be found here:
Specs that matter: 1.6L engine, 109HP, 107 ft/lbs, 4 wheels and cheap as hell.
Sold in 160+ countries other than America, this particular model is for the Canadian market. But, when I say Canadian, I really mean Québec. Most Canadians have buying/driving habits that mirror America. Québec on the other hand, prefers hatchbacks and manuals more than the English speaking provinces. The Canadian market Micra gets wider wheels (barely), upgraded sway bars and is the only Micra that has folding rear seats! This is because Nissan basically googled “Canadian Stereotype” and determined it had to fit a hockey bag to have any chance in hell here.
There is a dealer in BC with 15 base model manuals in their inventory selling them for $8,888 which is below MSRP. For Americans to compare: a base Fiesta is double that at $16,5680 MSRP and a Mitsubishi Mirage is $10,998 base MSRP.
I only drove it for about a mile, maybe less. The 1.6L engine putting out 109hp is quite loud in this car, probably due to the combined fact of the cheap plastic/lack of sound deadening and that the engine is about a foot away from your knee. The clutch is light and has short travel, the gearbox is kinda vauge with a very retro feel. Steering is pretty good and the car actually handles pretty well due to Canadian market unique upgraded sway bars. Turning radius is literally a dime.
Did I mention how cheap this car is? It has 4 seats and a steering wheel. That’s pretty good for the price.
Full disclosure, I think these are really cute and cool. For the price, it is good.