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Micra, the learners' favourite, goes topless. Image by Syd Wall.

Micra, the learners' favourite, goes topless
If you are in the market for a nippy little convertible, it's worth checking out the Micra C+C.

   



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#02#It's not so long ago that I reviewed the Mitsubishi Colt CZC; so who better, thought the Editor to review the Mitsubishi's main rival, the Nissan Micra C+C. I was more worried that the test car might be the limited edition pink version, especially as it had proven such a success that Nissan made a second batch... Thoughts of driving around with a blonde wig and pink dress were scary. My son suggested a paper bag over my head instead. You can imagine my relief when our car arrived in a deep shade of metallic red.

Naturally the Nissan Micra C+C (Coupé and Convertible) is based on the Nissan Micra hatchback, although only the bonnet and front wings remain unchanged. It is 72mm longer, which is all added to the back of the car to help fit the folding roof in the boot. So its looks a little tail heavy, and the rounded shape of the hatchback is also compromised by a raised flat section to the boot lid, again to accommodate that roof. At least it is not as tall as the hatchback, as the screen is much more steeply raked lopping almost 100mm off the height. In common with other folding hardtop cars, the screen stretches much further back than is usual in closed cars; almost over the driver's head. But this brings good wind protection; people who buy more practical convertibles tend to be a little less hardy than those who buy sports cars and don't expect to arrive with their hair all over the place. Unlike the Colt, the roof opens fully automatically in the Nissan; there are no catches to open/close by hand. #p##01# Like the Mitsubishi CZC, the Nissan Micra C+C has a rear seat with two seat belts, but again this seat is strictly for children. We did manage to get the 'test child' (my 7-year old son) sat in the back, but he had more space in the Colt. Against this though, the boot space is larger than that of the Colt, both with the roof up and down. Roof up, the Nissan Micra is more airy inside due to the glass panel let into the top surface of the roof. From the outside it appears that the whole roof is a large glass panel, but this is an illusion; inside you can see heavy padded bracing that reduces the actual see-through part of the roof to something a lot smaller. But the additional light is welcome for those occasions when you don't want the roof down, and there is always the retractable blind to complete your options.

The Nissan Micra C+C comes with keyless entry. Discreet push buttons on the door and boot handles operate the locks if you have the remote control in close proximity (within approximately 80cm). Or you can do it the old fashioned way and just unlock the car using the remote control; it did appear that locking the car did require the control unit. Once inside, a plastic rotary plug takes the place of the key, presumably allowing Nissan to use the standard ignition lock barrel on models not equipped with this feature.

Now I have to admit that I wasn't expecting too much from the Nissan dynamically. The 1600cc normally aspirated engine develops 108bhp and 113lb.ft of torque (at a surprisingly high 4400rpm), which was a long way short of the Colt's 1.5-litre Turbo engine's output. But the Micra is a different type of car, though both share the same type of bodywork. The Nissan is relaxing; more grown up. And although not stunningly fast (0-60mph takes 10 seconds while top speed is 119mph), it's plenty quick enough. Likewise with the handling; the Micra doesn't scream and shout "thrash me" at the driver, but if you want to go quickly down your favourite country lanes, it will do so more capably than you would think. The steering on the Micra C+C is electrically assisted, with the assistance levels reducing as the speed rises giving at least the impression of driving feel. Roll and understeer built up when really pushing on, but by then you are in the realms where Nissan Micra drivers (and most other sane road users) will not be venturing. #p##02# Nissan tell me the Micra C+C has a dynamic damper added to the rear of the car to counter the vibration in the windscreen header rail that afflicts pretty well all convertible cars to some degree. I spent a lot of time trying to provoke the dreaded scuttle-shake, driving through pot holes, diagonally across speed humps, that sort of thing, but it looks like the damper works. Scuttle shake was all but imperceptible. This is good for handling, but also good for refinement; it's very off-putting driving roof down with all sorts of creaks and moans coming from the bodywork, and doesn't do much for your long term confidence in the structure. The only (small) fly in the ointment was a slight 'tingling' vibration felt through the brake pedal.

In top of the range Essenza trim, the Micra C+C comes well specified, going a long way towards justifying the on-the-road price of £14,995. On the standard equipment list were 16-inch alloy wheels, switchable stability control, heated leather seats, climate control, steering wheel controls for the audio system, and a built in 6 CD autochanger playing through six speakers. Our test car came with extras including rear parking sensors and a cheap-looking wind deflector, fitted between the rear headrests with what looked like cable ties, but at least you could still use the rear seat with it in place. The parking sensors are highly recommended, as the shape of the boot lid makes the rear of the car difficult to judge.

The Micra C+C is available with a smaller 87bhp 1.4-litre engine, but this adds two seconds to the 0-60mph time and takes 10mph off the top speed with a negligible payback in terms of fuel economy (42.8 versus 42.2mpg combined). If you can afford the extra initial outlay, the 1.6-litre options looks much the better, and that 42.2mpg is certainly a real-world achievable figure. Even the insurance group jumps only one class from 5T to 6T when picking the larger engine - many groups below the Colt Turbo. #p##06# So what are the downsides? Aside from the nasty wind deflector, the Micra is almost completely inoffensive. I didn't care much for the cream instrument dials with orange writing, but that's a personal matter. More seriously, I wouldn't like to have a puncture; the space saver is a smaller diameter than the road wheels leading to a lop-sided car while driving on it and begging the question what to do with the road wheel as it won't fit back in the under-boot area.

Finally, I'm happy to be able to report (unlike any of its rivals) the Nissan Micra C+C is British! It is built at the manufacturing plant in Sunderland alongside the Micra hatchback. Being British was so important to the project that Karmann (who build the roof) set up a sub-factory within the Sunderland plant rather than ship the roof over from Germany. This also has quality benefits as the roof can be painted at the same time as the car, guaranteeing colour match.
Nissan Micra UK range overview

Micra hatchbacks:
- Nissan Micra 1.2 16v E: £8,175
- Nissan Micra 1.2 16v S: £8,730
- Nissan Micra 1.2 16v S automatic: £9,630
- Nissan Micra 1.5 dCi 65 S: £9,430
- Nissan Micra 1.2 16v SE: £9,730
- Nissan Micra 1.2 16v SE automatic: £10,630
- Nissan Micra 1.4 16v SE: £10,030
- Nissan Micra 1.4 16v SE automatic: £10,930
- Nissan Micra 1.5 dCi 82 SE: £10,830
- Nissan Micra 1.4 16v SVE: £11,175 (tested in 2003)
- Nissan Micra 1.4 16v SVE automatic: £12,175
- Nissan Micra 1.5 dCi 82 SVE: £12,075
- Nissan Micra 1.2 16v Sport: £9,880
- Nissan Micra 1.4 16v Sport: £10,180
- Nissan Micra 1.5 dCi 82 Sport: £10,980
- Nissan Micra 160SR: £9,995

Micra C+C:
- Nissan Micra C+C URBIS 1.4 16v Manual: 13,500
- Nissan Micra C+C SPORT 1.6 16v Manual: 14,250
- Nissan Micra C+C ESSENZA 1.6 16v Manual: 15,250
- Nissan Micra C+C ACTIVE LUXURY 1.4 16v Manual: 14,895
- Nissan Micra C+C ACTIVE LUXURY 1.6 16v Manual: 15,495

Trevor Nicosia - 26 Oct 2006



  www.nissan.co.uk    - Nissan road tests
- Nissan news
- Micra C+C images

2006 Nissan Micra C+C specifications: (Essenza 1.6 manual)
Price: 15,520 on-the-road (optional extras fitted to test car).
0-62mph: 10.6 seconds
Top speed: 119mph
Combined economy: 42.2mpg
Emissions: 160g/km
Kerb weight: 1150kg

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Nissan.    


2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 

2006 Nissan Micra C+C. Image by Syd Wall.
 






 

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