The fifth-generation Nissan March (aka Micra) finally makes its global debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, and has undergone what the carmaker calls a “complete redefinition.” Judging by the way it looks, which is miles apart from the predecessor, we think they have a point.
If you loved the Sway concept from last year’s Geneva Motor Show, you’ll be glad to know that Nissan has kept the edits reasonable for the final production car. At the front, the V-motion grille is smaller than on the concept, and the aggressive-looking fog lamp enclosures have been toned down as well.
However, the former still meets up with the distinctive character line that starts from the edge of the contoured hood, continuing over the new jewel-like headlamps, under the side mirrors, through the front door handles and on to the taillights.
The profile also appears largely unchanged from the concept as well, with the same blacked-out C-pillar to create a “floating roof” look. The same “kink” near said pillars are also retained here, with the rear door handles positioned near them.
As for the rear, the March gets boomerang-shaped taillights, which differ from the slim units found on the concept. The oversized exhausts have also been done away with, replaced with a black trim piece and a larger rear fog lamp. While the shape of the hatch is reminiscent of the concept, it has been resized to accommodate the changes.
It’s much the same story on the inside as well, where the previous “roundish” dashboard has replaced for something more contemporary in terms of looks. From the driver’s seat, there is a new instrument binnacle with bright dials and a multi-info display, along with a steering wheel that looks to be taken from the new Serena.
Progressing further, the centre air-con vents are now trapezoidal in shape compared to the round one of the previous car, and the centre stack merges seamlessly into the centre console, displacing the previous car’s cupholders to a new position beside the handbrake. Plenty of soft-touch materials as well.
Other changes include new air-con switchgear below the larger 7.0-inch infotainment unit. The latter comes with connectivity features most would expect (Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, etc.), and is paired with a six-speaker Bose sound system, where there are speakers built into the driver seat headrest
All in all, when placed alongside its softer-looking predecessor, the new March is certainly a visual revolution, and if you remove the badges, some might be tricked into thinking they aren’t from the same family nameplate. However, it isn’t just the looks that have changed either.
The new March rides on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s Common Modular Family (CMF-B) platform, which makes its wheelbase 75 mm longer compared to the previous model (2,525 mm). Elsewhere, it measures 3,999 mm long (+174 mm), 1,743 mm wide (+77 mm) and 1,455 mm tall (-55 mm).
Nissan also says the fifth-gen March gets the carmaker’s Active Ride Control for enhanced ride comfort, and Active Trace Control for reduced understeer and sharper handling (as found on the Qashqai and X-Trail). Additionally, noise insulation and optimisation of the car’s aerodynamic performance have also been done. That sleek shape you see contributes to a drag coefficient of just 0.29.
For power, the March can call upon three engines – a 0.9 litre HR09DET three-cylinder turbo petrol (90 hp/140 Nm with +10 Nm over boost), 1.0 litre BR10DE three-cylinder NA petrol (73 hp/95 Nm) and a 1.5 litre K9K four-cylinder diesel (90 hp/220 Nm). All three engines are mated to a five-speed manual as standard but an optional CVT will be available in the future.
As for safety and driving assist features, the Nissan Intelligent Driving suite is standard on the March. Features include Lane Departure Prevention, Intelligent Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition, Intelligent Around View Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist and Blind Spot Warning. The new Nissan March will be built in Europe at the Renault plant in Flins, France, as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Sales will start in Europe from March 2017. How much do you want this B-segment hatch to be sold here in Malaysia?