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Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra, known in Latin America and in most of Asia as the Nissan March (マーチ Māchi) and in North America as the Nissan Versa (2nd generation), is a supermini produced by the Japanese automaker Nissan since 1982.

First generation (1982–1992)

Micra K10

The original Micra (chassis name K10) was introduced in October 1982 as a challenger to the highly successful Honda City. It was intended to replace the Nissan Cherry as the company's competitor in the supermini sector, as the Cherry model itself had progressively become larger with each successive generation. It was introduced in the European market in 1983, and in the Canadian market in 1984. Although Nissan was slowly phasing out the Datsun name, a small "Datsun" (ダットサン Dattosan) appeared on the tailgate for the first two years, and in some European markets, the car was known as the "Datsun-Nissan Micra". The Datsun badges had disappeared completely by the end of 1984. The Micra was initially available with an extremely refined all-aluminium MA10S SOHC engine.

The model was revised in June 1985, identifiable by the slightly larger rear lamp clusters. The Japanese market saw the debut of the first Micra Turbo/MA10ET, where Nissan grafted a turbocharger to the small 1.0 L engine. Another facelift came in March 1989, which consisted of some minor upgrades such as deeper bumpers, a new front grille, minor interior details, and headlight changes. It also saw the introduction of an electronically controlled carburettor, the larger MA12 1.2 L engine with 60 PS (44 kW/59 hp) and a 5-door hatchback version.

In 1988, Nissan launched a limited 10,000 unit run of its homologated Nissan 1989 Micra Superturbo (EK10GFR/GAR). Both this and the 1988 Micra R (EK10FR) featured the same highly advanced sequential compound charged (supercharger plus turbocharger) engine in an all-aluminium straight-4 930 cc 8-valve 4-cylinder Nissan MA MA09ERT unit that produced 110 PS JIS (81 kW/108 hp) at 6400 rpm. This car came with either a 3-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox with viscous limited slip differential, as well as options such as air conditioning and electric mirrors. The Micra Superturbo still holds the crown for the fastest production Micra in Nissan's history, with factory performance figures of 7.7 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) and 15.5 seconds to run a quarter mile. It has a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph).

The Micra's chassis spawned a number of variations. The Be-1 (BK10), launched at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1985 (but not sold until 1987), was a limited edition model with a more rounded bodyshape, and only 10,000 were sold. In 1987, the canvas-topped, retro looking hatchback Pao (パオ) (PK10) was launched (also at the Tokyo Motorshow) and sold to the public in 1989; 51,657 models were sold. The canvas-topped Figaro (フィガロ) (FK10) coupé was unveiled at the same show in 1989, but not released until 1991. Because demand for the Figaro exceeded the 20,000 vehicles built, Nissan sold the car by lottery: winners could place orders for the car. Despite being a JDM-only model, the Figaro is one of the most imported models of the K10 derivatives; its popularity among numerous celebrity owners helped it earn cult status. The K10 ceased production on 21 December 1992.

During its lifetime, the Micra gained a good reputation for reliability and economy. In 1995, it topped the small car class in a reliability survey of four to six-year-old cars undertaken by the German Automobile Association (ADAC), with 7.5 recorded breakdowns per 1,000 vehicles for four-year-old Micras and 11.5 for six-year-old cars: this compared with 8.0 breakdowns per 1,000 cars for four-year-old Volkswagen Polos and 15.3 for six-year-old Polos. (The class loser was the Fiat Uno with 20.7 breakdowns per 1,000 for four-year-old cars and 37.3 for six-year-old Unos.

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