CHEAP and cheerless are out, as these intriguing pictures of the saucy 2017 Nissan Micra prototype pounding the roads of Spain – and the artist’s rendition above - suggest so tantalisingly.
Visually heavily influenced by the Nissan Sway concept from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the fifth-generation Japanese supermini rediscovers style and sportiness in a serious way.
The racy profile, sloping roofline, and low ‘n‘ wide stance are very obvious from the images, in spite of – or is it because of? – the cut-price bin-liner camo covering the car in the prototype photos.
Tear away the cladding and the news gets even better underneath, with the current Renault Clio’s Alliance B-car architecture – revamped and updated as the CMF-B platform – promising to spice up the drive as convincingly as the styling.
That also means a longer, wider, and presumably roomier cabin proposition, though headroom is likely to suffer now that Nissan has nixed the Noddy Car proportions.
What motivates the 2017 Micra (or March, as it is known in some countries including Japan) remains a point of uncertainty, with a range of three-cylinder atmo and turbo petrol engines, in 0.9-litre to 1.2-litre sizes, leading the speculation. Additionally, there’s a 1.5-litre dCi turbo-diesel in the mix for the European markets that Nissan is so clearly desperate to win back.
With the second-gen K11 Micra the first-ever Japanese vehicle to win European Car of the Year back in 1993, and its 2002 K12 successor an enduring design statement, the next Micra has a legacy to live up to.
So it’s no surprise that Nissan is understandably sick of the existing K13 Micra, with its Third-World market focus, playing second fiddle to the likes of its Clio cousin, as well as the Volkswagen Polo, Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta, Suzuki Swift, and Peugeot 208.
If it manages to infuse even some of their spirit and spunk, then the K14 ought to be a very good thing indeed.
We’re expecting to see the latest Nissan supermini at the Paris Motor Show in early October, with Australian sales likely to follow in the first half of 2017 if all goes to plan.