The budget segment
It’s crazy to think that the likes of the Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Ford Figo, Toyota Etios and Renault Sandero are no longer the cheapest alternatives in terms of a new budget car. We now have the likes of the Datsun Go, Renault’s Kwid and the Suzuki Celerio all vying for the budget car sales crown.
The Celerio aside, the Go and Kwid are simply too unsafe for me to recommend anyone spending their hard-earned money on. The privilege argument doesn’t hold water with me either, because the Suzuki is an example of a cheap car that has the basic safety requirements covered. Why must a car be unsafe in order to be cheap?
My rant aside, the main issue surrounding the prominence of these vehicles is the same with any cheap product, there’s a demand for it. The price of vehicles has increased dramatically over the past few years while many people, especially in the lower and middle class, haven’t received an adequate increase in their respective incomes to afford them the ability to purchase a vehicle of the same relative value as they would have been able to ten years ago.
Therefore, cars like the Micra Active are, to my mind at least, a great alternative to some of the unsafe products with a lower price tag, especially for first-time buyers and parents looking for a good first car for their child. With my reference to safety earlier, it’s nice to know that the Micra has the basics with ABS and EBD, driver and passenger airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchor and central locking.
My week with the Micra reminded why I love cars, but for the strangest reason. For some unknown reason, it’s the weeks where I have the smallest cars imaginable that I find myself needing a SUV or bakkie.
From carrying my mountain bike to a race, to driving down muddy dirt roads to a festival for work and even carrying four passengers and luggage, the Micra did it. In doing so, it reminded me that cars are more than just the sum of their parts, they are the vessels in which you create memories, or at least take you to where you’re likely to make these recollections.
What does it offer?
There’s something to disclose about my test unit and a useful piece of information for those looking at one of these cars. The sportier exteriortreatment pictured is part of the R8 500 optional Trendsetter Pack, which includes the black wheels, silver exhaust tip, roof spoiler and splash guards.
When it comes to the interior, the touchscreen infotainment system in my test unit is an R8 500 option too, although I’m told that for the first few months after launch (which at the time or writing was valid), the system would be included as a no-cost option.
Spirited is the word I’d use to describe the little three-cylinder 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor under the bonnet of the Micra. With only 56kW/104Nm along with a five-speed manual gearbox, it doesn’t sound too appealing, but in true three-cylinder fashion, the small mill seems more than willing to take-on what you can throw at it.
Fuel consumption was low too, with my week in the car registering a figure of 5.8-litres/100km, not too far off of the 5.2-litres/100km claim.
The list price of R159 900 which includes a six-year/150 000km warranty and a three-year/90 000km service plan makes the Micra Active a car that all buyers in this segment need to consider when making their final purchasing decision.