Nissan is not backing down. Last year’s Micra was a declaration of war on the B-segment and now extra power has been called in to help outmuscle the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta.
Today, you have the option of a 1.0-litre turbo engine – a neat upgrade up from the block that pumped out only 66KW. This size variant is available in the existing Acenta Plus or two new trims: the Tekna and Tekna Plus.
Having hopped into the latter, it’s hard not to feel Nissan is having a real go at this.
The interior has a premium feel. Sure, there will always be cheap plastics here and there in this segment, but the leather finishings all over the place dominate the eye’s attention. In the sleek, black model, the burgundy linings inside are particularly sexy. (If you get the Tekna Plus, black is the only colour option by the way. Because reasons.)
The other selling point of the new models is an upgraded and boastful sound system by Bose Personal. A speaker now sits in the head rest, promising a 360° audio experience with an amplifier beneath the seat to help it along. It’s easy to imagine that many young drivers — a fair chunk of the target audience — are going to be completely sold on this gimmick.
When we took these cars for a test drive, Nissan made sure we drove up Northcliff Tower. One might cynically think this was an effort to prove the car is no longer cowed by gravity. Thankfully, we can report that the car got us up the hill and to the awesome view just fine.
Overall, it’s clear Nissan has the staying power for this fight. Challenging in the B-segment was never going to be easy, but it’s methodically building a car that’s cutting out the complaints and combining some sweet features to create a product that soon might be hard to say no to.
Acenta Plus: R295 400
Tekna: R326 300
Tekna Plus: R336 900