Fuel economy: computer vs. real world

There is no doubt that my Micra delivers excellent fuel economy. Filling the tank from empty costs less than $50, even when the price of gas soars, and yet I can drive a lot before I need to fill up. Last time, I drove around 600km before I had to fill the tank.

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How far I can really go on a tank of gas depends on various factors, but I’m not afraid to use the air conditioning when I want to. On my last tank, I had two other adults in the car besides me with a full boot. My car’s computer told me I was getting 5.5L/100km, but Fuelly told me different: 6L/100km doing the full-tank-to-full-tank distance traveled calculation. I still consider that phenomenal fuel economy all things considered, but, based on my experience, the Micra’s fuel economy computer is optimistic by roughly 0.5L/100km. That translates to roughly 4.3 miles per imperial gallon, or 3.5 miles per US gallon.

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This has been fairly consistent; when my car reported 5.8L/100km, Fuelly reported 6.3L/100km. Looks like something for Nissan to tweak to bring the Micra that much closer to perfection.

The bicycle fit test

I love riding my bicycle; it’s been a lifelong passion for me. A requirement for any car I’ve owned is that it must be able to hold my bike inside the boot. This is no small feat; at 6’4″, I ride a very large framed bike with a large crank. Only specialty bike shops carry bikes big enough for me.

I assumed the new Micra would be able to hold my bike, based on the fact that my original Micra was also capable of holding my bike. Today, I put that to the test.

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Once I removed the front tire, it fit easily with the seats folded down, even with the bicycle seat in the fully extended position. I did have to slide the passenger seat up a bit, but I did not have to compromise my driver’s seat position.

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With the hatch closed, there was still plenty of room for other things I might need to bring with me on an extended trail ride. The nice thing about the Micra is that the hatchback design makes it extremely easy to get this bike into and out of the Micra. It is the perfect car for me.

Update on Micra details

I returned to Midway Nissan with further tests. I tested out the USB port with a USB flash drive as well as a standard MP3 player (an old Sansa Fuze), and both worked as expected:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also confirmed that there is a low washer fluid warning light; as well, on models with fog lights, there is a fog light indicator light in the blank space near the check engine light.

I also took the Micra for a test drive. Although it was just a 4 speed automatic, it had plenty of power around town and on the highway with myself, my wife, and my son in the car. It drove and felt solid, easily matching the flow of traffic on Highway 401 with plenty of power to spare, and remained perfectly composed at speed in corners.


Ample room front and back, good handling, nice balance between economy and power, great looks, lots of features…the Micra is the complete package, and the car for me and my family.

One Micra at Whitby Nissan

The Whitby Nissan dealership, Midway Nissan, had one Micra arrive today. It was an SV with automatic and convenience package. Mine had not arrived yet, so I decided to play around with this Micra and learn more about it.

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I turned the key on and grabbed a shot of the lights that light up. Starting from the top left is the oil pressure warning light; below that, a door ajar light, and below that, the light that shows the overdrive has been turned off. Above the overdrive off light is a check engine light, above that the battery light, and above that the parking brake light. To the right of the battery light is the power steering warning light, and next to that is the low traction warning light. Below the low traction warning light are the seatbelt warning light and the traction control disabled light. Below that is the temperature warning light.

Above the oil pressure warning light appears to be the high beam light. There seems to be another indicator light above that, it appears that it might be a low washer fluid warning light. Meanwhile, inside the speedometer circle are the cruise control light, and some sort of security warning light.

The digital readout is interesting; with the automatic, it shows the gear the transmission is in, as well as the fuel level. This is controlled by two buttons protruding out in the middle of the cluster; one cycles through the options, the other serves as a reset button and, I believe, doubles as the gauge cluster illumination button. Cycling through the options, we have: The odometer reading, two trip counters, estimated range available with the current amount of fuel, average fuel economy, and current fuel economy. As I suspected from the beginning, this display will not provide information in miles; it is metric only.

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The ABS and air bag lights are located on the other side of the instrument cluster.

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I took some time to play with the stereo and Bluetooth controls. I synced my Android phone, and the car offered a nice, easy to use voice navigation system with the microphone located in the center of the ceiling, right next to the driver’s head. Upon syncing, it wanted to sync my contacts as well. The stereo screen provided relevant information from the phone, such as signal strength. Other things like music could not be played through the Bluetooth, however.

I connected my Android phone to the USB connector in the center console, and it was attempting to communicate to the car stereo; however, I kept getting an error. It could be that this is configured for iPod or MP3 players only. Further testing will be required.

The line in worked as expected, and delivered clear, accurate sound. All related steering wheel controls worked as expected, and were very ergonomic and simple to use.

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Put the transmission in reverse, and immediately the screen is filled with what is behind the car. The camera has a superb wide angle lens, leaving nothing out of the picture. You can clearly see the entire width of the bumper along the bottom of the screen, with a clear view of the horizon and above.

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Just wanted to point out that the rear wiper has an intermittent setting as well as an on setting.

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Looking down in the engine bay, we see that, although it appears tight, there is adequate room to make routine maintenance easy. The oil filter is located at the bottom towards the front of the engine, which should make oil changes a breeze. The alternator is also easy to access.

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Looking under the car, we see the oil pan in black, as well as the transmission pan (off to the right). There is no air dam; presumably, the bumper design makes this unnecessary.

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There is a sizable gap in the grille between the radiator and the edge of the grill; this is where things like the horn is located. Presumably, this might make an ideal location for a ram air intake modification, except for the fact it’s located on the opposite side of the existing air intake.

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These lines moulded in the roof really give the new Micra a nice and unique profile.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll need to make another trip to try an MP3 player and a USB stick with MP3’s on it to see if that works. Until then, let me know what you think of these options.

Why it’s Canada-only

The media has been scratching its head on why the Micra is only going to be sold in Canada and not the United States. Some have reasoned that people living in the United States have a bias against hatchbacks. Others have supposed that the Micra doesn’t meet US regulations. I don’t think these are the reasons at all.

The real reason, I think, is that they’re tweaking a car that’s already being sold in Europe, Australia, and other countries that have one thing in common with Canada that they don’t with the United States: They measure all of their speeds and distances in kilometers. It’s highly unlikely there are any current Micra instrument clusters in the Nissan parts bin capable of displaying speed in miles per hour, or distances in miles. Given the limited market for a car like the Micra in the US, and given that they already have it covered with the Versa Note, it wouldn’t make sense to re-tool to accommodate, while a Canadian-spec Micra would only need minor changes that would work in any of their current markets.

I’m confident that eventually the US will get their Micra, but only if it’s successful in the Canadian market. Our sales numbers will dictate whether or not they’ll design a US spec gauge cluster for the Micra. Using the Canadian market as a test bed to introduce (or re-introduce) European products of this nature to the North American market is brilliantly prudent.