New Micra vs. used car

2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT
My ’02 Grand Am GT

There are some that might suggest that one is better purchasing a used car for the price of a brand new Micra. Having taken that advice a decade ago with my previous car, I came to recognize a significant financial advantage in purchasing a two year old domestic car which had lost half of its value from its new price. The result was that I got to enjoy a nicely equipped car for a decade. However, I’m at a point where I can look retrospectively at my choice.

'04-'05 Echo
’04-’05 Echo

The alternative in 2004 that came closest to the Micra was the Toyota Echo which, at that price, would not have come with nearly as many features, but still would have had many of the features that mattered. After running the numbers, I discovered that, in the long term over the past 10 years, the Echo would have saved me more money, for many of the same reasons why the Micra will save money over comparably priced used cars today. Consider the following:

  • Because the car was two years old, it already had two years worth of wear on its components. These involve wear and tear items like tires, brake components, the belt, wheel bearings, engine coolant, and the battery. This advanced my schedule for replacing and servicing these things by two years in comparison to the new car option, and, over a 10 year period, presented the possibility that I would have had to incur some of these expenses an additional time.
  • Because the used car was a higher end model, parts like brakes and tires cost more. For example, I spent $30-$50 more per replacement tire, and a set of rear pads for the rear disc brakes cost over twice as much as would shoes for the rear drum brakes on the less expensive new Echo.
  • Because my two year old used car had a more powerful motor and greater vehicle mass, it required more fuel. The difference in fuel economy over a 10 year period represented a significant expense.

800px-FEMA_-_37218_-_Resident_pushing_a_car_through_flood_waters_in_TexasThat’s not all. When I buy a used car, I’m buying something someone else didn’t want to keep. It could be that whoever owned the car is wealthy and just wants to be in a new car every couple of years, or it could be that there was something about the car they didn’t like. Was it driven hard and abused? An on-going factory defect? There’s no sure way of knowing. These days, we might not know if a car had been in a flood or had been in an accident. Maybe it was driven up over a curb, fell off a jack? There are paid services like CarFax that can help us, but they only work if an accident had been reported. A new car provides peace of mind of knowing the entire history of a car. I’ll know for certain that the oil changes were all done on schedule.

When it comes to safety, I’m going to bank on the new car that comes with the full gamut of airbags, the latest technology in ABS, traction control, and steering wheel controls. Besides, I’m a believer that all accidents are preventable. I’ve been driving for over 25 years, and thanks to driving skill and paying attention, I had two minor not at fault accidents, or fender benders to be more accurate. I probably saved myself from serious accidents by leaving the cell phone alone, keeping my hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while paying full attention and looking down the road. All else being equal, a heavier car is safer than a lighter car, but all else isn’t equal, and there’s always variables that, when stacked up, demonstrate that proper car maintenance and driving skill matter most. I have the skill, and the Micra is an easy car to properly maintain.

With a used car, there’s just no sure way of telling if the savings will evaporate in running expenses. With a brand new Micra, which has earned a track record for economical ownership costs around the globe, I’ll be confident in the long term savings over the next decade.

2015 Micra Financing

Following is a scan of the financing Nissan Canada is making available to buyers of the new Micra. Essentially, they’re offering a low 1.9% rate on all but the base model for terms ranging from 24 to 48 months. Base model gets a 4.99% rate on all terms from 24 to 84 months. Rates for models above the base are 2.9% for 60 months, 3.49% for 72 months, and 3.9% for 60 months.

2015 Micra Financing details
2015 Micra Financing details

Air Micra

The original Nissan Micra had characteristics that made it the perfect car for jumping: Combine its light weight with a short wheelbase with hardly any overhang front and rear, and the result is a car that’s easy to jump. People around the world have caught on to this, and so I present to you a collection of videos I like to call Air Micra:

 

Sometimes a jump goes bad, but don’t worry; if that happens, the Micra knows how to roll over like a playful puppy and nobody gets hurt:

Ain’t nothin’ more fun than watchin’ Micra’s go airborne:

To paraphrase Dr. Emmett Brown: Roads? What we’re driving, we don’t need roads.

Someone training to be a Micra pilot:

Attention all passengers: Please fasten your safety belts as we prepare for take-off.


If the Micra had wings, it could surely fly.

Nissan Canada announces Micra prices today

From Nissan Canada:

MISSISSAUGA, ON. – Today, Nissan announced pricing for the all-new Nissan Micra’s complete Canadian line-up, featuring the lowest cost of entry for many desired features including: Bluetooth, Rear View Monitor, cruise control, manual air conditioning and automatic transmission.

“In the highly competitive entry-level segment, customers are looking for an array of options, in addition to the expected demands for fuel economy, style and safety. The Nissan Micra is the complete package providing Canadians with a myriad of convenient features including: Bluetooth, RearView monitor, automatic transmission and air conditioning – all at the lowest price in Canada,” said Christian Meunier, President, Nissan Canada Inc. “With these points in mind, coupled with flexible financing programs, Micra underscores Nissan’s commitment to bringing the right car to Canadians at a truly unbeatable value.”

Nissan Micra S
With the lowest starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in Canada at $9,998* for the Micra S MT, the primary innovation offered can be summed up in two words: unbeatable value. The all-new Micra will be available in eight well-equipped models designed to appeal to a broad range of buyer needs and budgets when it goes on sale this spring.

Following the base model is the Micra S equipped with automatic transmission and priced at $13,298. The Micra S 4AT adds numerous in-demand features including automatic transmission, air conditioning and cruise control, all at the most affordable prices in Canada.

Nissan Micra SV
The ever-popular Nissan SV trim once again presents Canadians with an exceptional level of value boasting the most affordable Bluetooth and front and rear power windows in Canada. Additional standard features include: body coloured handles, heated power outside mirrors, steering wheel controls, power door locks with remote keyless entry, six-way driver’s seat and cargo cover. The Micra SV starts at $13,698, and is available with automatic transmission for an additional $1,000. 

Available on the SV trim is the Convenience Package which, at only $500, adds a 4.3-inch audio display with USB interface and iPod connectivity. Also included is Nissan’s innovative RearView monitor system – an unexpected feature in the entry-level segment, and available at the lowest price in Canada.

Nissan Micra SR
The Micra SR offers everything available on the SV with Convenience Package, plus a long list of top-grade features which further enhance Micra’s unique and dynamic appearance. Micra SR equipment includes: 16-inch machined/black-painted alloy wheels, front fog Lights with chrome finisher, front fascia lower grille chrome finisher, sport front headlights and rear taillights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and side sill spoilers. The fully-loaded Micra SR has a starting price of $15,748. The automatic transmission variant is available for an additional $1,000.

Regardless of grade level, Micra gives owners more value, more fun and more attention to detail than they’d expect from an entry-level vehicle.  Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) for the 2015 Nissan Micra are as follows:

Micra 1.6 S, MT $9,998 CAD
Micra 1.6 S, 4AT $13,298 CAD
Micra 1.6 SV, MT $13,698 CAD
Micra 1.6 SV, MT Convenience $14,198 CAD
Micra 1.6 SV, 4AT $14,698 CAD
Micra 1.6 SV 4AT, Convenience $15,198 CAD
Micra 1.6 SR MT $15,748 CAD
Micra 1.6 SR 4AT $16,748 CAD

Freight and PDE $1,400

Nissan Micra accessible to a wide range of Canadians

Micra will attract many new customers to the Nissan brand, including those who prefer smaller, European-styled vehicles. Nissan Finance is excited to support this all-new vehicle with a full complement of unique and competitive finance and lease programs tailored to each and every customer’s needs, such as:

  • The First Time Buyer Program is designed to assist first-time car buyers overcome many of the financial hurdles they face as they look to purchase their first new vehicle.
  • The Nissan Grad Program As new graduates prepare to enter the work force, a new Nissan Micra is a great choice. Even with little or no credit history, qualified applicants can own a stylish new car while establishing a good credit history. Applicants may even qualify for additional rewards for being a recent grad.
  • The New Canadian Program is a cornerstone in Nissan’s commitment to serve Canada’s multicultural communities.  Even with a limited credit history, buyers can leave the showroom with a new Nissan Micra, and a payment plan that will help establish good credit and aid in financing in the future.

The Micra Opportunity Program This newly created finance program will be launched exclusively to serve the unique needs of Micra buyers. It is the first of its kind to be offered by an automotive finance company in Canada, The Micra Opportunity Program makes it easy for buyers to make payments on time, while establishing or improving credit. No previous automotive finance or lease credit history is required and all applicants will be considered regardless of credit bureau history.

For more information on Nissan’s finance options, customers should visit their local Nissan retailer.

About the Nissan Micra
Available in three trims, the Micra S, SV and top-of-the-line SR will be available with either a 5-speed manual transmission, or a 4-speed automatic transmission. Each model is equipped with an advanced 1.6-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine with dual fuel injection and Twin CVTC. With no plans for the United States, Micra will truly be a Canadian car and has been extensively tested and perfected for the Canadian driver with features like heated outside mirrors, rear heater ducts (to keep backseat toes warm), 60/40 split rear seats and either 15 or 16 inch wheels – sizes that are widely available as snow tires.

Micra’s available equipment includes: a 4-speaker audio system with an available 4.3 inch display, USB input for iPod and similar devices, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, cruise control, air conditioning, fog lights and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, RearView Monitor, and steering wheel mounted controls. The Nissan Micra offers several advanced convenience and safety features at the most affordable price in the country; presenting Canadians with more value than ever before.

Self-expression is also a key feature that will set Micra apart from the competition in Canada, with unique options that will allow the car to be “personalized” to the owner’s individual tastes and favourite colour palate. Several trim items are available, including mirror covers, door handle finishers, a rear hatch finisher, wheel caps and interior trim finishers, in five distinct colours – red, white, black, orange and purple, as well as chrome. These accessories will be an ‘a la carte’ selection, allowing the customer to choose a little dash of colour where desired, with coordinating side stripes also available in each colours.

The accessory packages will start at less than $200 and there are also various lifestyle accessories available, such as bike, ski and even kayak carriers. Practical items like cargo organizers, winter mats and trunk protectors are also available on the 2015 Nissan Micra, making it one of Canada’s most customizable cars as well as the country’s greatest value.

The original Canadian Micra fan web site

Way back in the early days of the Internet, when personal web sites on services like Geocities were all the rage, I decided to make a tribute page dedicated to the Nissan Micra. I had been without my Micra for several months, and to be honest, I was regretting selling it. I wanted to preserve as much about the Micra as I could for future generations. It still exists on the Tripod servers, though the HTML code of the original looks like a battlefield of them inserting all kinds of ad scripts, and me adding script to counter their ad script; admittedly, against their terms of service, but in my defense when I signed up for the service in 2000, the ads weren’t nearly as obnoxious nor as overpowering. In any case, time passed, I had forgotten about it until now. To my surprise, my html code for blocking all the obnoxious ads is still working. Who knows for how long? You can still find it if you search for “Paul’s Micra Tribute.” In any case, I pay for this ad-free server, so that I may present to you, in its original, unadulterated form, straight from the year 2000, my original Micra tribute page:

Paul’s Micra Tribute Page

I’ve kept all the original links, some of which are now dead, and I’ve left in mistakes that I may have made. For posterity, I’ve even kept psquirk@hotmail.com alive, though I rarely ever check it due to spam. Since I registered that e-mail at Hotmail before Microsoft bought it, and since I advertised that address all over the web before understanding how spambots worked, it’s incredible the amount of spam it draws.

I’m going to retroactively collect and present as much Canadian K10 Micra information as much as possible and preserve it here on the server at mymicra.com, and if you have anything you’d like to share with me, my current e-mail address is my first name at mymicra.com. See what I did there? A pox on you spambots!

The Japanese Super-mini revolution: My perspective

I was probably 11 years old or so when I saw my first Japanese super-mini. I grew up in a small southern Ontario village, in a new subdivision that owed its very existence to a General Motors plant in Oshawa. I was accustomed to big Detroit iron; hulking GMC trucks, boat-like Pontiac Paresiennes and Chevrolet Caprices, and muscle-car T-roof Firebirds and Camaros. My father worked for a computer company, and my mother worked in an office, so we didn’t really have a whole lot in common with the blue collar beer guzzling factory workers around us. Being a tall, skinny, and awkward kid certainly didn’t help matters; I had friends, but I never quite managed to fit in with the culture of the neighbourhood, though not for lack of trying.

Things weren’t going all that well for people in our village; gas prices had skyrocketed through the 70’s, and all I heard about was how these “Crappy little Japanese cars” were taking over. They were apparently driven by sad, stupid people, or so I was told. Of course, I had yet to see one of these cars, and so, fueled by my nearly inexhaustible ignorance, I merrily went along in my attempt at fitting in. I also learned that punk rockers were bad, sad, and miserable people. I believed everything about the world that I was told.

One fateful day, I was walking along the main street in our village when a little blue late 70’s Honda Civic pulled over next to me and the driver asked for directions. Inside were four young adults wearing chains, leather, and brightly coloured Mohawks; a young man and woman in the front seat, and a young man and woman in the back seat. These people weren’t bad nor sad; they appeared perfectly healthy, happy, and cheerful. The music coming from their little blue car was fast, fun, and equally cheerful. Even the car itself looked happy, fun, and cheerful. A switch happened inside my head. Suddenly, I realized what I had been taught might not have been true. The people who were so generous with the information they freely provided might actually be wrong. I realized then and there that happiness for me would come only if I learned my own truths. I didn’t have to fit in; I only needed to be me.

One of my teachers drove a late 70’s Honda Civic, and, remembering those punk rockers, I asked if I could sit inside, and he gratefully obliged. I was amazed at how much room it had inside, how comfortable the seats were, and marveled at the attention to detail that was put into the interior and dashboard. These Japanese super-minis turned everything we knew about cars on its head. Instead of pushing bigger, more powerful engines with more sheet metal and tacky brougham roofs, these super-minis were completely re-engineered with focus on comfortable, ample, well appointed interior space, and, aside from a cheerful and attractive style, an otherwise minimalist design with a gas sipping engine just powerful enough to move the people in it at reasonable speeds.

These Japanese super-minis were the new wave punk rockers of the automobile world. They said to everyone, “I don’t care about high gas prices.” They promised us that we could be insulated from spiking gas prices, that cars could be reliable and require minimal maintenance, that we didn’t have to spend half a year’s wages on a new car, that we didn’t need to work at jobs we hated just so we could make enough money to afford that big car lifestyle. Indeed, they held the promise of a different, alternative future. Our lives could be better because of them. Instead of going to work and coming home and drinking alcohol, we could be going places and seeing things and people, while listening to fun, fast music on the cassette tape deck. These were the cars of the future.

Canada’s a big country, and for many Canadians, the automobile is a necessary element of life here. Given this, it’s no wonder that certain organizations have taken advantage of this and tried to make us believe we should buy a certain kind of car for a certain price. When the Honda Civic became bloated and turned into the kind of car we were “Supposed” to have throughout the 1980’s, the Nissan Micra arrived. Built to similar dimensions, characteristics, and price of the late 70’s Honda Civics, it became my car of choice. It promised me a low purchase price, great reliability, and insulation from high gas prices; it promised me that I could pursue any career, and that it would always deliver comfortable, competent transportation. It delivered on all its promises.

I was saddened when the Micra ceased to be sold in Canada after 1991, due in large part to politics of people who want to regain control of what we drive and prevent the future from happening. It has taken another oil and economic crisis to see it allowed back to the Canadian market. I’m so glad my “Car of the future” has returned to become a part of my future that I’m living now. It’s exactly what I need; what many of us need.