The First Drive playlist

We celebrate a tradition when buying a new car. It started with the creation of a “First Drive” mix tape which was a cassette tape with a few carefully chosen songs for that first drive.

The days of mix tapes are gone, now replaced by the playlist. Given the Micra’s history, I opted for the following rules for selecting the songs for my “First Drive” playlist:

  • Given that the Micra was part of a “New Wave” of cars, an “Alternative” choice that entered the global market at the height of new wave/alternative music, all songs must be of new wave or alternative genres.
  • The songs must be from relevant years. I chose 1982 (the introduction of the Micra), 1984 (the year the Micra came to Canada as a 1985 model), 1985 (the first model year of the Canadian Micra), 1990 (the model year of my first Micra), and 1995 (the year I bought my first Micra).
  • The songs should have some relevance.

And so, I present to you, my personal new Micra first drive playlist:

Song: Steppin’ Out

Artist: Joe Jackson

Year: 1982

Duration: 4:24

This fun, uplifting song about a night out on the town, out the same year as the Micra, perfectly embodies the spirit of the Micra. I think it’d make a brilliant song for a Micra ad campaign. Get into a car and drive to the other side.


Song: Nova Heart

Artist: The Spoons

Year: 1982

Duration: 6:41

Two things were big in 1982: Small hatchbacks, and The Spoons. Is the Micra the Nova Heart we can hide in as things come apart?


Song: Big in Japan

Artist: Alphaville

Year: 1984

Duration: 3:57

The Micra…also known as the March…is big in Japan. 🙂


Song: It’s my life

Artist: Talk Talk

Year: 1984

Duration: 3:53

It’s my life. The choices I make are mine. The Micra was and is a choice I made, not one that someone made for me.


Song: Obsession

Artist: Animotion

Year: 1985

Duration: 3:59

Yes, I admit it…I’m a little obsessed about the Micra.


Song: Don’t You (Forget about me)

Artist: Simple Minds

Year: 1985

Duration: 4:18

I didn’t forget (about the Micra).


Song: Here’s Where the story ends

Artist: The Sundays

Year: 1990

Duration: 3:54

My Micra was a 1990 model, which was the end of the story for the Nissan Micra in Canada. Technically, it sold into 1991, but as far as I’m concerned, the story ended for that generation of the Micra in Canada in 1990.


Song: Common People

Artist: Pulp

Year: 1995

Duration: 5:51

1995, the year I bought my Micra; quite clearly, an excellent car choice for the common people. 🙂

Total playlist length: 36:57

My Micra is better

The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

The year was 1996. I was starting a new life together with my wife and a new career, having just bought my Micra the year before. One evening, my brother-in-law Tommy D-Bag asked me, “Who’s car do you think is better?” To that I replied that I thought my car was better for me, because I owned it, it was paid for, it was very reliable and inexpensive to maintain, and it took me to where I needed to go whenever I wanted while using very little gas, and how his car couldn’t do any of that for me. His response was a snort of contempt.

It wasn’t enough for Tommy to think his car was better than everyone else’s; he had to prove it. One night, whilst driving South on Brock Street in Whitby, Tommy found himself in the right lane at Mary Street. The right lane at Mary Street turned into a right turn only lane, as it turned into a parking only lane further along Brock Street south of Mary into the downtown core. Tommy was next to another vehicle, and Tommy had to prove to the driver of that vehicle that his car was better by racing the person in the left lane. Unfortunately for Tommy, his car wasn’t as great as he thought. Not only was Tommy’s car not fast enough to get in front of the other car, it also could not stop fast enough before he crashed into a parked car. It was not a good night for Tommy; not only did he wreck his car by crashing it into a parked car, the parked car turned out to be an undercover police car.

Meanwhile, my wife and I were saving up for our future. My father-in-law, who worked for GM, got a deal on a new GMC Sierra; it was a brand new model, loaded, with only 10k on the odometer. He wanted my wife to have it, but Tommy literally broke down and cried, begging that he should have this truck. When I asked Tommy how he was going to pay for the insurance, he snorted with contempt that his insurance rates were not affected by his accident. Tommy got his truck.

A couple of months later, Tommy’s insurance came up for renewal; wouldn’t you know that his rates had increased to $10,000 per year. Realizing he couldn’t afford that and the payments on the truck, he begged me and my wife to buy the truck off of him, at the full price he paid for it. Sadly, Tommy is a smoker, but neither my wife nor I smoke, and the truck now stank of cigarette smoke with obvious cigarette burn marks in the seat fabric. I also know how poorly Tommy treats his vehicles when he drives. I advised him that, as he had severely depreciated the value of the truck, I would not pay full price, but would rather drive my Micra.

I don’t know what happened to Tommy’s truck; perhaps he found a sucker to buy it from him. We fell out of touch and I stopped talking to him. One night, the weather had turned cold and wet. I was driving my Micra home from work, happy to be protected and kept warm by the Micra’s excellent heater as the rain and the sleet started to give way to big wet flakes of snow. Up ahead of me along Rossland Road, I noticed someone riding a moped. I wondered to myself, who would be riding a Moped at this time of night in this kind of weather? I slowed and moved over to give the moped rider a safe amount of space; as I looked over, I could clearly see it was Tommy D-Bag, my brother-in-law.

I’m so glad the new Micra is out, because now I can get another car that will be the best car for me and my needs; Tommy, on the other hand, may not like the memories it brings back. For some reason, that doesn’t bother me in the least.

Why buy used?

Yes, I admit that my first Micra was a 5 year old used model, but the profit margins on a $2500 car are going to be slim to none for a curbsider rebuilding a wreck.

After watching these, I have to wonder: Why go through the stress and risk? One used rebuilt wreck was $16,000, which will buy a very nicely equipped 2015 Micra with free peace of mind. Enjoy.

 

My dream car

When I bought my 1990 Micra, it demonstrated to me, over the years that followed, that it represented the best decision I had made when it came to buying a car. Yesterday, as I made my down payment for my new 2015 Micra, I couldn’t help but remember the thoughts I had over a decade ago while driving my 1990 Micra.

I always thought the brilliant silver was the perfect colour. It worked well at reflecting the hot summer sun, but it also remained clean looking with minimal effort during the brutal winter months. Salt that made every other colour look ugly disappeared on that metallic silver paint. The other thing I appreciated about that car was the fact that it was small on the outside and big on the inside. It easily accommodated my 6’4″ frame and three other people, with a hatch that held an enormous amount of cargo when needed. The size and tight turning radius made parking and manoeuvring a breeze, and it was so comfortable that I often just enjoyed cruising through back roads. Driving became a hobby.

As I drove the car, I came to recognize its shortcomings. I would have preferred a 5 speed stick shift, but had determined that used cars with manual transmissions in the $2500 price range were likely to have had been abused, which directed me to the gently driven and well cared for automatic Micra that I ended up with. Still, I realized that I would have like to have bought a Micra brand new with a 5 speed stick shift.

There were times, usually when driving down a highway, that I wished for wheels bigger than 12″. They were fine on highways rated at 80km/h, but once I hit the 400 series of highways, the advantage of a 14″ or even a 15″ wheel became evident. Also, after cruising down the highways for more than an hour, I often thought about cruise control. Would it have been difficult to add with an aftermarket kit? I think it would have been great to have for those road trips that stretched for hours at a time.

There were times when the 1.2L engine felt inadequate, like those times when I had the car full of people, or accelerating on a short on-ramp to a 400 series highway. I often thought back to the long ago rusted out Mazda GLC that I learned to drive on, and thought that an engine closer to 1.6 litres of displacement would have provided just the right amount of power for a car of this size and weight. Finally, during the hot, humid summers of southern Ontario, I often longed for air conditioning. My Micra had the mounts on the engine block for a compressor, but it was not to be.

I never paid close attention to the fuel economy; I knew it was great, and didn’t think much about the cost of gas. Other people would ask me, and because of that, I had thought that having a fuel mileage computer on-board would have been nice. Along this line, a remote gas filler door release would have been nice instead of the key lock I had.

micraoffer2

I often thought about these things, and dreamed of my “Perfect Micra.” I couldn’t help but recall these dreams when I made my down payment after opting for my Micra SV with convenience package in brilliant silver. It has all the things I dreamed of, and then some. It’s been a long wait, and I never imagined this day would have arrived…but it has, and I look forward to finally getting behind the wheel of my dream car.

Why the Micra will be a great car

Some people are skeptical about the new Micra. How can Nissan make a car that’s both cheap and good? More importantly, how can I be certain that the Micra will be a great car in spite of its low price tag? Let me assure you, my confidence in the new Micra is not without merit. In this post, I will illustrate the reasons why I have so much confidence in the 2015 Micra:

  • 1990 Micra
    1990 Micra

    I had a Micra. A 1990 model. It shared a lot in common with respects to the new Micra. In its day, it was also the cheapest car. In spite of its low cost, it was very reliable, cheap to maintain, and fun to drive. While it wasn’t quite as fuel efficient as the 3 cylinder Geo Metro, it offered significantly greater interior room with greater legroom and headroom front and back, and the engine was more refined. I see similarities with the Micra and its competition today. As Nissan has continued on an evolutionary path of refinement and improvement on this platform since the model I owned, I am certain that the new Micra will represent an improved version on everything that made my Micra great.

  • Nissan Versa
    Nissan Versa

    It’s tried and true. The engine and transmission have been proving themselves for years in the ultra-reliable Nissan Versa. Then again, this should be expected; Japanese companies like Nissan perfected the 1.6L engine and their transmissions back in the 1980’s; the decades of refinement that followed have resulted in the silky smooth powerful and efficient mechanical gems they are today. The Micra platform itself is based on the K13 model, released in 2010 in other countries, so it’s had the past four years to prove to be a solid platform. It’ll be interesting to see how the car responds with the Canadian-spec improvements.

  • 1stCherryIt’s true to the original concepts that made Japanese cars a huge success in the late 70’s to early 80’s: Big on the inside, small on the outside, rich with features, fun to drive, inexpensive to buy and maintain, fuel efficient.
  • There are still Micra’s over 20 years old that are still running today. There aren’t many, but the ones that are still around have clearly not been babied nor restored. They do tend to look and run a little rough, but otherwise appear roadworthy. This provides me with the security that my new Micra ought to last as least as long.

Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it won’t be good; based on my assessment, the new Micra will be an excellent car for anyone.

First 2015 Canadian K13Micra

This source claims this is a photo of the first Canadian Micra to roll off the assembly line. I’d like to point out that this statement is inaccurate, as Canada had Micra’s throughout the 1980’s and into the very early 90’s. It is, however, the first Canadian K13 Micra; as we missed out on the K11 and K12 versions, this is pretty significant. What’s remarkable to me is that it’s the same silver colour as my original K10. Thanks, Nissan! 🙂

First Canadian K13 Micra

Source: http://www.417nissan.com/blog/417-nissan-in-mexico-with-the-all-new-2015-nissan-micra/

Also, if you’re interested in seeing how the new Micra is built, you’ll enjoy this video: