Why Micra?

micrarearIt might seem odd to some that I really like the Nissan Micra, even in light of the fact that I currently own cars that would be considered “Better” by our current cultural standards. Indeed, even at the time I bought the Micra for $2500, there were cars available for that price that some may consider more appealing. So, why the Micra?

When I bought the Micra, my way of thinking had evolved considerably. I was 20 years old and wanted a better life for myself, so I set aside my ego and worked things out. I went to college the following year after reasoning that I could earn at least twice as much as I could without a post secondary education, and with an interest-free student loan, would represent an investment in myself that would pay off in one and a half years for a three year program. I learned to use a spreadsheet and did financial forecasts, using real data. I had achieved my goal ahead of time, landing a summer job with a large IT company after my second year.

During my summer employment, I had earned enough money to buy a used car. Once again, I set my ego aside and, based on my previous experience, decided that, in spite of the fact that I preferred coupes and driving stick, a four door automatic car would most likely have been treated a lot better than would a two door stick shift. I also reasoned that, if I focused on smaller, low powered cars with minimal features and options, my money would buy me something newer with lower mileage and that would give me better gas mileage. My money would go a lot further all around; it all made perfect sense.

The Micra represented the clarity of mind that drove my success at the time. I was not embarrassed to drive it as some might suspect; quite the contrary. I drove it with a great sense of pride. I had bought the car entirely within my own means; it wasn’t a gift, and yet it was clean, reliable, and rust-free; a difficult task for any College student making it on their own. The small engine meant that $20 worth of gas (at 1995 prices) got me back and forth to school every day, as well as weekly trips to the laundry mat, grocery store, and my part-time research and development job for an entire month before needing to put another $20 in the tank. The reliability of the car meant no surprise expenses, and I was always on time. The short wheelbase, good ground clearance, light weight and small tires made it handle well in the snow. I could park in impossibly small parking spaces, and carry large, bulky things easily in the hatchback. My plan was working out better than expected.

My first Micra parked in front of our first new house
My first Micra parked in front of our first new house

I quit smoking, graduated college, married my wife, bought my first (and second) house, started my career, and saw the birth of my son while driving that car.  Nothing ever got to me; even when my brother-in-law laughed at me and asked me if I thought his car was better than mine, I simply stated that I thought my car was better for me because my Micra was the car that took me everywhere I needed for little more than the cost of the little bit of gas it used; his car didn’t do that for me. I never paid any mind as to how much the gas would cost, or even the effects of wear and tear. I didn’t want anything that didn’t truly make me happy or my life better, and my Micra reminded me of that. My life was efficient and fun, like my car.

One thing I always wanted was to be able to buy a Micra brand new, and being able to get options like cruise control, air conditioning, and a stick shift. When I found out that Nissan wasn’t selling them in Canada anymore, I moved on to  bigger and more expensive cars.

Time for a new car!
Time for a new car!

Now it appears as though I’ll be able to make that dream come true; and you know what? I liked the person I was when I had my Micra, and I’d like to be more like that guy again. To be able to set my ego aside, to enjoy care-free driving, and to be able to focus on the more important things in life.  I think I’ll take mine in silver.

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2 thoughts on “Why Micra?”

  1. Hi Paul, I have driven my quirky 1990 Nissan Pao (Micra drive train) here in Western Canada for the last 6 years and enjoyed every minute of it. The Pao was a Japan only variant (rhd) and had many features not found on the Micra’s exported to Canada: 1L engine, power sunroof, air conditioning, powere steering, etc,, plus a very eccentric “safari” design. I also own a Citroen 2cv and a Fiat 600 from the 50’s so I really like the Pao because it has many of the retro styling elements from those cars. I will be looking at the new Micra to see if it might be compatible with my little family of cars! Good luck with your own purchase and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.

  2. Richard, that’s awesome; I never knew about the Pao until you mentioned it. Do you have pictures you could share? Hopefully, Nissan will see fit to create Micra-based retro styled cars for the Canadian market in the future. Thanks for telling me about it!

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