Nissan kinda tested our patience before rolling out the Micra. But they didn't disappoint. A competitively priced and versatile Micra has been rolled out into an overcrowded B-segment. Although there are more than five hatchbacks that the Micra faces tough competition from, the most challenging contender is none other than the emperor in the segment, the Maruti Swift.
Swift has been here for a while, without receiving considerable facelifts. We all agree Swift is a supercool cart, however, like most cars in the car world, after a while some of its freshness is lost. At this juncture, Micra storms in with very retro, bubbly-cute looks, great quality and fit-finish, very well-appointed interiors and a handful of unique features such as self-folding mirrors, key-less entry, push start/stop button on the top-end version and airbags even on the base variant.
The most alluring feature of the Micra is its incredible interior space. Micra, which is 20mm longer than Swift, offers better legroom, shoulder room and boot space. The twin-bubble dashboard of the Micra benefits from micro grain technology, which reduces the plasticky feeling. However, the Swift's dashboard is commendable and better than Micra, although it is just a hue of black on the inside.
Under the bonnet, The Micra is powered by an 1198cc three-cylinder motor that develops a maximum power of 75bhp at a whooping 6,000 rpm. Three-cylinder engines are infamous for idle vibration but Nissan has come up with a unique technology (oval rotation of the crank pulley) which has considerably cut down idling vibration. Moreover, the Indian version has been tweaked for optimum fuel efficiency and lesser emissions. The Swift on the other hand has a four-cylinder 1.2-litre K Series unit that is refined, torquier and more powerful than the Micra. Micra accelerates from standstill to 100kph in just under 15 seconds and onto a top speed of 160 kph. Meanwhile, the Swift's acceleration is more swift and 0-100 is just 13.5 seconds. Top speed is better too, at 165 kph.
When it comes to ride and handling, Micra outshines the Swift, thanks to its 60 mm longer wheelbase, wheel-at-each-corner chuckability and good aerodynamics realised by the uniquely shaped cabin with a slightly raised roof end. The compact suspension built for the V-platform absorbs plenty of punishment handed out by our roads although there is some amount of body roll. Yet, when compared to Micra, Swift has more engine refinement and it's more happy to cruise at top speeds in highways with minimum NVH levels. Again, Micra emerges as a champion in the city as third gear offers a wide enough power band. However, Micra's gear shifting is slightly rough when it's much slicker on Swift. Braking on both cars is good, but it's the Swift that tends to brake with more confidence.
In short, the Swift has better dynamics, a better engine and is more refined. Moreover, for dependability and after-sales support, no one can touch any car from Maruti stable. But it's the Micra that appears to find the sweet-spot with its brilliant ride quality, unique features and interior space. Micra is more efficient too, 14.05 kpl as against 13.05 kpl for the Swift, overall.
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