The all-new Nissan March, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in, you guessed it, March) went on sale in Japan this week. The March (or Micra, as it's known in Europe) is powered by a new family of inline three-cylinder engines. The base normally-aspirated 1.2-liter is rated at 79 horsepower, and Nissan has also announced a supercharged and direct injected version that should produce over 100 horsepower.
The normally-aspirated engine is available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission along with an automatic start-stop function to switch off the engine when the car comes to a halt. The CVT variant with idle-stop is rated at 61 miles per gallon (U.S.) on the Japanese urban test cycle, which should be equivalent to somewhere in the low to mid 40 mpg range on the EPA cycle.
Nissan has yet to confirm whether it will offer the redesigned Micra/March in the U.S. market.
YOKOHAMA (July 13, 2010) - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announces the Japan launch of the all-new Nissan March, which goes on sale today at Nissan dealers nationwide.
Since its debut in 1982, March has been acclaimed both in Japan and overseas markets for its superior driving ease, great reliability and superb handling. Total global sales to date are 5.65 million units. The new March is the fourth generation of this popular series and has been designed to advance its "user friendly" DNA - with increased drivability and driving pleasure and best-in-class fuel economy*1 of 26.0km/L*2.
Key features of the new March are:
* Adoption of innovative technologies, which achieve the best-in-class fuel economy and improved safety performance
* An exterior that gives the impression of agile, brisk driving and absolute reliability, and a cockpit providing a secure feeling for driver and passengers
* User-friendly equipment with enhanced drivability and usability
Employing a new-generation Xtronic CVT*3 with an auxiliary transmission and Nissan's newly developed 1.2L 3-cylinder HR12DE engine, which achieves both low fuel consumption and outstanding torque performance, March achieves both a 25% improvement in fuel economy over 2010 standards and SU-LEV certification, emitting 75% fewer exhaust emissions than 2005 standards in every grade. This qualifies the vehicle for the tax exemption for environmentally friendly vehicles*4, which provides for a 75% reduction of both new vehicle acquisition and weight taxes.
In addition, the new March adopts an "Idling Stop" system to help reduce gasoline consumption. The system automatically stops the engine when the car is stationary, such as when waiting for a traffic light to change. When Idling Stop is engaged, the engine starts again automatically when the driver turns the steering wheel, or the function can be controlled by changes in brake pedal force. It enables smooth and natural driving according to the driver's intention.
The new March is part of Nissan's ongoing research and development efforts based on the Nissan Green Program 2010 (NGP 2010). In fiscal year 2010, Nissan introduces its two-pillar strategy to reduce CO2 emissions: "zero emissions" and PURE DRIVE. PURE DRIVE vehicles are designed to achieve top-level-in-class fuel economy for mass-produced models by equipping them with optimal next-generation eco-technologies, such as Idling Stop, Clean Diesel and Hybrid. In Japan, March is the first in the series of PURE DRIVE vehicles to be introduced.
1. Expressive Exterior and Interior Design
The new March's exterior expresses a feeling of agile driving and absolute reliability. The body's bold proportions are achieved by lowering the center of gravity, positioning the tires at the extreme corners of the car, expanding the sills outward and extending the rear tread. The side sections, which appear as if cylinders are mounted within, run through the body from the front to the rear providing a secure feeling.
The sleek roofline, with a raised rear end, optimally adjusts airflow to the rear sides to help create excellent aerodynamic performance. Every element of the body is designed to reduce air resistance - such as door mirrors, a large front spoiler and the underbody configuration. March's coefficient of drag is just 0.32.
March's raised front fenders aid the driver's view ahead, while the low waistline provides superior side visibility to help make driving easier in traffic or tight road conditions. Round headlights and arched side windows reflect March's traditional "user friendly" DNA.
In addition, adoption of a lightweight roof panel contributes to low fuel consumption, while a boomerang-shaped bead in the roof panel reduces booming noise in the cabin caused by resonance of the roof. The structure also provides reduced weight and high-rigidity, which improves quietness.
March is available in nine fashionable colors, including three character colors: Spring Green, Night Veil Purple and Crystal Lilac.
Inside, March features a unique "twin bubble" shaped cockpit that gives a secure feeling for both driver and passengers. The arched lines and warm curved surfaces on either side of the instrumental panel create a distinctive bubble-shaped interior space that enhances driving pleasure. A large speedometer placed in the center of the meter cluster provides improved visibility.
Cup holders and pockets are conveniently placed throughout the interior. User-friendly storage spaces include an instrumental panel upper box (12X, 12G, 12X FOUR, 12G FOUR), instrumental panel under box & glove box, front cup holders (two) & rear cup holder (one), front door pocket (with bottle holder), parking brake side pocket and front seat backrest pocket (12G, 12G FOUR). Ample luggage space of 251L is the same as the third-generation March.
Three interior color variations are offered: a fashionable Black/Ivory design providing a bold contrast (12G, 12G FOUR); a warm and clean Natural Gray, which expresses openness and a quality feeling (12X, 12X FOUR); and a chic Black design that shows robustness (12S, 12X, 12X FOUR).
2. Driving Performance, Safety and Eco Technologies
The foundation of the new March's outstanding driving performance is the newly developed HR12DE engine. The lightweight, compact 1.2L 3-cylinder engine achieves best-in-class fuel economy with great combustion efficiency in every grade. The engine also offers powerful torque in the mid- to low- speed range suitable for daily-use, as well as superior quietness achieved by unbalanced mass in a crank pulley and a drive plate that reduces vibrations felt in the cabin during idling, and optimized vehicle rigidity.
March's new-generation Xtronic CVT features a new structure combining a belt-operated CVT with an auxiliary two-speed transmission. The CVT raises the transmission ratio by more than 20 percent compared to other CVTs in its class, providing enhanced responsiveness on starting and acceleration and improved quietness during high-speed driving.
With the auxiliary transmission, the size and weight of the CVT unit is significantly reduced. Friction is reduced by about 30% compared to other CVTs in its class, achieved by the increased transmission ratio, reduced pulley size and weight, and reduced oil agitating resistance - helping improve fuel economy. An electric oil pump is adopted in vehicles equipped with Idling Stop. Quicker oil pressure response improves startup performance and thus contributes to an improvement in fuel economy. While Idling Stop is in operation, pulley rotation is temporarily locked inside the CVT and is slowly unlocked when the engine starts again. This prevents reverse movement during a hill start and enables smooth startup.
The new Idling Stop System is equipped as standard in volume grades 12X and 12G. Fuel economy is improved by 2.0km/L*5 (10-15 mode) by automatically stopping the engine while the car is stationary, such as when waiting for the traffic light to change. The Idle-stop function is actively engaged while the driver operates the car as usual, which makes driving more comfortable and fuel efficient. An indicator shows not only whether the function is in operation or not, but also how long the function is engaged and how much fuel is saved.
While Idling Stop is working, the engine starts again when the driver turns the steering wheel. It enables smooth start according to the intention of the driver. Idling Stop also functions depending on how the brake pedal is operated. For example, the engine starts again before the driver completely releases the brake pedal, or Idling Stop continues to function despite the slight change in brake pedal pressure. Since the vehicle judges which is preferred, natural and comfortable driving is realized.
In addition, while Idling Stop is in operation the air-conditioner works only as a ventilator. If the driver wants to cool or heat the air, the OFF switch can be pressed to turn Idling Stop off.
The new March features an optimized layout and simplified body structure. The platform, from floor panel to suspension, is newly designed, offering high rigidity and light weight.
March also offers a long list of available safety and eco technologies, including:
* Auto light system (linked front wipers, dawn sensors) (12G, 12G FOUR)
* Optimum light distribution, multi-reflector halogen headlights (manual control)
* Rear windshield wiper
* High Mount Stop Lamp
* ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)
* EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution)
* High-strength body construction (Zone Body)
* Body construction for pedestrian protection
* SRS air bag system for driver and front passenger
* SRS side air bag, curtain air bag system for driver and front passenger (12G, 12G FOUR) (Optional on 12S, 12X, 12X FOUR)
* Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) 3-point seatbelts for all seats
* Load limiter equipped pretensioner seatbelts for front seats
* Smooth Acceleration Assist
* Variable Valve Timing
* Electric-assisted power steering
* Variable control of voltage for power generation with alternator (including regenerative charging function with braking energy)
* Achieves SU-LEV certification by emitting 75% fewer exhaust emissions than 2005 standards
* Achieves 25% improvement in fuel economy over 2010 standards
* Achieves 2015 Fuel Economy Standard
* Achieves more than 95% recyclability rate
3. Friendly Package/Equipments for Better Drivability and Usability
Along with its innovative powertrain, advanced eco-credentials and outstanding exterior and interior designs, the new March is extremely easy to live with day in and day out.
For example, the large glass area ensures good all-around visibility. By increasing the size of the front windshield, both horizontally and vertically, it is easier to see traffic lights (even on the stop line) and to check around the vehicle when turning right or left.
With increased shock absorber coverage and a newly designed soft-setting suspension that softly absorbs vibration, a flat and comfortable drive feel is realized even on bumpy roads.
A Tire Angle Indicator on the meter display shows tire direction, steering angle and traveling direction. When the driver is not sure about the tire direction while starting, backing into a parking place or making a quick turn, he or she can immediately check the tire direction. (12G, 12G FOUR)
A Friendly Message Display Function, which automatically shows greetings and anniversaries, encourages a feeling of closeness with March. (12G, 12G FOUR)
Also available is an Intelligent Key with Push Engine Start, which can lock/unlock doors or start the engine without using a key. The doors can easily be locked, even when carrying luggage. (12X, 12G, 12X FOUR, 12G FOUR)
Another convenient item is the Automatic Retractable Door-lock-linked Door Mirror. Door mirrors are automatically retracted in conjunction with locking doors with the Intelligent Key or Request Switch. Since the door mirrors are retracted after getting out of the car, the driver can check the rear side before opening the door. (12X, 12G, 12X FOUR, 12G FOUR)
Sales target: 4,000 units/month (Average in model life)
Price range: 999,600 yen to 1,644,300 yen, including consumption tax
Sales launch events: July 17 (Sat.) - 19 (Mon.), 24 (Sat.) - 25 (Sun.), 2010
1. *1: 1.0L-1.5L class without hybrid vehicles. (as of July 2010. Data by Nissan)
2. *2: Models with Idling Stop.
3. *3: Continuously Variable Transmission.
4. *4: By achieving both SU-LEV certification by emitting 75% fewer exhaust emissions than 2005 standards and 25% improvement in fuel economy over 2010 standards, automobile acquisition tax for new vehicles registered until March 31st 2012 will receive a 75% reduction.
Automobile weight tax for new vehicles registered until April 30th 2012 will receive a 75% reduction.
In addition, automobile tax for the next year of registration for the vehicle that will be newly registered until March 31, 1012, will be reduced by 50%.
Nissan promotes environmentally friendly vehicles that meet government tax incentives under its Nissan ECO (NECO) series. Currently there are 20 models as of July 13th 2010. Models are :「Moco」「Otti」「Roox」「March」「Note」「Cube」「Tiida」「Tiida Latio」「Wingroad」「Serena」「Juke」「Dualis」「X-Trail」「Lafesta」「Skyline Sedan」「Fuga」「AD/AD Expert」「NV200 Vanette」「Atlas F24」「Atlas H43」.
5. *5: Models without Idling Stop.