I am interested in buying a new, small, manual car. My current car is a 2002 Honda Jazz.
I like the look of the new Nissan Micra. What are your suggestions as to the best car for me?
There are more than 20 options among cars this size, so it's a confronting situation you're in.
Before we get to what car you should buy, a couple of broad pieces of advice:
- Watch my video about how to beat car dealers. It will tell you more than most people know about their tricks of the trade.
- Don't go to a car dealer and test drive the new [whatever car] - and then make a decision based on that. All new cars feel much better than 12-year-old used cars. You want to get a feel for the cars currently on the market, and make a choice based on those relativities.
- Test-drive the car(s) on roads you know.
- Don't believe anything a car dealer tells you about price, sales - whatever. Their single, over-arching objective is not to let you leave without a deposit paid and a signature on a contract to buy. I strongly advise you to use a car broker to insulate you from car dealers' worst practises, and also to secure the best possible price. More information here.
This Nissan Micra is built in India. I don't think it's an example of excellence among light cars. A facelift is due sometime this year. Unfortunately though the Micra doesn't really measure up in terms of features or power delivery. It's not nearly as good as your old Jazz. The Micra has an anorexic 1.2-litre engine - it will feel as if it only has half an engine (it used to come with a 1.5, when it was built in Indonesia, but they dropped that when production shifted to India).
You can see more about where cars are really built in my video on where your new car really comes from.
Basically I think the benchmark light car is the Kia Rio - you get five years' warranty as opposed to three (Nissan, Honda, etc). It's such a better car than the Micra it's just not funny. Here's a rough statement about the main benefits of the Rio:
- Six-speed manual (Micra: five)
- Almost double the engine power
- Two-thirds more torque
- Five stars for safety (Micra: four)
The Rio you want is the 1.6-litre manual Si. Here are the comparative specifications:
Some other resources:
- Comparison between Rio and Hyundai i20
- Related Kia Rio Q&A
- Hyundai Accent video review (comparative mention of Rio)
I hope this helps.
Any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact me via the website.