The most interesting car I have yet to see at the Toronto auto show is the 2015 Nissan Micra -- $9,998 to start when it goes on sale this spring.
Okay, now who wants an electric car, or a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid or a hydrogen fuel cell car? Because if fuel efficiency and a light footprint are your goals, the teeny, tiny Micra is the perfect antidote to electric vehicle (EV) madness.
Here's the irony: Nissan also sells the battery-powered LEAF. However, the cheapest LEAF will run you more than three times the cost of a Micra, and that's with taxpayers slipping thousands into your wallet to help pay for your ride. With the LEAF, you'll be range-limited to about 100 km in the real world and you'll need to plug in and wait for a re-charge – and wait and wait and wait…
Not with the Micra. It will zip around the city powered by a modern 1.6-litre four-banger. You'll get 600 or 700 km between fill-ups, which will take three minutes. Canada's cheapest car, an unapologetic city runabout, looks cute, seats four, has a useful cargo area and sips teaspoons of gas on your commute.
The Micra is an affordable, sensible way to wean us from our collective fossil fuel addiction. Best of all, taxpayers aren't on the hook for bribes to juice sales.
If hard-driving Nissan Canada president Christian Meunier has his way, the Micra will have "a huge impact on the market." The car has the potential to reinvent buyer perceptions and rattle competitors who swear they can't make money selling small, fuel-efficient cars.
"Nissan does not sell any unprofitable cars," he says, suggesting that sales of 10,000 Micras a year are possible. Most interesting.
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