Nissan’s pint-sized Micra has long been one of our favourite entry-level cars, especially when loaded up in SR trim. That’s how we tested today’s review model, complete with aero styling upgrades…

2017 Nissan Micra SR Road Test

Just in case you're not already aware, there's no better new car for your money than the Nissan Micra. For just $9,988 plus freight and fees, which makes it the least expensive new car in Canada, the 2017 Micra represents the best value in the entire auto industry.

What's more, it's so much fun to drive that Nissan Canada developed a spec racing series dubbed Nissan Micra Cup to tout its performance prowess, a smart way to change common perceptions about life with an entry-level sub-subcompact economy car.

In case you're wondering, the Micra Cup racing-spec car is no more formidable off the line than the just noted stock machine, its DOHC, 16-valve, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine providing an identical 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, which is sports car territory when factoring in the model's scant 1,044-kilo (2,302-lb) curb weight.

To put that last claim into perspective, the pre-owned 1985 Toyota MR2 mid-engine sports car that I Read Full Story
Heartbreaking news of children and animals left to suffer in the back seats of cars during sweltering summer heat might eventually become history if Nissan has its way, much thanks to an innovative new…

2018 Pathfinder receives potentially life-saving Rear Door Alert

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Did you leave something or someone in the back seat of your car when you went into the house or grocery store? (Photo: Nissan)
Heartbreaking news of children and animals left to suffer in the back seats of cars during sweltering summer heat might eventually become history if Nissan has its way, much thanks to an innovative new technology that gently reminds drivers of someone or something that may have been left in the back seat, or if they’re still not paying attention, multiple honks from the horn once out of the car with the door closed. Nissan’s “Rear Door Alert” (RDA), which will be exclusive to all 2018 Pathfinder trims when it debuts this fall, starts monitoring the rear door switches as soon as the SUV is unlocked, and if a back door has been opened and then closed again it banks the “memory” for later when the driver arrives at a destination and shuts off the engine.
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Nissan’s new Rear Door Alert reminds when you might have left a little something or someone in back, potentially saving a life. (Photo: Nissan)
When parking the 2018 Pathfinder, a reminder will pop up on the primary instrument cluster telling the driver not to forget whatever was previously placed in the back seat. If these subtle prompts are ignored, by the SUV’s rear doors not being reopened after the driver’s door has been closed, the Pathfinder’s horn will deliver a series of short, distinctive chirps to get the driver’s attention. “The idea is if you open a rear door, whether to put a child or a package in the rear seat, the vehicle will help alert you when you get to your destination that you may want to check the rear seat,” said Marlene Mendoza, who together with fellow Nissan engineer Elsa Foley came up with the idea. “We’ve built in enough time that you don’t have to rush, but if you don’t open the rear door again when you get out of the vehicle, we want to think for a moment about what you may have put in the back seat.”
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
The difference between other systems and new Rear Door Alert, is it both reminds when inside the car and honks if you leave without checking behind. (Photo: Nissan)
In the event you don’t have children, aging parents/grandparents, pets, or anyone/anything else that shouldn’t be left behind, it’s possible to override the RDA completely or merely limit the reminders to the instrument cluster alone. After all, it’s best to keep a low profile if you just went shopping and don’t want to alert any would-be burglars that something valuable is in the back of your vehicle, or simply would rather leave your groceries, briefcase, gym bag or what-have-you in back while doing something else. Then again, even if you’re childless you still might appreciate having the system’s built-in memory ready and waiting as a backup. “We pushed each other along and knew we were on the right track one morning when Marlene discovered she had left a pan of lasagna in the back seat of her car one night after coming home after a long day at the office,” said Foley. “The worst thing was the car smelled for days, but it made me ask myself, “what if that had been something else back there?’”
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
For those without small children or grandkids, Nissan provides a way to turn it off. (Photo: Nissan)
The concept of automaker employees turning real-life experiences into potentially lifesaving innovation is certainly refreshing, and something that Nissan is said to foster in its global corporate culture. “There’s a culture of innovation along with the Nissan Intelligent Mobility mission that really encourages employees around the world to seek out new ideas every day,” added Mendoza, who is also a mother of three. “We’re thankful that we were able to use our perspective as moms, and our backgrounds as engineers, to bring forward an idea that is now going into production — providing drivers with a reminder to check their back seats.” While the Rear Door Alert is new to Nissan, General Motors introduced something similar called “Rear Seat Reminder” with the 2017 GMC Acadia last year, and is already rolling out the system on other models this year. This said Nissan’s RDA should be even more effective than GM’s, because the Acadia gives no warning once its driver has left the vehicle.
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Rear Door Alert will be standard in all 2018 Pathfinder trims. (Photo: Nissan)
Concerned citizens can only hope Nissan and GM either license their technologies or other automakers follow suit shortly, because the problem of children and animals dying from heat stroke in the back of hot cars doesn’t seem to be abating, despite the continued news stories surrounding the subject. Back in August of this year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hosted a public awareness event on the dangers of heat stroke for children left in hot vehicles, stating the number of child heat stroke deaths in the U.S. increased by 63 percent from 2015 to 2016—no similar data was available for Canada. As of July 31, 2017, both NoHeatStroke.org and KidsAndCars.org claimed that 29 children had died from the same problem year-to-date in the U.S., while the average number of children suffering a similar fate has been 37 since specifically recording heat stroke deaths in vehicles began in 1998. What’s more, 54 percent of those children were left behind by caregivers who completely forgot they were there, which makes both General Motors’ and Nissan’s rear seat alert systems all the more critical.
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Rear Door Alert could reduce child heat stroke deaths and injuries significantly. (Photo: Nissan)
“The Rear Door Alert uses a similar honking cue that has been proven successful with Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert,” added Foley, who is also a mother of two children. “By drawing your attention back to the vehicle once you’ve walked away, you are more likely to recheck the back seat than with a visual alert alone.” While the Rear Door Alert will be standard equipment on the 2018 Pathfinder, Nissan plans to add it to other models across its lineup as quickly as possible.
Nissan has given its popular Versa Note a refresh for 2017, changing up its styling and improving its feature set. Today we test it in top-line SL trim, complete with fog lamps, 16-inch alloys, heated…

2017 Nissan Versa Note SL Road Test

Living with an entry-level economy car doesn't have to be a boring or uncomfortable experience, and Nissan's Versa Note is especially good at dealing with the latter issue.

The Japanese brand's second smallest hatchback gets a mid-cycle update for 2017, highlighted by a particularly attractive new "V-Motion" chromed grille design sourced from previously restyled models within Nissan's ever-growing lineup of cars, SUVs and trucks.

Along with the tiny Micra city car, plus the Juke and new Qashqai SUVs, the Versa Note is in charge of attracting newcomers and fixed income earners to the automaker, its very approachable $14,498 base price one of its more agreeable attributes. For that you get a nifty looking little runabout that's better made than many in the subcompact class.

It's motivated by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing a rambunctious 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, yet its claimed fuel economy is even more smile-inducing at 7.5 L/100km in Read Full Story
Listen up. Just in case you haven’t already heard, there’s no better new car for your money than Nissan’s Micra. For just $9,988 plus freight and dealer fees, which makes it the least expensive…

2017 Nissan Micra SR

2017 Nissan Micra SR
Nissan’s 2017 Micra remains a great looking little entry-level hatchback, especially in top-line SR trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Listen up. Just in case you haven’t already heard, there’s no better new car for your money than Nissan’s Micra. For just $9,988 plus freight and dealer fees, which makes it the least expensive new car in Canada, the 2017 Micra represents the best value in the entire auto industry. What’s more, it’s so much fun to drive that Nissan Canada developed a spec racing series dubbed Nissan Micra Cup to tout its performance prowess, a smart way to change common perceptions about life with an entry-level sub-subcompact economy car. In case you’re wondering, the Micra Cup racing-spec car is no more formidable off the line than the stock machine being sold for less than $10k, its DOHC, 16-valve, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine making an equal 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, which is sports car territory when factoring in its scant 1,044-kilo (2,302-lb) curb weight.
2017 Nissan Micra SR
The black mirror caps, door handles and stripes are from an accessories option package. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
To put that last claim into perspective, the pre-owned 1985 Toyota MR2 mid-engine sports car that I managed to talk my boss into giving me for a daily driver after a particularly good sales month (I sold cars for a Toyota dealer in the late ‘80s) tipped the scales at a nearly identical 1,035 kilograms (2,282 lbs) and made 112 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque from its AE86 Corolla-sourced 1.6-litre four. It was ruddy quick for its era, and while I won’t directly compare Toyota’s brilliant little “Twin Cam” and its sonorous 7,500-rpm redline to the Micra’s more utilitarian 6,600 maximum spin, both cars utilized standard five-speed manuals and optional four-speed automatics.
2017 Nissan Micra SR
The 16-inch alloys, rocker extensions, additional chrome, unique headlights and tail lamps, plus more comes with RS trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Rather than be forced to respond to all the MR2 faithful’s hate mail pointing out the obvious benefits of a short-throw manual gearbox, lower centre of gravity, mid-engine rear-wheel drive chassis layout, etcetera ad nauseum, let’s just agree that owning a modern-day subcompact with a similar power-to-weight ratio to a revered classic sports car can result in plenty of smiles at the wheel, whether you have the talent of current 2017 Micra Cup season leader Olivier Bédard, or simply enjoy a spirited drive while commuting back and forth to work, university, or running errands.
2017 Nissan Micra SR
Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean the Micra comes without flair, the roof getting these cool sculpted swoops to aid aerodynamics and style. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
In truth, today’s Micra has more in common with Toyota’s superb little 2004–2005 Echo Hatchback, which was also a tall, two-box front-drive subcompact, albeit with a 1.5-litre four making 108 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque, a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, and once again a featherlight curb weight of 944 kg (2,081 lbs). It was a cute looking little hatch as well, especially in sportier RS trim, a car I’d love to pick up with its base manual gearbox in good condition. Being that the base Echo Hatch started at $12,995 back in its day, the pricier RS still fetches $4,000 to $5,000 now, which makes the 13-year newer Micra seem all the more appealing.
2017 Nissan Micra SR
The 2017 Micra SR offers a lot for just over $16k. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
As you can probably tell from the photos, the 2017 Micra SR currently in our garage sells for considerably more than the base S model Nissan woos us down to its dealerships to check out. While the Micra S starts at $9,988, it moves directly up to $13,648 when adding the aforementioned automatic, an upgrade that also bundles in air-conditioning and steering wheel-mounted switchgear complete with cruise controls (the base model’s “naked” steering wheel looks a bit odd in a new 2017 model). I should also mention these features come alongside a standard menu that includes tilt steering, a trip computer, variable intermittent wipers, an intermittent rear wiper, AM/FM/CD audio with speed-sensitive volume control and an aux jack, fabric seat trim, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, vented front disc and rear drum brakes with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, stability and traction control, all the expected airbags, plus more.
2017 Nissan Micra SR
Upgraded sport upholstery includes cool blue and black patterned seat inserts for a classier effect. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Second-rung SV trim, available from $14,048, makes those last items standard no matter the chosen transmission, while also adding illuminated audio and Bluetooth phone controls to the left spoke of the steering wheel, powered windows and locks, the latter featuring remote keyless entry with a panic alarm, body-colour power-adjustable heated side mirrors, body-colour door handles, two more driver’s seat adjustments for a total of six, a flip-down driver’s seat armrest, upgraded cloth upholstery, chrome interior door handles, two more stereo speakers totalling four, and more.
2017 Nissan Micra SR
Rear seat comfort and roominess is… we’ll tell you all when we publish our upcoming road test review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Put beside these two models the top-line Micra SR seems ultra-luxe, thanks to unique sport headlights and taillights, fog lamps, chrome around those fogs as well as the front fascia’s lower grille, side sill extensions, a rear rooftop spoiler, a chromed exhaust tip, and machine-finished 16-inch alloys with black painted pockets on 185/55 all-season rubber (instead of 15-inch steel wheels with covers encircled by 185/60 all-seasons) on the outside, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel rim, a leather-wrapped shift knob (on manual transmission models), sport fabric seat and door insert upholstery, a 4.3-inch colour display audio system with an integrated rearview parking monitor, a USB port, and more for $16,188 plus freight and fees.
2017 Nissan Micra SR
Likewise for luggage space… more details to come. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
My $17,188 tester, which includes $1,000 for the automatic transmission, adds $135 for Gun Metallic grey paint while boasting a $460 Colour Studio Trend package from the accessories catalogue featuring coloured mirror caps, door handles, and side sport stripes (glossy black the chosen “colour” in this instance), boosting the as-tested price to $17,783. Despite the Micra’s fabulous base price, I’d be tempted to choose this very trim and accessories package upgrade because it looks so great and drives so well, minus the autobox for improved performance and a lower price. I’ll go into more detail describing this 2017 Micra SR’s driving dynamics in my upcoming review, while also going into more detail about features usability, interior quality, comfort, roominess, and more. I might even talk sales numbers, being that the Micra outsells all of its key competitors by a grand margin, even shaming larger subcompact models when it comes to popularity. Of course all this makes sense, the Micra being a street-legal race car and all. Come back soon for my full review…
Getting an economy car doesn’t have to be boring or uncomfortable, Nissan’s Versa Note especially good at relieving the latter problem. The Japanese brand’s second smallest hatchback gets a mid-cycle…

2017 Nissan Versa Note SL

2017 Nissan Versa Note SL
Love the new retro Coca Embers metallic brown paint, just one option for the refreshed 2017 Versa Note. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Getting an economy car doesn’t have to be boring or uncomfortable, Nissan’s Versa Note especially good at relieving the latter problem. The Japanese brand’s second smallest hatchback gets a mid-cycle update for 2017, highlighted by a particularly attractive new “V-Motion” chromed grille design sourced from previously restyled models within Nissan’s every growing lineup of cars, SUVs and trucks. Along with the tiny Micra city car, plus the Juke and new Qashqai SUVs, the Versa Note is in charge of attracting newcomers and fixed income earners to the automaker, its very approachable $14,498 base price one of its more agreeable attributes. For that you get a nifty looking little runabout that’s better made than many in subcompact class, its 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing a rambunctious 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque and its claimed fuel economy an even more smile-inducing 7.5 L/100km in the city and 6.0 on the highway when hooked up to its optional as-tested CVT. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard in base S and second-rung SV trims, as well as this top-line SL, whereas the CVT is optional in all three of these and standard in the “sportier” SR, which sits between the SV and SL in the Versa Note trim hierarchy. Just why Nissan decided a CVT would endear performance fans to a sport model is anyone’s guess, so let’s just say the SR’s sporting prowess is limited to styling plus wheels and tires.
2017 Nissan Versa Note SL
The 2017 Versa Note gets a new chromed grille and more up front plus the sportier rear bumper from the SR in back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
You’d be forgiven for thinking my tester’s slick looking new machine-finished 16-inch alloys on 195/55HR16 all-seasons were part of the sportier package, but these are unique to the top-tier SL, some of its other features including fog lamps, heatable powered side mirrors, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, a larger 5.8-inch colour infotainment touchscreen (up from 5.0 inches) with navigation and a 360-degree Around View parking camera, voice recognition, satellite radio and SiriusXM Traffic, plus more. Additionally, key features pulled up from lesser trims include a leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated controls, premium cloth upholstery and door inserts, piano black inlays, extra silver interior accents, Fine Vision electroluminescent primary gauges, a trip computer, outside temperature display, cruise control, air conditioning, vanity mirrors, NissanConnect with mobile apps, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with streaming audio, text messaging functionality, aux and USB ports (with the latter port relocated to the front portion of the lower console), a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, heatable front seats (that are now standard on the SV and SR trims), a rear-seat centre armrest with integrated cupholders, variable intermittent flat-blade wipers, intermittent rear wiper, rear cargo cover, Divide-N-Hide adjustable cargo floor, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, and all the usual active and passive safety features.
2017 Nissan Versa Note SL
The SL packs in a lot of standard kit for a car in the subcompact class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Of course the 2017 Versa Note SL is priced higher than the base S, but it’s less than $20k at $19,748, and can only be pushed higher by adding dealer-installed accessories like a $329 body-colour rear rooftop spoiler, $100 chromed door handles, a $49 chrome exhaust tip, $151 illuminated metal treadplates, and plenty more, the only extra I’d add being a $329 auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated Homelink garage door opener. I’ll comment more on comfort in my upcoming review, and of course go on at length about driving dynamics, interior quality, feature functionality, and critically important in this class, passenger roominess plus cargo capacity and flexibility. Until then take note that the grille isn’t the only new item on the 2017 Versa Note’s update list, other modifications including the front bumper and lower front fascia, plus the rear bumper that now features last year’s sportier SR styling across the entire range. The SL isn’t the only one to get new wheels either, with new 15-inch alloys for the SV and new covers for the base model’s 15-inch steel wheels. Those looking to stand out from the crowd will appreciate new Monarch Orange paint too, whereas Deep Blue Pearl makes the little hatch look richer and my tester’s Coca Embers adding a retro ‘70s cool factor. Other than the feature adjustments already noted, the only notable changes inside are larger cupholders across the line and a second 12-volt power outlet on all but the base model. Come back soon for the full review…