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2009 Nissan Micra - 9th December 2009


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Nissan Micra

What is it about me and bloody hire cars. Have I offended the God of Rentals? Whatever I do I get a crap car. Holiday booked in the tropical paradise of Mauritius, 6 months before the trip hire car chosen: Citroen C3 - cheap, cheerful and French suspension, ideal for the roads over there. I had a nagging doubt at the back of mind following the debacle with the Seat in Italy but it couldn’t happen again could it? Our friend (with a family house on the Island) assured me it would all be ok.

The niggle was growing as we rode in Tricky’s hired Lancer towards the rental office. I was not polishing the shades in anticipation of slipping behind the wheel of a car not driven before, albeit a modest French car. As we turned into the car park in front of the office I was praying under my breath "Please God don’t, please God not that thing". My epistle fell on deaf ears. I must have been a really bad boy - sitting outside the rental office was a black Nissan Micra!

It is a well known fact that I hate these things and their drivers with a passion. "NO, NO, NO" I implored, but my cries were drowned out by the laughter of my family. "Karma" was their response. Luckily, fellow DA Mike cheered me up with a text containing the old hire car maxim "There is nothing faster than a hire car - drive like you stole it".

Well I beg to differ - this 27,000km fresh Micra was anything but quick. 1ltr was always going to struggle with 4 up but still it was a slug. Grip was surprisingly good on the near perfect Mauritian tarmac but the steering wheel was like something from PC World as it had about the same feel as one attached to a video game so you had no idea what was going on. The space inside was reasonable, the cabin light and airy but the pale tan interior was suffering - showing that tourists are a mucky lot.

The brakes stopped you - but then you were never going fast enough to make it an issue. The narrow tyres proved not only grippy but good at cutting through the standing water forming on every road - the "driest month of the year" turned out to be only dry indoors with torrential rain for 4 days. Maybe if it had been dry I would have been bemoaning the lack of go as the roads over the mountain were cracking but the major concern was the wiper control stalk - it was the opposite side to UK cars and for the 100th time I switched the wipers off instead of indicating left.

I can confirm that the blower was good at clearing the windscreen, that the rear wiper was too small for the upright rear hatch window, leaving a dirty patch where you need to look through (unless you’re one of Happy’s mates). Fuel consumption, at 31 mpg, was more than I expected but nowhere near as good as the Swift or Ibiza we DA’s run, but the air con - on all the time - must have played its part.

Look on the bright side – with the weather as it was it’s just as well I hadn’t blown a fortune on hiring a convertible like some of the other poor guests in the hotel. Overall then I suppose the Micra’s an OK car for those people who don’t care a jot about driving or cars in general. It felt like it was designed to appeal to those who fit that description but I can’t help but think that they would be better off on a train or bus staring out of the window contemplating which shade of beige to wear to the organ recital that evening.

Nick.

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