Test Driven in April
Photos by Adrian Wong
It’s not flashy, it’s not loud, but yet it draws stares from passers-by to no end. The new Nissan March Limited Edition has proven that dressing well can gain you the right kind of admiration and attention that you want.
Sitting pretty in its cheery multi-coloured striped outfit, the new 1.2-litre supermini received looks from adults and children alike, males and females, the old and the young. It is true after all that “Clothes maketh a man” and one who knows how to dress up well and look good leaves a deeper impression on others.
Taking the March out for a spin in the day, my spirits were lifted in tandem with the happy stripes of the car’s body as people around cocked their heads to one side with a smile on their faces. This was really helpful because there aren’t too many things to be happy about once behind the wheel.
Newly launched in March (probably because of its name), the new Nissan March is into its fourth generation and is developed and built on the Japanese manufacturer’s all-new V-platform. The last time I drove a facelifted 1.4-litre Nissan March was back in 2008 and I remember it was a simple and fuss-free test drive.
Three years on and here is a new March in both manual and automatic gearboxes with a 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated aluminium HR12DE 3-cylinder engine. This, derived from the HR15DE 4-cylinder engine that powers the bigger Latio and Sylphy.
Matched with just a four-speed gearbox, let’s not deceive ourselves here – you can’t expect the March to be very quick on its feet or to power through traffic like Road Runner of Looney Tunes with its 76bhp output. Adding to that, the maximum torque of 105Nm will not help to make the March any more nimble. That said however, the March makes an excellent ride for students, new drivers or anyone who just wants to get from one point to another as it fulfils all fundamental requirements of a car.
As with any facelift or new-generation model, there will always be cosmetic alterations. For this, there is the double-layer integrated front grille, a higher ceiling for more headroom and longer body for more leg room. The interior of the March is also decently spacious, both in the front and in the back, and it has a cute centre console display with its controls and dials.
Aside from this colourful Limited Edition March you see here, the March is usually available in 10 cheerful colours including three new ones: Spring Green, Sunlight Orange and Crystal Lilac.
It is not fair to expect too much of a 1.2-litre supermini, but the March’s price tag of $85,800 (with COE) is quite alarming. Ignoring the pricing, the March is actually quite the chic starlet and getting owners for it is not a problem. However, in such times it is indeed quite hard for potential March buyers to swallow the digits that follow the dollar sign; especially when cars like the Honda Jazz 1.3 LA (A) cost $89,900 (with COE).
No doubt that the small engine capacity of the March will mean lower road tax, insurance and fuel costs, but the initial upfront financial commitment is simply too much to bear.
Nissan March 1.2 (A)
Engine: 1,198cc DOHC In-line 3-cylinder
Transmission: Four-speed automatic
Max Power: 76bhp at 6,000rpm
Max Torque: 104Nm at 4,000rpm
0-100km/h: 16.7 secs
Top Speed: 152km/h
Distributor: Tan Chong Motors