Deliveries of Nissan’s Micra C+C won’t start till 14 November but the cleverest Micra yet will be appearing at Nissan dealers as part of a national pre-launch tour.
Customers are also now able to order their own personal C+C show – the ticket price starts at £13,150 which includes four seats all with a sky view. That’s thanks to the unique-in-class (because it’s glass) C-VIEW electrically folding roof.
The C+C is the latest SHIFT_ for Nissan’s Micra and has been three years in the making. Or rather the designing and engineering for its journey began at the Paris Motor Show 2002 when the C+C was just a concept. Press and public alike raised their thumbs so Nissan, never one to turn down an opportunity, wasted no time in teaming convertible specialists, Karmann of Germany, with its own UK based designers and engineers to turn the concept into top-dropping reality.
London can take the credit for the C+C’s shape. Created at Nissan’s Paddington design centre, the C+C is longer (by 116mm), lower (by 79mm) and sleeker (look at the pictures) than the Micra hatchback. In fact only the front wings, bonnet and basic platform are shared between the two. The more acute angle of the windscreen hides stronger pillars for added protection in the event of a roll-over accident. It also extends much further over the cabin than in the standard hatchback – this means not just smoother looks but also less space required to house the folded roof. And so leaves more room for baggage.
Karmann strengthened the Micra’s platform aided and abetted by Nissan’s Cranfield based technical centre. An example of their work is a ‘dynamic damper’ to eliminate typical convertible shake. They also beefed up the car’s side sills and added under-floor bracing, a rear torsion wall and an additional front cross member, their aim being to counter the 80% loss of rigidity you get when you remove a car’s roof. Which is all very impressive but also rather dull. So let’s move onto the roof.
Nissan could have gone the easy route and fitted a folding canvas top. But it didn’t. Micras spend a lot of time in cities where vandalising fabric roofs is a leisure pursuit and where the rain can be as hard as the women. Nissan therefore went for a more complicated folding hardtop. With a unique-in-glass, sorry, -class difference.
The Karmann designed two-piece roof takes just 22 seconds to fold. Nissan has christened the roof Auto-Open Roof because it does just that – there’s no need to do any unseemly twisting of levers and tricep exercising push-ups around the windscreen as in some other convertibles. In the C+C, a single push on a centre console mounted button does the job for you, folding the roof clamshell-styley into the boot area. And that includes lowering the side windows. The crowd drawing operation can also be performed at a walking pace. Ideal for when you get caught short at fast changing traffic lights.
Even with the roof folded into the boot, there are 255 litres of luggage room available. When the roof is up, though, this increases to 457 litres. That’s more than a Nissan Murano has under its luggage cover with the rear seats up. Perhaps surprisingly, the Micra C+C has its own pair of rear seats making it a more practical choice than some of its less sociable rivals. They’re fine for children, or grown-ups going round the corner, or as a well-upholstered place to stash shopping bags. No need, though, to move everything into the boot when the car is left top down because there’s a lockable storage area under the front seat for sunglasses, a camera and the like.
Those sunglasses won’t just be required for roof down posing. Even with the roof up, the C+C is a sunny place to be thanks to the C-VIEW roof with its integral glass panel. Should the sun be too hot, or the clouds too depressing, a retractable sunblind can be pulled across the roof. But even if you don’t, the glass is thermally insulated to minimise heat build up.
The starting price for the C+C is £13,150. This is for the URBIS, which as any Latin scholar will know means ‘city’. It’s powered by the same 1.4-litre 88PS engine found in the Micra hatch and gives acceleration to 62mph in 12.8 seconds. The URBIS will go 42.8 miles on a gallon of petrol and emits 158g/km of CO2. Features wise it gets, for example, 15″ alloy wheels, electric windows all round, electric/heated door mirrors, six speaker CD radio with steering wheel mounted controls, a trip computer, sports seats, front fogs, switchoffable passenger airbag, and a mild body-kit modelled on the new Micra 160SR. Plus of course the C-VIEW® and Auto-Open Roof system. Manual air conditioning is a £500 option.
Or for £845 more, top droppers could have the 1.6 SPORT. This version is powered by Nissan’s newest petrol engine, the 1.6-litre 110PS unit first seen in the Micra 160SR and due to appear soon in the Note. With this engine, the C+C accelerates to 62mph in 10.6 seconds, returns 42.2mpg on the combined cycle and emits 160g/km of CO2. The extra £845 over the URBIS gets not just extra oomph but extra equipment, too, namely 16″ graphite coloured alloys, manual air conditioning and alloy look interior trim. For £250, the aircon can be upgraded to automatic climate control.
Topping the open top C+C range is the £14,995 ESSENZA, which means ‘essence’ in Italian. For £1000 more than the SPORT, it adds climate control, heated leather seats with Alcantara door trim, in-dash 6CD autochanger, electronic stability programme, and Nissan’s Intelligent Key system which means the car’s keyfob can forever stay in your hand/manbag. And knowing where your keys are means you’ll leave home five minutes earlier every time.
All are offered in a choice of nine ever-so-fashionable colours (including one specific to C+C). They were developed by Nissan’s colour studio in London under the influence of the fashions, rather than something else, being worn in the trendier parts of town. The same goes for the interior which is available in sophisticated Graphite as well as a bolder Ice Blue with Chocolate trim. That might sound like something you’d drink in a trendy cocktail bar but it further brightens what is already a sunny place to be. Even when it isn’t.