The Nissan March is a supermini car available since 1982. It is now in its fifth generation of design.
Nissan March Design and Introduction
The first release of the Nissan March (K10) occurred in late 1982 as a replacement to the Nissan Cherry. The Japanese automaker wanted to continue forward in the supermini segment, but add a refreshed model that avoided the increasing size that had happened to the Cherry model. Like many Nissan models, the Nissan March was sold under different names depending on the market. While the Japanese domestic market knows it as the March and was sold at Nissan Cherry Store locations, the European market and some other export markets received the nearly-identical Nissan Micra. Some equipment changes can differ between the models based on the markets sold in, but they are essentially the same vehicle. It’s also worth noting that some models still carried the Datsun name, even though Nissan was distancing itself from the brand name in an effort to use Nissan exclusively. In order to meet the demands of the supermini segment, which put efficiency above most everything else, it was constructed on an extremely lightweight chassis and weighed in at a mere 1,389 pounds (620 kg).
Engine and Performance
The engine used was specific to the March and the gearing was particularly high. Most markets had the option of a 1.0L MA10S inline-4 with 49 horsepower or a 1.2L MA12S inline-4 engine with 54 horsepower, but the Japanese domestic market later received a turbocharged variant in the 930cc MA09ERT inline-4 engine, producing 56 horsepower out of the smallest engine in the lineup. The transmission options included a 4 or 5-speed manual and a 3-speed Nissanmatic automatic transmission. Having the 5-speed manual and an automatic transmission in a supermini vehicle was quite uncommon, providing the March with a significant competitive edge. The March earned a solid reputation for an economical vehicle that also had good reliability, beating the statistical failure rate of the Volkswagen Polo and Fiat Uno. It also introduced some higher-end trim levels that brought enhanced exterior styling and some internal upgrades such as racing seats and a tachometer.
Second Generation Updates
In 1992, the second-generation Nissan March (K11) was released. The design took some of the sharp, angular characteristics and softened them with slightly rounded body panels. A major change happened under the hood as new fully-aluminum options were brought in. A 1.0L CG10DE engine with 54 horsepower and 1.3L CG13DE engine with a much improved 74 horsepower were offered. A 1.5L TUD4 diesel engine was also available. Transmission choices now included a 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, and a continuously variable transmission option. Nissan added significant safety features to the March which were another uncommon sight on superminis. These include structural rigidity components like side-impact door beams, as well as driver’s airbag and pre-tensioning seat belts. The Nissan March (Micra in the European market) received the European Car of the Year award in 1993, and was the first Japanese car to do so. A 1997 update included stylistic changes as well as major changes to the interior and dashboard.
Third Generation Changes
In 2002, the third generation March hit the market. It was first unveiled at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, and brought in a much more modern style with slightly larger wheelbase and overall external dimensions. Engine choices now included a wide array of inline-4 options, ranging from 1.0L to 1.6L. A 1.5L diesel inline-4 sourced from Renault was still offered in select markets. The CVT option was dropped in favor of the 5-speed manual or 4-speed conventional automatic transmissions. Some four-wheel drive March models were now sold, taking the supermini class to new heights again. Many changes and introductions of various new trim levels happened throughout the third generation production span, including a C+C coupe convertible and some higher-performance options.
Fourth and Fifth Generation Nissan March
The fourth generation Nissan March (K13) came out in 2010. The March’s distribution was now incredibly wide, being offered in more than 160 countries across the globe. It stuck with a 5-door hatchback design, but now moved to inline-3 engines ranging from 1.0L to 1.2L, with a supercharged option, but still had a 1.5L and 1.6L inline-4 for those who wanted more power. The exterior styling was very similar to the previous generation, although continuous facelifts helped keep the look fresh. The current, fifth generation was introduced in 2016, returning to a slightly more aggressive look with sharp lines and a wave-like shoulder running the length of the vehicle. It shares the same Nissan V platform as the fourth generation, but the interior and exterior was heavily redesigned. Engine choices were now limited to inline-3 gasoline variants ranging from 898 cc to 999 cc with two turbocharged options, and a 1.5L turbo diesel inline-4.