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Nissan New March: repaginated, with air of series and now manufactured in Brazil

When the March was launched in August 2011, there was a nice window of opportunity: the entry market was addicted to old solutions, but in higher segments, the consolidation of Hyundai and Kia showed that there was room for something new and well built . In a short time, demand for the Nissan hatch (and its cousin sedan, Versa) went so far as to create difficulties in distributing the models manufactured in Mexico, especially when import quota restrictions began in early 2012 – imposition Made to stop the import boom and protect the local industry.

Since then, new cards have entered the game. The new generations of Gol and Palio, the launch of the Etios, and especially the arrival of the HB20 and Up !, are just a few of the cars that have aged March and put him in a defensive position: he needed an answer.

And that’s what New March is all about (yes, we’re also tired of “New” and “New”). More than a facelift, the vehicle has been repaginated in content (in addition to the obligatory dual air bag and standard abs brakes, it brings air conditioning in all versions – and the top-of-the-line SL package has grown a lot), connectivity features , Has had its weaknesses reworked and, mainly, inaugurates the production line of the new Nissan factory, in Resende (RJ); Solving the issue of the spare parts market and opening up the possibility of it picking up a much thicker slice of the market. Does he have the footprint for this? That’s what we’ll see here.

Gem Accent – Almost This

New March is the first vehicle produced at the Rio de Janeiro plant in Resende, inaugurated in April this year. The plant’s design was based on the Aguascalientes (Mexico) plant, where March is still produced. R $ 2.6 billion was invested in a space of 2.7 million m² with a test track and production capacity of 200 thousand vehicles / year, in an insane execution period – only 22 months and 3 weeks.

Stamping, joining of bodywork components, painting, assembly, plastics, much is produced internally. The locally produced content index is 60% – the target for 2016 is 80%. As a result, not only tax incentives are earned, but also the dependence on dollar exchange variation is reduced, and it facilitates the logistics of aftermarket parts replacement.

The Resende plant has a 16,400 m² warehouse (enough for 680,000 pieces, enough for about six months of inventory), expandable to more than 35,000 m²; In addition to a park of local suppliers: Mitsui-Steel (steel plates), Yorozu (suspension), Tachi S (seats), Kinugawa (sealing rubbers), CalsonicKansei (panels) are all half a kilometer from the plant, Project of more than 70 million reais.

Factory employees were trained in a partnership with Senai, which partially recreated Nissan’s training centers in Mexico, Japan and England (where Nissan’s leadership team was trained). Each employee is instructed during 120 hours in this center, and later still goes through another 80 hours in parallel cores within each stage of the assembly line, simulating real conditions in an isolated environment.

As there is a possibility of expansion, the Resende plant was designed in a modular way – the best example of this is the way the car is transported, by automated vehicles guided by magnetic rails, without the traditional conveyor belt.

What has changed?

In addition to the new pearl color options (Pacific Blue and Diamond White, optional $ 990), the more radical changes of New March (which uses exactly the same platform and powertrains as the previous model) focus on the front and Rear. The neutral expression of the oval headlights and discreet grille of the previous model gave way to a more malicious set, with boomerang shaped headlights, creased hood and more aggressive grille, decorated with a chrome “V”.

The mechanical part also brought some refinements: the electric steering was recalibrated to gain more weight at higher speeds, the ABS brakes have standard brake assist system and the shock absorbers have been replaced by the Versa model , Which features 8mm more stroke at the front and 9mm extra at the rear; Virtually eliminating the odds of bumping into bumps and bumps. The shock absorber load and vehicle height are the same as the previous model. Other changes: the arrow key features a one-touch system for changes and range and the sound insulation has been reinforced on the fire wall.

In the photos of this report, we see the top SL version, with headlights with black mask, chromed frieze framing the lower grille, auxiliary headlights, chrome knobs, aerofoil on the rear and exclusive wheels rim 16.

New March bid goodbye to the Chinese Maxxis tires and brings three different models of wheels and tires, based on their versions (check out each one below). Basic and S use rim 14 wheels with hubcaps (which were less projected out, something that bothered many March owners) and Firestone Multihawk 165/70 tires. The SV uses rimless alloy wheels 15 with Bridgestone Turanza ER 300 185/60 and the top of the SL line (exclusive of the 1.6), which is the version that we evaluate, uses wheels rim 16 and tires Dunlop Enasave 185/55.

Inside, Nissan refreshed the March, working with more textures and colors in the cabin – the previous model wore the same texture throughout the panel and doors, resulting in something dark and monotonous. The biggest changes are in the new steering wheel (the same as the Sentra) and in the central console, especially at the top of the line SL, which has a gloss black finish, digital air conditioning and multimedia system with 5.8 “screen. It has a system integrated with Facebook and Google via the Nissan Connect application (iOS and Android), allowing the user to consult and use the event coordinates to automatically program the GPS; As well as other functions such as calendar integration, status updates, news feed, and friends location checking (Nearby) – full plate for jealous girlfriends and insecure parents.

The seats have new differentiated liners for each version and bring double stitching at the edges. The seat has level height adjustment, without the hassle-tilting system by center of rotation of some models, like the HB20. On the other hand, the adjustment of the backrest is not millimeter and the steering column does not offer distance regulation (only height), which limits the ergonomics a little for the more detailed. In this sense, the position for the driver in the New Gol (with the optional steering column) still follows as the best in the category.

New March: prices and versions

New March brings air conditioning and hot air, electric steering, on-board computer, dual air bag and ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist (the only one in the category) and seats with height adjustment.

1.0 Comfort: R $ 32,990

1.0 S: R $ 34.490. Adds front windows, latches and electric mirrors; Key with remote control, fabric door trim, chrome inner door handles, armrests with silver finish.

1.0 SV: R $ 36.990. Adds airfoil with brake light, bluetooth connection, multifunction steering wheel, body colored door handles, chrome frame on the lower grille, auxiliary headlights, radio CD / MP3 player (same as Leaf), alloy wheels rim 15

1.6 S: R $ 37.490. Same equipments as 1.0 S.

1.6 SV: R $ 39,990. Same equipment as 1.0 SV.

1.6 SL: R $ 42,990. Adds digital air conditioning, glossy black finish on center console, perimeter alarm, multimedia system with GPS, 5.8 “screen and Nissan Connect, rear camera, headlights and lanterns with black mask, alloy rim 16 wheels

Note that the difference of values ​​from versions 1.0 to 1.6 is exactly R$ 3 thousand.

Engines: 1.0 with cast iron block and aluminum head, 74 hp @ 5,850 rpm (ethanol / gasoline), 10 mkgf at 4,350 rpm (ethanol / gasoline).

1.6 all aluminum (photo above), phase variator in the intake control, 111 hp @ 5,600 rpm (gasoline and ethanol), 15.1 mkgf of torque at 5,600 rpm (ethanol and gasoline).

Energy efficiency with a peppercorn cap

Despite the price increase, the New March equipment package – both in the entry version and at the top of the line – makes it an interesting business. But what time will we see?

During the presentation, the Nissan team insisted a lot on the quality issue – and, in fact, we got a nice impression of the product. The body parts are perfectly aligned and have very small gaps, the door closures are solid and well sealed and the finish of the car should not be anything to the leaders of the category.

From the relatively low weight (982 kg at the top of the SL line) and the efficiency of the mechanical assembly, the March performance and consumption ratio was always good. Nissan declares the 0 to 100 km / h of the 1.6 model at 9.5 s (1.6 s less than Etios 1.5 and two tenths faster than the HB20), urban consumption at 11.6 km / l and 13.2 km / l, numbers with gasoline. Among the 1.6 cars in the range of $ 40,000, the New March is one of the fastest and most economical. The transmission has lightweight and easy-to-modulate clutch and extremely precise tuner – to be perfect, it would only be lighter on the couplings, as in Honda City.

The brake pedal has one of the best weights on the market – it is firm and has short stroke. I was worried that Brake Assist would leave the hysterical Nissan braking under sporting direction, but the emergency assistance was very well programmed and comes in subtly. The steadily recalibrated electric steering made the car much better to be driven on straight roads and winding sections, since the old calibration made the March somewhat sensitive, as if it had little casing. But it still lacks communication with the grip limit – being sporty is not the purpose of this vehicle, but better communicability of the asphalt to the hands also makes the car safer in emergency conditions as the driver gets more connected.

The new bumpers from the New March made him even better off on bad ground. There is a good chance that this is the best car of the category in this sense – for the moment, I drove in a completely sloppy way, running over holes and turtles for dry beats, which I’m looking for today. For urban use, I have no doubts: it is quite comfortable. And you’re mistaken if you think the dampers are dull: they absorb well, but even running over spines, there’s only one compression and one extension of the set.

The engine and gear set just deserves praise. Ratio well-graded for road (at 120 km / h the engine is in the house of 3,500 rpm), good footprint in the curve outputs and a beautiful snoring – the 1.6 cuts turn at almost 7 thousand revolutions per minute! The only detail is that although the reinforcement in the thermo-acoustic linings has isolated the Nissan better, it continues to transmit a little more engine vibration to the floor and pedals than the average market. The tires could also reverberate less in the body – although this is something common to all the vehicles of the segment.

With low weight, good buffers, cool tires, communicative brakes, wheels at the ends of the body, and a great engine and gearbox set, March has a tasty potential for driving fun. However, he does not leave the store ready to leave you stunned, as was the late Ford Ka. In its original configuration, despite the relatively low body roll, the front suspension has a certain inertia to support and bite the asphalt, and once the adhesion limit is reached, the understeering tendency is marked with a certain force.

Speaking here only for hardcore enthusiasts: I get the feeling that a slouch, a bit of shifting, and a slightly lower front will leave the New March with the potential to rip off profanity amid laughter on winding roads. He just needs a bit more attitude on the turn-in and more neutrality in the curve step. I have a friend who always walks in track days, owner of an old March, that got to the point of using slightly wider tires in the front (10 mm), similar to the one used by the Audi RS3. He was very pleased with the experience, so maybe it’s worth the test.

Bottom line

Yes, $ 43,000 is a lot of money – after all, you can buy a basic New Fiesta with this money. But be sure to consider the package that you take for this value: complete multimedia system with GPS, rear camera (in fact, the fault is the lack of parking sensors), wheels 16 alloy wheels, brakes with brake assist and air- Digital conditioning series are things you will find in cars almost $ 10,000 more expensive. In fact, both the HB20 and the high-end Etios are in the range of $ 50,000. At the other end of the portfolio, the New March entry brings a car with air conditioning and electric steering for just over $ 30,000.

This is why New March is a good deal: full of equipment and features, up-to-date design, good internal space, extremely efficient and comfortable mechanical assembly and, of course, the lowest maintenance and insurance costs in the segment .

The repagination cured many of his old vices, such as the lack of personality in the design and monotonous interior and put it back in the match as one of the best options, next to the Hyundai HB20. And now, with domestic manufacturing, it earns points with more efficient devaluation and after-sales reduction. It is a good buy, both for the university with some money left over as for small families. And you still have the potential to make art.

Technical information – Nissan New March SL 2015

Engine: four cylinders in line, transverse, 1,598 cm³, 16V, head with double valve control, flex

Power (ethanol / petrol): 111 hp at 5,600 rpm

Torque (ethanol / gasoline): 15.1 mkgf at 4,000 rpm

Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive

Suspension: McPherson-type front and rear axle type

Brakes: Ventilated front discs and rear drums with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist

Tires: Dunlop Enasave 185/55 R16

Dimensions: 3.82 m long, 1.67 m wide, 1.52 m high and 2.45 m inter-axles

Weight: 982 kg

Standard items: digital air conditioning, power steering, power windows and mirrors, dual air bag, ABS brakes and Brake Assist, rear camera, multimedia system with GPS and 5.8 “screen, trip computer, Alloy wheels rim 16

Price: R $ 42,990 (May 2014)

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