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by Tim Beissmann

Nissan will unveil the most frugal member of the Nissan Micra family at next week’s Geneva Motor Show, capable of using just 4.1 litres/100km and emitting just 95g/km CO2.

Powered by Nissan’s DIG-S (Direct Injection Gasoline-Supercharger) engine, the hybrid-rivalling 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine produces 72kW of power and 142Nm of torque.

Nissan says fewer moving parts in the three-cylinder construction leads to reduced friction, while start-stop and brake energy regeneration have also been integrated to keep fuel consumption and emissions down.

Sales of the Nissan Micra DIG-S will begin in Europe around the middle of the year, but Nissan Australia’s Jeff Fisher said there were currently no plans to introduce the fuel-sipping Micra to Australia.

“Not yet, but we are having a look,” Mr Fisher said. “It’s available worldwide and is in the mix if we decide to [become serious about it].”

The Micra is currently sold with two different petrol engines in Australia: a 56kW/100Nm version of the 1.2-litre three-cylinder, and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit with 75kW and 136Nm.

Combined cycle fuel consumption ranges from 5.9 to 6.6 litres/100km in the line-up, well above the 4.1 litres/100km figure of the DIG-S.

Mr Fisher said there was always demand for lower fuel consumption vehicles in the market, but he said this specific engine was designed with European emissions standards in mind.

“There is a different philosophy in Australia, we are more like the American market than the Europeans,” he said.

He explained emissions-saving technology would be slower to reach Australia as we are not under the same immediate pressure as European countries.

He said many Australian customers in the market for a light car were not prepared to pay extra for a vehicle with lower emissions.

The top of the line Micra Ti currently starts at $16,990 in Australia ($18,990 automatic), and a vehicle equipped with the DIG-S engine would bring with it an even higher starting price.

The 2011 Nissan Micra DIG-S will hit the stand at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1.




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