Our newly elected Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, recently declared that the gridlock on Toronto roads has reached crisis proportions. So it’s not just me kvetching about bulldozers and backhoes holding the city hostage!
But it’s not going to change overnight. The best way to get around town is with the smallest car possible. Of course, it’s also winter. And I’m not about to get hopelessly stuck like I did during last year’s snowmageddon of a winter. But what if I had winter tires on, say, a Nissan Micra? Wouldn’t that be just about perfect?
In case you don’t know, the Micra has a starting price of $9,998.00 – which hurtles it into the damn-near-impeccable league. How long did the engineers at Nissan huddle over their drafting boards and sliderules to conjure up a car for under $10,000? I had to see this tiny wonder for myself.
In eye-catching jewel tones of Caspian Sea blue, my 2015 Micra SV was priced a smidge over $9,998.00, but that was okay. I’ve gotten to where power windows and locks are de rigeur! With its small, rounded proportions, the Micra was a shiny blue bauble of a car, ready to strut its stuff around town.
As pint-sized as it was, the Micra was astoundingly well proportioned inside. I felt rather like I was sitting on a throne, as the driver’s seat was quite high. The interior was spare and congenially comfortable, with a minimalist steering wheel. I loved the whimsical vintage feel of the chrome ring-shaped door handles.
If it wasn’t quick off the mark with its 109 horsepower engine, the Micra soon won my heart with its nimble handling and phenomenal turning radius. I am a U-turn junkie, and even in Toronto’s gridlocked streets, the Micra could whip around in a snap. Blocked by a crew with cranes? No problem! Unexpected detour? About-face in a cinch. Too many damn cars? I’m outta there. Time and again, the Micra could pirouette out of the tightest spots. Sometimes, agility trumps acceleration.
And then one morning, I woke up to find poor little Farfel, my 14 year old Burmilla cat, with a weepy eye. Despite the ominous sky, we had no choice but to visit the vet way over on the west side of town. Dr. Henry is worth his weight in kibble, and so I packed Farfel into his crate and into the Micra. As a former prize-winning showcat, Farfel rather enjoys being on the road, although he doesn’t care to travel with a weepy eye.
His crate fit nicely into the front passenger seat, and the seat belt easily slid through the handle, soundly securing Farfel. I turned on the heat and we wove through the streets, as big, wet floofy snowflakes fell all around us. The Micra steadily plodded forward on its 15-inch wheels, clad in winter tires, barely missing a beat.
Police were reporting a collision every three minutes, and I didn’t want to be a statistic. Most drivers were being cautious – as it was the first big snowstorm of the year, many had been caught unawares. Snow? In Toronto? In December? Preposterous!
But driving at a snail’s pace of 25 km/hr, it took 45 minutes to get to Dr. Henry’s. He greeted us with his usual abrupt charm, chiding me for risking life and limb for Farfel’s weepy eye. By this time, the reddish stain had reached half-way down Farfel’s face, and he looked like someone had beat him up. None too happy to be manhandled by Dr. Henry, he still allowed himself to be poked and prodded about the face. Dr. Henry pronounced it a simple case of stress-eye, nothing serious
We left with a tube of antibiotics and Lycine, to be administered regularly, and a stern warning to drive carefully. As we picked our way along the snowy roads, the Micra felt cozy, safe and warm, and Farfel even fell asleep. I could hear him snoring up a storm in his crate, and I didn’t wonder.
As tiny as it was, the Micra had proven itself a winter warrior.
Size doesn’t matter. It’s heart and spirit that save the day.
And – winter tires.