In the final year of Nissan March K11 production, the Nissan March Polka was introduced as a special version alongside the Bolero and Rumba. So today in the March-athon series we’re moving on to the fourth in the quartet: the Nissan March Polka! Naturally, I’ll compare the Polka against the other three musical dances: Tango, Bolero and Rumba.
But first, we need to verify if ChatGPT can outdo itself once more and make an even better joke about the March Polka:
What did the Nissan March Polka say when it won the dance competition?
“I may be small, but my polka moves are in a class of their own – the compact class, that is!”
That one was even better than the joke it made about the March Rumba!
What is a Nissan March Polka?
As the title and introduction describe, the Nissan March Polka is another retro-styled variant of the Nissan March. The Polka was a final K11 limited edition that was on sale from December 2000 onwards. As the March K11 was replaced in March 2002, the Polka was only for sale for a little over one year. Take notice I just wrote a final limited edition. There was another final limited non-retro trim level that I’ll cover later on.
I’m not so sure what inspired the Polka as there isn’t an obvious equivalent from the 1950s or 1960s. The grill is much more conventional than the ones on the Tango, Bolero and Rumba and it reminds me of a Mercedes W210 or a Lancia Lybra. Those two are also late 1990s cars that had a bit of retro styling in them. The W210 harked back to the Mercedes Ponton and the Lancia Lybra to the Aurelia. So perhaps the Polka was a retro-retro-inspired car? And with that, Nissan has gone full circle!
The Polka was also very different from the Bolero and Rumba: it featured different headlights and tail lights than these two. It features a much more conventional front bumper however, both front and rear bumpers still feature chrome strips glued on top of them.
Just like the Bolero and Rumba, the Polka also had its own theme. The sales brochure describes it as “Fall in love with the retro-scent and casual feel”. It talks about fashionable, unique, casual, gentle and elegant. On the outside it surely was unique, but also on the inside, we can see its uniqueness.
The dashboard featured a gentle woodgrain bezel. Whilst the Bolero featured woodgrain inserts on the steering wheel as well, the Polka lacked these as the steering wheel was leather-wrapped. Maybe this is what Nissan calls casual? What set apart the Polka dashboard was the more elegant-looking air conditioner controls: the air conditioner controls are all chromed and feature retro-designed dials. They aren’t 100% the same as the ones found on the final facelift of the March Rumba, but they look very much alike.
The tartan fabric on the seats also set it apart. I’m not 100% sure about the tartan being fashionable, but I remember the late Keith Flint of the Prodigy wearing a lot of tartan-fabric lumberjack shirts during the late 1990s.
Body shape and colours
The March Polka was only available as a five-door hatchback. However, it was available with both 1.0 and 1.3-litre engines and also with optional four-wheel-drive on the 1.3-litre engine cars. The Polka was only available with the automatic gearboxes. This meant either the 4-speed conventional automatic gearbox (1.0-litre engines) or the Nissan CVT. (1.3-litre engines)
It was, just like the Bolero, fully decked out with power steering, power windows, air conditioning and ABS.
The March Polka was available in Flame Red (AR2), Polar White (QM1) and Brilliant Blue (TV3). Flame Red and Brilliant Blue colours are shared with the Nissan Silvia S15.
As the March Polka was the last and final retro-inspired March K11, there weren’t that many sold. For the Bolero and Rumba, I was able to find many for sale online. Beyond the single one for sale on Goo-net, it’s really hard to find another Polka for sale. It’s not only due to the Polka being for sale for a little over a single year but also due to both Bolero and Rumba being for sale alongside it.
Just like the Tango, Bolero and Rumba, the Nissan March Polka wasn’t much more than a dressed-up March K11. No technical improvements were made and compared to the G# or Autostrada trim levels and the interior was, apart from the tartan-fabric seats, woodgrain bezels and chromed aircon controls, bone stock. The Polka was aimed towards the same small slice of retro-inspired car buyers. This meant that the Polka proved even less popular than its predecessors that were also sold alongside the Polka as well. It’s such a waste as it was totally unnecessary. Personally, I would favour the interior of the Polka over any of the other three in the quartet. Maybe it would be a great idea to swap it over into a Rumba and make it the ideal retro-inspired March K11?
Next time I’ll cover the last and final Nissan special. After that, I’ll move on to the other K11-based specials.
All photos in this post are either Nissan/Lancia/Mercedes press photos, photos of March K11 brochures, or cars for sale on Goo-net.