Rebecca Chaplin finds there’s lots to admire in Nissan’s latest incarnation of its Micra supermini – but how will it fare in a crowded sector?
What is it?
Nissan has breathed new life into the Micra, bringing it into line with the rest of its product range and offering segment firsts on the safety and tech fronts. It’s been redesigned to offer far better performance. In addition, a combination of standard safety options, improved driving aids and tech developments make it a very appealing option. It is also available with must-have extras such as Apple CarPlay integration and quality Bose headrest speakers.
What’s under the bonnet?
The Nissan Micra is available with two engine options at the moment – a 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol unit and a 1.5-litre diesel – both producing 89bhp. From March, when the car goes on sale, there will be a 1.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, producing 74bhp, coming to the UK, but details for that are limited. Currently it’s only available with a five-speed manual gearbox. The 0.9-litre petrol engine will achieve 64.2mpg with stop-start fitted, according to Nissan, and produce 99g/km of CO2. Its diesel counterpart will do 88mpg while producing 85g/km of CO2. It will achieve 0-60mph in 11.9 seconds with the petrol engine, continuing to 109mph, while the diesel will go marginally faster to 60mph in 11.7 seconds, reaching 111mph.
What’s the spec like?
The Micra does offer plenty of options, ranging from the entry-level Visia to the top spec Tekna. The base-spec car is priced at £11,995 and this will give you a fairly basic array of extras. It’s predicted that the mid-range Acenta spec with the 0.9-litre petrol engine will be the most popular model, which is priced from £14,995. This adds 16-inch alloys, cruise control, body-coloured trim and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. From this grade, buyers will be able to add the Bose PersonalSpace sound system for £500, which is standard on top spec cars. The system delivers high-quality surround sound via speakers built into the front headrests.
What’s it like to drive?
The Nissan Micra is a pretty poky little car to drive in both petrol and diesel guises, although you’ll get marginally more out of the little turbo petrol. The car’s centre of gravity has been lowered, which means it clings to the road better than ever before. It’s still a small car with a small engine, so don’t expect a life-changing driving experience, but it offers more than you’d need on a daily basis. The car’s handling is its redeeming feature, as it corners with absolute ease even on the tightest of bends. There’s more clever kit under the car’s skin to keep the car planted on the road.
What do the press think?
Autocar says: ‘You should definitely give it chance. After a regrettable hiatus, the Nissan Micra is back to its very best as a small car presented and executed to an apparently high European standard – and in almost every way that matters.’ Recombu said: ‘Nissan has gone overboard with the 2017 Micra. This is no mid-life facelift with tweaked headlights and a bigger cup holder.’
What do we think?
The new Nissan Micra is finally a great alternative to the cars that have become the staples of the small hatchback market. It’s got the looks, the drive and the economy to become a serious rival worth considering. For those customers focused on music and infotainment, the options available on the Micra make it an extremely appealing – especially if they’re not particularly concerned about an inspiring driving experience, that is.