The Nissan Micra; one of the most popular small hatchbacks alongside the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo gets an aggressive and sporty look with the latest update! The new Micra is slightly bigger than the previous version at 174mm longer, 78mm wider and 55mm lower while inside it’s better equipped with tech borrowed from the Nissan Qashqai. There’s even a new Micra N-Sport; although it’s been pitched as a lukewarm hatch, not a proper hot performance version!
Nissan aims to keep the momentum in the Micra by upgrading one of its biggest weak spots; the engine range. There’s a new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol three-cylinder engine with 99bhp on offer, another 1.0-litre unit with 114bhp or if you’d like something slower than walking there’s a 69bhp non-turbo Micra and a 90bhp 1.5-litre diesel. The higher output 1.0-litre engine is certainly the one to go for! All Micras are front-wheel drive, five-door, five-seaters and there’s finally a six-speed manual gearbox instead of a motorway-unfriendly five-speeder; you can also have a CVT auto for the lower powered version if you desire.
The Micra feels agile, light on its feet and accurate. The light, fast steering is obeyed by a keen front end that’s happy to be chucked into corners without catching the back-end half asleep. The ride is a well-judged compromise of halting roll and compliance, though on seriously rough back roads you’ll notice the suspension starts to reach the limits of its travel. As you’re accelerating the gearchange feels a little cumbersome at first, as if the lever is too long but get used to that and you notice it places your hand closer to the steering wheel. On the motorway there’s a fairly high amount of road noise compared to a Polo, but it’s not terrible for the class.
Up front there’s little to complain about in the Micra. The seats and driving position are fine, and the steering wheel is a comfortable one to hold with a logical collection of buttons on the two horizontal spokes. The dashboard layout is simplistic yet effective with a big central screen that takes care of phone mirroring (mid-spec) or built-in nav (top-spec). Nissan’s infotainment system is quick to respond and easy to navigate but looks and feels outdated alongside competitors’ efforts. In the back it’s on the cramped side for the class and boot space is adequate at 300 litres. As standard the plastics are fine but nothing exemplary; however go for the top-spec N-Sport and the main swathe of dash is covered in Alcantara which goes a long way to lifting the perceived quality inside.
Should you buy one? The new Micra is certainly a well-needed update; bringing it in line with the competition and trying to undo the cheap and cheerful reputation of the older generations. The modern styling certainly catches your eye, while the simplistic and well-equipped interior is pleasant to be in. Of the new engine options, the 1.0litre petrol options are the best to go for in terms of power and smoothness but there is still room for improvement. On the road the handling is good but the ride comfort will leave you wanting on most uneven surfaces. As you’d expect from a small hatchback it’s not too practical in regard to back seat room for adults and boot space, but for smaller families and commuting it would be a good choice. The Micra may not be great again just yet, but it’s certainly back on the right track so be sure to take it into account alongside the other hatchback favourites!
Pros ‘n’ Cons:
• Styling √
• Interior √
• Handling √
• Practicality X
• Engine Options X
(Nissan Micra 1.0 IG-T 100)
• Price: £16,355
• Max speed: 110 mph
• 0-62 mph: 13.0 seconds
• Range: 50.0 MPG
• Engine layout: 1-Litre 3-Cylinder Petrol
• Max. power: 100bhp
• CO2: 113g/km
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