All New Nissan Micra Road Test

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If I can I always like to start any motoring review with one or two pertinent facts, that is if they’re there to be had or better still, interesting. To my mind #Nissan’s #Micra has never been one of the industry’s more interesting vehicles, instead probably nothing more than economical, reliable and affordable transport for those looking for a reasonably practical small car. As the saying goes, it’ll carry out most functions you’ll require of it but Nissan’s Micra will ‘never blow your frock up’.  


Right, the first and maybe second of the interesting Micra points. The model has actually been around since 1982 after Nissan decided they needed a direct super mini competitor to such as Toyota’s Starlet and Daihatsu’s Charade. Where the story takes a twist is that the original wedged shaped Micra design was originally destined to be a Fiat until the Italian maker switched to an alternative Giugiaro style. The Micra was also originally badged as a Datsun-Nissan until 1984 when the firm rebranded to just Nissan.  


Lastly, in the Micra’s thirty-six year history there has been three basic generations including basic to luxury models along with Nissan Motorsport or Nismo variations whilst the third variation made for an extremely competent rally car. And it was the rather dumpy, bug eyed special stage stormer that usually caught my eye since in most other instances, the Micra has actually never greatly appealed to me. That is until now, Nissan’s latest Micra something of a revelation in both appearance and the fact its now a slightly larger car than the one it replaces if only marginally.


Now incorporating Nissan’s corporate front of the deep chrome ‘V’ and raked LED front lights, the side profile is an intense mixture of neat creases, light lines and contours, the sculpted tailgate narrowed between angular rear lights. Sat on 17” alloys complete with 205/45 tyres, MacPherson struts at the front and a Twist beam at the rear keep the new Micra attached to the road whilst providing a stiff but comfortable ride over most surfaces.


On the Tekna model as tested the interior comes as something of a surprise, a larger more upmarket saloon’s trim transplanted into a far smaller car. Dark red leather with black inserts cover the firm, heated seats whilst matching leather panels are to be found in the doors.


Textured surfaces cover the rest of the cabin whilst a fully adjustable black leather ‘D’ wheel and short gear-lever provide the driver with sporting overtones. Instrumentation is clear and concise whilst a 5” central touch screen controls Bluetooth, navigation and Bose CD/music system. A bonus but only for the driver, the Tekna model seen here incorporates a pair of Bose Personal speakers inside the driver’s headrest adding significant audio depth and volume meaning more defined sound reproduction but only for the one behind the wheel. Elsewhere, all other switches are sensibly clustered together to provide quick deployment whilst decent door pockets, cup holders and cubbies offer decent stowage.


With sufficient room for five the Micra provides 300 litres of cargo capacity expanding to 1,000 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded. And should the need arise, there’s an additional 40kg roof load maximum and 1,170kg towing capacity although its unlikely most Micra owners will ever resort to needing a trailer, this little front wheel drive car predominantly a self-contained family workhorse.


Beneath the bonnet the options are the 1-litre, 70hp petrol, the more sporting 90hp petrol or the 97g/km C02 emission Euro6B 1,461 diesel as tested. Delivering 220Nm of torque and mated to a positive 5-speed manual transmission, average daily motoring will see a minimum of 59mpg expanding rapidly to 68mpg on longer, lighter throttle runs. This in turn means owners can expect at least 500 miles per each 41 litre tank of diesel if not more over extended distances.


On the road the Micra’s 1,082kg weight means the lightness of the car transmits directly to the driving experience, the electrically assisted power steering providing a light to drive car. In the main the ride is comfortable although poor surfaces which now predominate on UK roads can produce a slight but tolerable fidget. And whilst the engine’s quickly diminishing inertia demands the driver resorts to regular gear changes, the little Nissan spins along with eager enthusiasm, the only handling vice being progressive understeer during more enthusiastic bouts of cornering.  


If one point had to be made and its more noticeable on the left rather than the right side, is the optical size of the blind spot. Even with the large wing mirrors and obstacle radars, care must be taken as quite sizeable vehicles can be ‘lost’ to the driver’s vision. All cars suffer from some a blind spot of some type but the Micra’s seems quite noticeably larger than might be expected for a small car.


Current Micra prices start at £12,295 for the Visia spec model, £13,245 for the Visia+, £14,445 for the more upmarket Acenta, £16,415 for the N-Connecta whilst the Tekna as tested is all yours for £21,290 inclusive of over £2,000 of optional extras. It is however worth visiting your nearest Nissan dealer or looking online for the various special offers and incentives Nissan are currently running across their entire range, the Micra currently benefiting from various financial bonuses.  


With the new styling along with trim and engine packages, the new Micra has finally shed its podgy image. Instead, cutting edge looks, excellent economy and decent internal capacity has enhanced the new Micra’s overall appeal. Interestingly, these improvements also coincide with the fact the new Micra is actually built in France as part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, the new car’s European influence a significant part of this new Nissan’s appeal.

         

     


By; Mark Stone