What’s this then?
It’s the latest incarnation of Nissan’s long-running, big-selling Micra range. It's full to the brim with low emission measures, including stop-start technology, and low friction engineering. It’s not all sacrifices though – this Micra has been fitted with a performance-optimising supercharger.
The Micra, despite its popularity, has never been the most visually arresting car in its class, and this version isn’t going to change anything about that. However, the design is neat, clean and uncluttered, with clear cues taken from its predecessors. But it would have been nice to see some of the more edgy touches found on the Juke, Nissan’s compact crossover car, here as well.
How about inside?
Visibility from the cabin is good, and features a round central console, with a five-inch colour display with Sat Nav unit and iPod interface that is clear and easy to use. In fact, it's one of the more intuitive examples we’ve encountered. However, the curvature of the glove box is slightly disconcerting – it’s derriere-like lines are liable to give the passenger the impression that they’re being mooned. Meanwhile, the six speaker sound system – part of the £400 Nissan Connect upgrade, which includes the aforementioned satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity – is clear and punchy.
Room in the back is surprisingly good for a such a compact car, and while the boot could never be described as capacious, it will handle a week’s shopping with little fuss – larger items like suitcases prove to be a bit more problematic, though.
How is the driving experience?
What immediately strikes you about the Micra is how incredibly light it feels, even by usual supermini standards. How you view this is down to personal preference. For some, it will be a complete boon – supermarket car parks and tight parking situations are a doddle, but it can sometimes feel a bit disengaged from the road. The ride quality is decent, even if the driving position seems a little higher than it should be. There’s a fair bit of roll when cornering, but one wouldn’t imagine that the Micra’s target demographic will be attempting any World Rally Championship style cornering manoeuvres on their local retail park.
The Micra’s three-cylinder’s petrol engine is game enough. Performance won’t exactly set your trousers on fire, but the supercharger means that it never really feels too much of a struggle to keep up with traffic or overtake. The engine responds well to being revved, and isn’t overly noisy, either – with progress being accompanied by a gentle, high pitched whirr. The gearbox shifts easily– ours was a five-speed manual example, but drivers can also opt for a CVT automatic option.
Fuel economy is decent – Nissan claims a 66.7mpg – and the sub 100 g co2/km means that Vehicle Excise Duty is cheap. Meanwhile, the modest three-cylinder petrol engine means that car insurance is likely to be on the cheap side.
What are the alternatives?
The Hyundai i10 and the Kia Picanto both undercut the Micra in the price stakes and offer bumper warranties. Meanwhile, the Ford Ka, Vauxhall Corsa and Mazda 2 offer competent and comparably-priced alternatives. The Volkswagen Polo is a reliable and sturdy (if slightly pricier) choice that has the potential to hold its value better. if you’re after a bit more sass, then Fiat’s 500 might be worth a look.
A comfortable, practical and fuss-free runabout – what it might lack in excitement, it makes up for in pure liveability. If you want something to get your heart racing, then you’re probably looking in the wrong place, but the Nissan Micra it’s a capable and agreeable performer.
We like: Peppy engine, super light steering, space and visibility inside cabin, easy-to-use and competent navigation and stereo.
We don’t like: Relatively high on-the-road price, high driving position, indistinctive looks.
Our Micra came with the following optional extras: Nissan Connect system (comprising Sattelite Navigation, five inch colour display screen, six speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity), metallic paint, carpet matts.
Nissan Micra Acenta1.2 DIG-S: At a glance
Price as tested: £13,011
Engine: Three cylinder 1.2 litre petrol
Top speed: 112mph
0-62 mph: 11.3 secs
Emissions: 99g CO2/km
Boot capacity: 597l (1082l with seats folded)
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