The Nissan Micra has been out for a long time now – since 1982 to be precise – but has always struggled to attract the youth market. Now in its fifth-generation, the latest model has turned on the style, and with a range of economical engines, it is ready to compete in the supermini market.
What is it?
The Micra is the Japanese manufacturer's contender in the ultra-competitive supermini market. The new model certainly has its work cut out, competing against the likes of the brilliant Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.
The new model is entirely new, and is now stylish, along with having an attractive £11,995 starting price.
It also comes with a range of personalisation options which is an all-new concept for the Micra, with an aim of making the new model appeal to a far younger audience than before.
What's under the bonnet?
Three engines are available on the Micra – a 70bhp 1.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, along with an 89bhp 1.5-litre DCI engine, as well as the 89bhp, 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol that was in our test car. It was also decked out in top-of-the-range Tekna trim.
The Micra is also cheap to run too, the 0.9-litre engine can manage 61.4mpg on the combined cycle and has CO2 emissions of just 104g/km.
What's it like to drive?
The Micra didn't seem particularly good to drive. On rough road surfaces the ride wasn't terribly composed, as a lot of shudder transferred its way into the cabin. The 17-inch wheels didn't help either, as they produced a lot of road noise, particularly at motorway speeds.
We were also disappointed by the gearshift, as the five-speed manual seemed very vague as well as having shift throws that seemed to be far too long for a car of this size. The power delivery from the 0.9-litre also didn't seem particularly linear, as there was very little shove until you got to around 2,500rpm when there was a sudden surge of torque. It made smooth driving quite difficult, although it was only a minor annoyance.
How does it look?
Micras of old were disappointing to look at to say the least, but luckily the new model has a sportier and stylish design than previous models. Nissan also offers plenty of customisation which seems to be all the rage at the moment at this end of the market. Contrasting colour options and decals, as well as interior options are all available to order.
What's it like inside?
The interior of the Micra is a typical Nissan – it is well-built and easy to use. While the colour customisation options add some flair to the interior, there are too many rough and scratchy surfaces that make their way inside.
Space is excellent for front passengers, although the same cannot be said for the rear that suffers from poor leg and headroom for the passengers in the back. The boot space is impressive though, as it has 300 litres of space, which compares well to the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo that have 292 litres and 280 litres respectively.
What's the spec like?
The price for our 0.9-litre petrol Tekna start at £17,435, although with our test car's options, it pushed the price to just over £20,000.
There is a generous amount of standard equipment though, with a Bose speaker system, DAB radio, satellite navigation, rear parking camera, 17-inch alloys and a seven-inch touchscreen to name but a few options.
The Micra is a stylish, attractively priced and solidly built supermini that delivers well on technology for the price. However, poor rear legroom and a sub-par driving experience hinder would otherwise be a compelling option in this crowded sector of the market.
Model as tested: Nissan Micra 0.9l IG-T 90 Tekna
Price (as tested): £20,020
Top Speed: 109mph
0-60mph: 11.9 seconds