Wait, that’s a Micra?
This is the All-New, 5th Generation Nissan Micra, and not only has its footprint increased significantly, it’s come over all serious too. Once the automotive equivalent of Hello Kitty, the Micra’s now sporting a grown-up, aerodynamic look and seems to be have shifted its sights squarely towards the likes of Ford’s Fiesta, VW’s Polo and Vauxhall’s Corsa.
It’s not just the exterior that’s been reworked, either. The Micra’s cabin is worlds apart from anything that’s gone before it; the design and materials used must be up there with the best in the segment, possibly the segment above it, too.
Three engine choices
The Micra is available with a choice of two petrol engines, a 0.9l turbo & a 1.0l n/a producing 90bhp & 70bhp respectively. There’s a 90bhp 1.5l diesel engine which, along with the 0.9l petrol, is a Renault based unit that can also be found in their Clio models. There are 5 grades of Micra to choose from; Visia, Visia+, Acenta, N-Connecta and the range topping Tekna model we have here.
Higher spec Micras aren’t available with the lower powered petrol engine and prices range from £11,995 to £18,765. The diesel is the only engine available across the entire range and, as it stands, there’s no automatic transmission, it’s a 5-speed manual only.
This 0.9l turbo, 3-cylinder petrol engine sits in the middle of the Micra range in terms of price, economy and performance. Even with its overboost function which provides an extra 5bhp on demand, 0-62mph comes up in 12.1s and it returns a combined mpg of 64.2 whilst emitting 104g/km CO2 which is fairly impressive.
Unfashionable as they currently are, though, it’s the 1.5l diesel engine with the headline grabbing numbers. 0-62mph is only marginally improved at 11.9s, but a claimed combined 88.3mpg and emissions of just 85g/km make it by far the most economical engine in the Micra range. There is a price to pay for this frugality, though, literally; the diesel engine demands an extra £1,300 over the 0.9l petrol which may take a while to recoup at the pumps. The 71bhp petrol engined Micra is the cheapest option but with 0-62mph taking over 16 seconds, it could prove frustrating making progress.
At 3999 x 1743mm, this new Micra is substantially bigger than the outgoing model. With its sleek, streamlined looks, it’s not just on the outside you notice this growth, it’s when you sit inside the Micra, too. The front seats are big enough for most adults, with plenty of leg and headroom, so even longer journeys shouldn’t be totally unbearable. It’s the same story in the rear, although the door apertures are quite an odd shape and getting in and out isn’t the easiest. There’s useful storage compartments everywhere so things should remain uncluttered.
It’s how refined the Micra’s cabin is that will possibly come as a welcome surprise to most. The dashboard is a simple, clean design and it’s pleasing on the eye, even if some of the colour packs on offer are a tad OTT. The transmission tunnel is built up to give a cosseting feel, and the leather used on higher spec models is a far more premium grade than you’d warrant in a Micra. The ambient lighting also screams quality and a multi-led pad to put your phone on is a nice touch. Nissan have made the Micra very customisable and there are many options to add an individuality to it.
Bose Headrest Speakers
This Tekna grade Micra come with a NissanConnect 7” touchscreen infotainment system that can be linked to most smartphones. It also comes with Bose speakers built into the driver’s headrest for ultimate Carpool Karaoke. The upgraded infotainment can be ordered as part of the £700 Vision pack and the headrest speakers are part of the £500 Bose personal audio pack, both of which are available on Acenta grade Micras upwards only. Apple CarPlay comes as standard on Acenta models upwards, but the Android equivalent isn’t available yet and, oddly enough, if you pay for the upgraded infotainment system, you lose Apple CarPlay.
The Micra is comfortable and user-friendly to drive, but it does lose out to the likes of the Fiesta and Clio in terms of driver satisfaction. Economical they may be, but this 3-cylinder unit can feel laboured at times and, with maximum torque not kicking in until 2250rpm, the turbo isn’t the quickest to spool up.
All Micras have adopted Nissan’s Active Ride and Active Trace control systems from the Qashqai which automatically applies the necessary brakes over bumps and around bends respectively. This not only makes the ride more comfortable, it’s safer and sportier too, although we’d ultimately like a bit more feedback through the steering wheel.
Should I buy a Nissan Micra?
The Micra has come on leaps and bounds since the last model and it’s altogether a more grown up affair. This isn’t only in terms of looks, but in refinement too, and anyone in the market for a supermini should undoubtedly give the Micra a lot of consideration.
By Ben Harrington
Nissan Micra Tekna Specifications:
Engine – 0.9l turbocharged 3-cyl petrol, Layout – Front engine, FWD, Transmission – 5-speed manual, Power – 89bhp, Acceleration – 0-62mph – 12.1s, Maximum Speed – 109mph, Maximum Torque – 140Nm, Economy – 61.4mpg combined, Emissions – 104g/km CO2, Price – £17,870 OTR, £18,420 as tested
The New Nissan Micra is available now. For full details go to; www.nissan.co.uk