Nissan Micra Review

Find out more about the Nissan Micra in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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  • Pros
  • Transformed into a stylish supermini
  • Much improved quality from previous generations
  • Excellent safety features
  • Cons
  • Limited space for rear passengers
  • Sluggish on getaway
  • Feels sterile when compared to rivals
  • MPG
    53 - 68
  • CO2
    103 - 121 g/km
  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Review

Replacing the Datsun Cherry, the first generation Nissan Micra was introduced to the UK in 1983 and from the get-go it entered into the competitive supermini market, which included the Ford Fiesta, the Vauxhall Nova and the Volkswagen Polo.

 

From then on, the Micra has faced an uphill battle to be recognised in the crowded small car market, and with European-specific rivals getting more traction with the target audience, due to better driving feel and more exciting looks, the Japanese model has never quite made it to the top.

 

The fourth generation was a very forgetful affair, due to its drab appearance and less appealing interior finish, and even though it was an economical little runner, it didn’t offer as dynamic a driving experience as its rivals.

 

So following the Alliance between Nissan and Renault, the Japanese brand has gone all-out with its latest Micra, with the model designed specifically for a European market – meaning great looks, better equipment and great safety features.

 

With many of the Micra’s opponents settled as target market favourites and known quantities, this new outlook for Nissan could mean a worthy challenger is on the way.

 

Latest Model

 

With the new Micra, the range of engines went up from two options to three, with the overall size of the units going down but efficiency going up. Gaining a turbo diesel unit to go alongside two petrol options, the fifth generation is more efficient than the previous version, however from launch, only a five-speed manual gearbox is available.

 

One major attraction for the Micra is the level of safety features fitted from the base level Visia trim, as you get lane departure warning, intelligent lane intervention and intelligent emergency braking as standard, which in the European market has become a big selling point.

 

With this new model developed in the UK and built in Renault factories in France, the Micra has a distinctly European flavour and with Nissan saying that drivers showing their personality is becoming more important, there is a raft of customisation options and additional features, which can push the price up a fair chunk.

 

But one thing that the Micra has gained in the new generation is a more refined and premium feel when compared to the old model, which means with the fresher looks and good technological options, it is a worthy challenger in the feisty supermini market.

 

Value for money

 

From the base level Visia trim, Nissan fits great standard features that puts it in line with many of its rivals, including LED running lights, intelligent lane intervention and Bluetooth, and at higher levels expect Nissan’s infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen and smartphone integration. The Visia model starts from £11,995.

 

If you prefer the previous body style, the top level Tekna model from 2015 has sat-nav, rear parking sensors and cruise control, and one example currently available for £9,990, has only 8,991 miles on the clock.

Fitted with a 1.2-litre 79bhp engine, it may not feel as great as to drive as the newer model, but if driving feel is not as important to you, then it has plenty of features to cater for your needs. With the car built to be efficient and comfortable, it does a perfectly good job.

 

Looks and image

 

Despite the base of the car being the same as the fourth generation, the new version is like a completely different model, as the change from the more generic and rounded shape to the angular and stylish design is excellent.

With it designed in Europe, the Micra has been catered to the market and as a European exclusive – unlike the previous model which was sold in over 150 countires and was therefore more generic and safe – it looks a much more exciting prospect.

 

What Nissan is doing with their new vehicles is make them as customisable as possible, and with the high quality, soft touch materials adorning the interior, the Micra has great personalisation options and is as comfortable as its rivals.

 

With the sleeker and lower structure, the Micra handles much better than before, and with the much more comfortable interior than the previous model, it is much better on a longer drive. However, due to the quality of its rivals – the Volkswagen Polo and the Ford Fiesta – it might not excite as much and feel as great to drive as its established competitors.

With a 0.9-litre turbo petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines available, they both provide good fuel efficiency but can be slightly sluggish off the mark.

 

Video Review

Space and practicality

 

As it was built to suit the European market, the body has been extended and widened to improve interior space, which is noticeable and means it now has a competitive interior size. With a 300-litre boot, which can be extended to over 1,000 litres when the 60/40 rear seats are folded down.

 

Despite the extended space for passengers in the back, the rake of the roofline means that rear headroom is relatively poor, so even though the Micra has the best drag co-efficient in its class for better fuel efficiency, it does have its downsides.

 

The aforementioned safety systems, however, is where the Micra really shines, and with the 2017 model yet to go through the Euro NCAP tests, expect it to perform excellently. All Micras are fitted with good standard safety, and from the N-Connecta trim, you can add even more features for that added security.

 

Engines

 

From launch, the Micra is available with a 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol unit and a 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine – both producing 89bhp – and a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre petrol with a 72bhp output. All are currently paired with a five-speed manual gearbox and with Idle Stop&Start fitted to help you save fuel from the Visia+ trim level.

 

The current range is much more efficient than last time, but for a more consistent drive throughout, the diesel provides better torque and more urgency off the mark, but the 0.9-litre petrol is just as good as getting you about once it gets up to speed – both in town and on the open road.

 

Running costs

 

Another area where the Micra is good is on running costs, with most of the range fitting within the A band on road tax – meaning that you pay nothing – and every version of the Micra capable of miles per gallon above the 55mpg mark.

The diesel engine is especially frugal, with figures of 88mpg within the realms of possibility, as well as emissions around 85g/km CO2, which the friskier petrol engines can’t match. Insurance costs within its class is very good, as it is cheaper to insure than the ever popular VW Polo, which could make the Micra an attractive alternative.

Things to look out for

 

As the new model was only released in March 2017, there will be little to trouble owners at this early stage, however, older models were subject to some worrying issues. For example, models built between December 2002 and May 2006 suffered from a steering wheel fixing bolt issue, which meant that the steering bolt wasn’t torqued properly and if not attended to could mean loss of control was possible if it wasn’t found.

Also models built between 2004 and 2006 may have suffered from engine stalling and failure to restart issues due to faulty engine control modules and ignition relays. Although the list of serious problems is relatively short compared to other models, it is good to be safe and you should check the used vehicle’s service history.

 

Rivals

 

The supermini market is a difficult market to be popular in, especially with the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo leading the way. But thanks to its low running costs and personalisation options, the Micra could be attractive to the younger section of the market as it looks more interesting and has plenty of technological features. However, with the new Citroen C3 also out at the start of the year, the funky supermini market is looking challenging also.

 

Depreciation warning

 

With its market rivals gaining a good reputation for residual value, it would be no surprise to find the new Micra having good success on the used market. With a 39 to 49 per cent residual value possible on the fourth generation Micra and with the improved quality of the new model, expect similar figures for the newest version.

 

Which Micra to Pick

Trims Explained

What Nissan has tried to do with the Micra is provide as many options for customers to create their own feel and personal space as possible, but this can mean costs can rise quickly for customers getting the look and feel they want.

Visia

Here you get good standard equipment, such as 15-inch steel wheels, Bluetooth and some of Nissan’s ‘safety shield’ systems – such as lane departure warning and emergency braking. This helps to make the £11,995 starting price with the 1.0-litre petrol engine look very attractive.

While adding manual air conditioning and stop/start technology, Visia+ starts at £13,795, which is a significant leap for little change on the base level.

Acenta

Next up is Acenta, which is where the Micra really comes into its own, by adding larger 16-inch steel wheels (alloy wheels as standard), cruise control and seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system – which is much improved from the previous Micra – that also includes Apple CarPlay and App Integration, which allows you to use some mobile apps on the move.

With more personalisation options available from this level also, the £14,995 price point is competitive in the sector.

N-Connecta

N-Connecta adds another level of premium options, such as the electric folding door mirrors, rear privacy glass and leather steering wheel, with the NissanConnect navigation and entertainment system and automatic air conditioning also being added.

Rear privacy glass adds an extra stylish element to the already cool-looking Micra, and the £1,000 increase on Acenta to £15,995 is a warranted option.

Tekna

The top-level Tekna trim, however, adds a unique feature to the supermini segment – a BOSE sound system with in-headrest speakers for the front two passengers. The fully customisable speaker set is a great multimedia addition for the younger customers and with a rear view camera and parking sensors as well as leather trim and keyless entry and start.

The £17,295 pricing – however steep it is – is competitive amongst its peers.

Summary

  1. Excellent safety features that can out-do rivals
  2. All engines available are efficient and offer little to no road tax
  3. Plenty of spec options to choose from, although prices can be excessive
  4. Larger cabin but reduced rear headroom
  5. Is in a very competitive sector with established premium rivals
  6. Much more attractive than earlier versions
  7. Older models can be cheap runabouts, but not that great to drive
  8. Previous generations can suffer from worrying problems
  9. Much improved technological features and interior feel
  10. Can be somewhat dull to drive when compared to rivals