Nissan Micra DIG-S

30 Aug, 2011 10:34am Luke Madden

Eco supermini cuts running costs but it comes at a price


In its most basic Visia trim, the Micra DIG-S is one of the cheapest road tax-free cars out there – it undercuts diesel rivals by around £2,000. But range-topping Tekna spec takes you into Fiesta ECOnetic and Skoda Fabia GreenLine territory, and we’d pick either of those over the new Nissan. With its poor interior, vague handling and jittery ride, it simply can’t match more polished competitors. 
Fancy the running costs of a diesel with the refinement of a petrol engine? Nissan claims to have the answer, with the Micra DIG-S.

It’s powered by a 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit and fitted with a small supercharger for a total of 97bhp. More importantly, though, it emits only 99g/km of CO2, which means the supermini qualifies for free road tax.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Nissan Micra

The Micra’s clever fuel-saving technology – including stop-start and an alternator that charges the battery under light throttle loads – worked seamlessly during our drive. But we struggled to hit the claimed 68.9mpg economy figure.

Power is up 17bhp over the standard Micra’s 80bhp. This cuts the 0-62mph time by 2.4 seconds to 11.4 seconds – although the car doesn’t seem much quicker. Handling is vague thanks to the light steering and, at high speed, the ride feels unsettled.

On the plus side, there’s lots of kit in this range-topping Tekna model, including Bluetooth, sat-nav, rear-parking sensors and cruise control. It’s worth noting, however, that the £13,650 price tag is about the same as for a Ford Fiesta Edge ECOnetic, which is a better car to drive.

Still, the most basic Micra DIG-S, the Visia, costs £11,150. And for that money, you’ll struggle to find anything that’s as cheap to run. 

Key specs

* Price: £13,650
* Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl supercharged, 97bhp
* Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 11.4 seconds
* Top speed: 111mph
* Economy: 68.9mpg
* CO2: 99g/km
* Equipment: Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors, alloy wheels 
* On sale: September