Nissan Micra review (2005-2009)
This is by no means Nissan's best car, and it doesn't bring anything new to the class.
Even though the C+C tips the scales at 134kg more than the hatch, its engines perform well, particularly the 1.6-litre. It propels the car from 0-60mph in 10.6 seconds, and despite long gearing, proves responsive at speed - making motorway trips easier. So it's a pity wind noise isn't better contained. At 70mph with the roof up, the Nissan is decidedly noisy. Even town driving can be disconcerting as a lot of noise enters the cabin - although the ride soaks up urban potholes and doesn't deteriorate when you up the pace. Nissan has strengthened large sections of the chassis to keep scuttle shake under control, and although there's more vibration when you lower the roof, by and large the C+C remains impressively stable. The weighty, positive steering is also accurate.
According to Nissan, nearly 70 per cent of C+Cs will be brought by women - but given the styling, we think the ratio will be even higher than that. The cute, bubbly bodywork certainly doesn't give a macho stance. While the distinctive nose has been retained, elsewhere the C+C isn't as cohesive as the standard hatchback. The main area of weakness is the back end, which is critical in this class. The cabriolet has been stretched by 87mm, all of which has been added aft of the rear wheels. As a result, it appears ungainly, while the dumpy side profile is less than elegant, too. Offered with two petrol engines, in three trim levels, the Micra's rivals include the Vauxhall Tigra, Peugeot 206 CC and Citroen Pluriel.
The roof mechanism is to blame for the C+C's ungainly looks, as it needs extra space to fold neatly into the boot. However, it's such a simple operation that you can almost forgive the car's odd looks - all you do is press one button, and the rest is automatic. The bootlid tilts back, and the two-part metal top drops out of sight into the luggage space in 21 seconds. You have to remember to pull the partition across the load bay first, but on the whole it's neat, quiet and well-engineered. The Micra also has an airy cabin, helped by the glass panel in the roof. Build quality is spot-on and the plastics are good, too. The C+C gets the same smart new radio as all revised Micras, while the air-conditioning controls are a doddle to use and the black design suits the interior well. What's more, the Micra proves cabriolets needn't be impractical. There are plenty of cupholders, while the boot is a reasonable size even roof-down. However, the chairs leave a lot to be desired. The C+C has the same lofty driving position as the hatch, but because the windscreen has been angled back and the car is 99mm lower, you sit closer to the headlining - and feel quite hemmed in as a result. And further back, the rear seats can only really be used as extra storage. Out 1.6-litre test car also only averaged 27.2mpg. Retained values are good though, and our Essenza model was very well-equipped.