New Nissan Micra vs rivals

Nissan’s latest-generation Micra meets current favourites from Suzuki and Hyundai

New Micra vs. rivals header

Is the tide turning in the 
supermini sector? Nissan’s quirky Juke crossover model aims to upset the established hatchback contenders, but 
the firm’s traditional entrant in this class hasn’t been forgotten.

The Micra name stretches all the way back to 1982, and 
the fourth-generation model has finally arrived. It’s more a case of evolution rather than revolution for the tiny runaround, though, as it builds on the strengths which have made the Micra badge so famous down the years. 

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

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Compact proportions, cute looks and competitive prices all aim to secure it a slice of the supermini pie. The newcomer is available with only a single engine option – a 1.2-litre petrol unit – and here 
we assess it in mid-range Acenta trim.

Rivals in this segment come thick 
and fast, and the new Suzuki Swift is the first name on our test sheet. It shares the Micra’s Japanese roots, tight dimensions and affordability. Completing our trio is the Hyundai i20, which could almost have been designed using the old Micra as its inspiration.

It is small on the outside, big on the inside and comes loaded with kit. Attractive prices and a five-year warranty make it particularly attractive in the current chill of economic recession.

Verdict

Competition is fierce in the crowded supermini sector – so any newcomer has to be on top of its game to succeed. In terms of showroom appeal, the new Micra starts on a strong footing; it is practical, well equipped and has an attractive price tag. But despite these qualities, it takes the wooden spoon in this test.

Peer past the big-car kit list and you will discover a machine that has clearly been built down to price. The cabin looks and feels low rent, while the styling lacks the cheeky appeal of the Micra’s predecessor. Adding to the list of complaints are the raucous powerplant, poor ride comfort and uninspiring handling.

That leaves the Suzuki and Hyundai to fight it out over top spot. If you demand plenty of kit and a class-leading warranty above all else, the i20 is the car for you. It’s also spacious, well built and good to drive. However, it loses out by the narrowest of margins to the Swift. 

The Japanese machine isn’t as well equipped or roomy as its rivals here, but it stands apart thanks to its high-class feel. It is also great to drive, a lively performer and incredibly refined.

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