Nissan Micra review
The stylish and safety-conscious Nissan Micra is a capable supermini, but isn't on par with the best in class
In a competitive supermini market full of talented rivals, the Nissan Micra may not always receive the recognition it deserves. But, the fifth-generation model is a stylish, small five-door hatchback that offers decent space and impressive levels of safety
The Micra handles well enough, too, although a limited engine choice lets it down, while there's no efficient hybrid technology to help boost fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. There are better alternatives available; the Renault Clio (our current Supermini of the Year) being a standout choice. However, if you're after a small family car that's easy to drive and attractively priced, the Nissan Micra might be worth a look.
About the Nissan Micra
The Nissan Micra has built a reputation over many years for affordability, reliability and ease of ownership, but rarely has this perennially popular supermini been accused of being stylish.
That all changed with the arrival of the fifth-generation Micra which was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor show. The French fashion capital was a fitting location for the debut of a model that had cast off its dowdy old clothes to take centre stage on the catwalk with a highly fashionable new look.
While it retains much of the previous model’s engineering under the skin, the latest Micra also benefits from a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine that gives Nissan’s supermini the technical leg-up it needs to compete with the best in its class. Coupled with an array of safety kit and a decently engaging drive, in 2017 we recommended the Micra as one of the supermini best buys.
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Since then, the Nissan Micra has slipped down the rankings as rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo fought back. The Fiesta is more fun to drive, the Clio more practical, while the Polo has a more upmarket interior, but the Micra is still a satisfying proposition – especially as it retains the original values that have underpinned the car’s appeal across previous generations.
A favourite with driving schools and new drivers across the UK, the Nissan Micra has been a staple of the supermini class since 1983. The first and second generations served up Japanese reliability on a plate, with a decent price to boot. The Micra Mk3 added rounded styling to the mix that added to the car's charms, but the Mk4 was a more restrained design in comparison. One common thread between all of these models is their lack of driving fun, but the Micra has always been a safe choice.
While the looks are sharper, the new Micra gets the last car's running gear under the skin. However, it has been completely updated to make sure the car is competitive, and includes some cutting-edge electronic tech taken from other Nissan models, like the Qashqai. As before, the Micra is five-door only, although Nissan has put the rear door handles in the window frames to give the car a sportier look.
The Micra features a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, which replaces the old 0.9-litre unit, while a CVT automatic transmission has also been added. The 1.0-litre originally developed two outputs - 99bhp and 115bhp, but now there's just a 91bhp model available.
Nissan has also simplified its trim line-up, with three specifications now on offer: Acenta, N-Sport and Tekna. All cars get cruise control as standard, as well as automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning system. Move up to N-Sport and you benefit from Alcantara seats, a rear-view camera and parking sensors, a black exterior pack and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Tekna trim level includes a Bose audio system, NissanConnect navigation and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
While we've mentioned the Fiesta, Clio and Polo as being hugely talented rivals, the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia are also both strong contenders. The Citroen C3 adds some youthful style to the mix, with the Peugeot 208 being the upmarket sister car to the C3.
Elsewhere, other Far Eastern rivals include the Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio, Suzuki Swift and Honda Jazz, while the Vauxhall Corsa is another staple of the class that shouldn't be ruled out.
For an alternative review of the latest Nissan Micra, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe stylish and safety-conscious Nissan Micra is a capable supermini, but isn't on par with the best in class
- 2Engines, performance and driveNissan has ensured the latest Micra is better to drive than ever, although it’s still not the best in class
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsMicra boasts respectable fuel economy and should be cheap to insure
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Micra’s up-to-date cabin matches the smart exterior look, with plenty of customisation options
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Micra features a practical boot, designed for the most common uses
- 6Reliability and safetyNissan has included an impressive list of standard safety kit for the Micra