Nissan Micra

We get behind the wheel of a UK-spec Micra for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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Nissan's latest supermini isn't particularly engaging to drive, nor is it particularly stylish. But, it is easy to drive, surprisingly spacious and cheap. For some, that makes the Nissan a perfect car. Those looking for added performance should wait for the supercharged 1.2-litre engine joining the line-up next year, which boasts improved acceleration and tax-free emissions of 95g/km.

The Micra is going global! The latest version of Nissan's supermini will be sold in over 160 countries worldwide and will initially be built in Thailand, Mexico, India and China. But, in trying to appeal to a global audience has the newcomer spread itself too thin?

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

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The good news is that UK-specification Micras aren't the same as those currently on sale in Thailand. Over here we get retuned suspension, softer compound tyres and a lower ride height as well as front and rear anti-roll bars.

The interior gets some improvements too – there's more soft-touch materials and a few clever design touches including a double-opening glovebox. But have the changes made the new Micra a real contender in the competitive supermini segment?

On the road, the changes have made a world of difference to the Thai-spec car we drove a few months ago. It still doesn't offer the engaging drive that you'd get from a Fiesta, but the new roll-bars give the Micra a more planted feel through the bends.

The steering has been weighted up a little and now offers more feedback. It's still not a chore to drive around town though and the Micra can weave in and out of traffic easily. The class-leading 4.5-metre turning circle only adds to the newcomer's urban talents.

The upgraded interior is a definite improvement and touches like the chrome door handles help to set-off an otherwise drab cabin. On the plus side, everything feels solid and the amount of space is equally as impressive. There's room in the back seats for adults and the boot is surprisingly spacious, with 265 litres on offer.

Unfortunately, there's a few things that haven't changed from Thai models. The new 78bhp three-cylinder engine sounds a little rough and feels slow, despite the Micra's featherweight 915kg kerbweight. It adds up to a 0-62mph time of 13.7 seconds and a top speed of 106mph. Economy and emissions stand at 56mpg and 115g/km respectively.

The engine can be mated either to a five-speed manual gearbox or an automatic CVT unit, but the latter tends to stifle the power on offer a little so we'd recommend you opt for the manual version.

The restrained design remains too. With its global aspirations, the Micra has to appeal to a worldwide audience and that shows through in the slightly uninspiring exterior. It's smart enough but won't stand out against stylish rivals like the Fiesta and Fiat 500.

With prices starting at £8,995 it's good value for money. But, while the Micra doesn't do too much wrong, it also doesn't do enough to make it stand out. Other models offer a similar driving experience and a dash more style, but none can rival the Micra for price.

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