Nissan Micra review (2003-2010)
The Micra is a charming supermini that in many guises looks a steal - especially given the firm's reputation for quality and longevity.
Driving: The Micra is a tall car, so it should be no surprise to find that body roll is a factor when cornering hard, even in the stiffened 160R. However, it always remains faithful and the steering is meaty and precise during initial turn in, with good levels of feel for a supermini. The ride is impressive, absorbing bumps well and remaining free from surface patter. Engines are fun, revvy motors - even the diesels, which are even more economical than the efficient petrol units. However, the Nisan isn't perfect, as it can get boomy at motorway speeds, which is tiring.
Marketplace: The Micra is a cute and distinctive supermini, offered in both three- and five-door guises, plus a more recent coupe-cabriolet two-door. There is a large range of trims, though while it shares a platform with the latest Renault Clio, only 1.5-litre dCi diesels are shared between the two. They're excellent units, but the Micra's petrol units are effective too, with the 1.2-litre providing impressive go considering its good value list price. At the top of the range sits a hot version, the 160R, but don't be fooled! The 160 moniker refers to the engine size, not its power output. That's a more modest 108bhp.
Owning: The Micra was facelifted in 2005, but little was changed. There were few criticisms of the cabin before, so why change it? Build quality is impressive, as is the logical layout, while there are plenty of cubbies up front and a neat curry hook by the passenger's knee. We only wish some of the compartments had a rubber base to stop items sliding about. The seats could also be more supportive - their very flat base doesn't grip you, so you feel like you're sitting in them. We wish they were lower, too. However, rear passengers have nothing to complain about in terms of leg or foot room - though headroom is very tight for adults. The back bench has a clever sliding function, allowing you to juggle passenger space and boot volume, but the folding action lacks flexibility. The Micra is very well equipped and promises to be cheap to run, while retained values are OK. The car's reliability record is superb, though newer rivals beat it in the Euro-NCAP stakes.