Nissan Micra 2013

We drive the new-look Nissan Micra, which is powered by an efficient 1.2-litre supercharged petrol engine

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The updated Nissan Micra can now count style among its list of attributes thanks to this successful makeover. Unfortunately, changes to the cabin haven’t quite gone far enough so it still feels built to a budget. That extends to the way it drives, too, with poor refinement and a questionable ride. This engine’s performance and running costs are both big positives, but nothing particularly new in this extremely competitive class.

This is the new Nissan Micra - says Nissan. But to the rest of us it's an updated version of the current model for 2013, featuring new technology and a new look. With plenty of budget supermini competition, we got behind the wheel to find out if the changes to the refreshed Micra are extensive enough to ward off the competition.

The visual tweaks include new bumpers, front wings, headlights and a new grille, helping to create a much more masculine and stylish design than the old Micra. There are some new alloy wheel designs and a new Pacific Blue paint to help brighten things up, too.

Even more welcome than the exterior update are tweaks to the interior. The pre-facelift car’s bland cabin has been smartened up with a gloss black centre console and the option of a larger 5.8-inch touchscreen for the optional NissanConnect sat-nav. It’s a little better but hard scratchy plastics throughout still cheapen the experience.

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Nothing has changed under the skin so you can either have a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine or the supercharged DIG-S 1.2 driven here. It boasts 97bhp and is perfect for zipping around town.

Keep it in the city and the Micra feels right at home. The steering is light and the compact footprint makes it easy to place, helped further by the excellent visibility.

Unfortunately, at higher speeds the suspension doesn’t feel up to the job of dealing with rough roads, crashing over ridges and generally feeling a little unsettled. The engine makes a racket in the cabin and there’s a lot of wind and road noise, too.

Micra dimensions are unchanged so there’s a generous 265-litre boot – 52 litres up on a Suzuki Swift – and a split-folding rear bench if you avoid entry-level Visia models. We’d recommend going for Acenta because it comes with cruise control, Bluetooth, climate control and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.

That’s a generous equipment list, and at a price that’s almost the same as rivals like the Hyundai i20 and Suzuki Swift. But, while this facelifted car now has more of the style you’d associate with cars at the top of this class, the rest of the package struggles to keep up. The i20 is just as cheap – if not cheaper – and feels like a higher quality car.

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