Used Nissan Micra (Mk5, 2016-date) review
A full used buyer’s guide on the Nissan Micra covering the Micra Mk5 (2016-date)
The Nissan Micra is a common sight on UK roads, and for good reason. Affordability, reliability and efficiency are what helped this small car to prove very popular when it initially launched in 1982, and there are now plenty of used Micras of all ages to be found at tempting prices.
First and second-generation Micras are well-regarded for being pretty hard-wearing mechanically, while the Mk3 Micra brought along quirky styling and a fair amount of features for its time. Unfortunately, Nissan somewhat dropped the ball with the Mk4, which arrived in 2010. Developed primarily as a cheap car for emerging markets, its bland styling and rather dull image meant it struggled to compete in the tough European market.
When the latest Mk5 Micra was introduced in 2016, it was clear that Nissan had learnt from their mistakes and was back on form, delivering a distinctive and capable supermini.
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The first Mk5 Micras were delivered in March 2017. At that time buyers could choose between a 0.9-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine or a 1.5-litre dCi diesel, both rated at 89bhp. A new entry-level model, with a 70bhp non-turbo 1.0-litre engine, arrived three months later.
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In 2019, updates saw the 0.9-litre petrol engine replaced with a more powerful and fuel-efficient 1.0-litre turbocharged unit, with the choice of either 100bhp or 117bhp. A new CVT automatic gearbox, named Xtronic, was also introduced to the range, as was a 6-speed manual as part of the ‘N-Sport’ trim, to give something of a warm hatch feel when paired to the 117bhp engine.
There were six standard trim levels, but in September 2017 a Bose Personal Edition appeared, limited to 600 examples in the UK. Each was based on the range-topping Micra Tekna and included the Bose stereo of this car, along with orange detailing and LED headlights. Standard safety features across the range were also hugely improved over the previous model, with intelligent lane intervention, intelligent emergency braking, pedestrian recognition, traffic sign recognition and high beam assist all fitted as standard.
Which one should I buy?
The 70bhp non-turbo petrol engine is fine for local journeys but struggles on longer ones, so we’d recommend a Micra with a turbocharged engine, preferably with a manual gearbox rather than the CVT auto, because the latter isn’t as pleasant to use.
The entry-level Micra Visia comes with steel wheels, Bluetooth and electrically adjustable door mirrors; the Visia+ gains air-conditioning. The Acenta adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel and traffic-sign recognition. The N-Sport comes with electrically folding door mirrors, tinted windows, 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, as well as keyless go plus leather and Alcantara trim. The Micra N-Connecta also adds climate control, electric rear windows and sat-nav, while the range-topping Micra Tekna adds a Bose hi-fi.
Alternatives to the Nissan Micra Mk5
The supermini segment is bursting with appealing options. The Ford Fiesta is a great all-rounder; it’s plentiful, has a wide model range, is roomy and well equipped, plus it’s great fun to drive. The Fiesta is eminently affordable, too, just like the Vauxhall Corsa, which is also plentiful and spacious.
The SEAT Ibiza looks smart, is easy to live with, keenly priced and comes with some great engines – just like its cousins, the Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo, although the latter is relatively costly.
If value is more of a priority, take a look at the Kia Rio and the mechanically related Hyundai i20, newer examples of these may even still be covered by the manufacturer warranty, especially the Kia with its 7-year/100,000 mile coverage. Other superminis to shortlist include the Renault Clio, Mazda 2 and Peugeot 208, as well as the Toyota Yaris.
What to look for
All Micras come with engine stop-start, apart from the entry-level Visia and models fitted with the 70bhp 1.0-litre engine.
The front and rear light units can suffer from condensation at times, but the owner’s handbooks says this is normal.
The Micra has a firm ride, and the DIG-T 117 is even firmer because it has sport suspension, so bear this in mind on the test drive.
Safety is a key feature, with all Micras getting autonomous emergency braking as standard, along with a lane-keep assistance system.
The cabin is a Micra high spot – at least for those in the front seats. The plunging roofline limits rear-seat headroom, but it’s not too cramped for adults, although the narrow rear windows can make the second row feel claustrophobic; mind you, no one expects masses of rear space in a supermini.
What impresses most is the clear design of the dashboard and the decent materials used throughout the interior, although the clunky infotainment system is beaten by rivals. Depending on spec, the Micra can also come with quite a bright, colourful cabin, which is a nice touch when rivals’ interiors are fairly dour.
Check out the latest used prices for the Nissan Micra on our sister site Buyacar.
All Micras need to be serviced every 12 months or 9,000 miles, whichever comes first, with those services alternating between minor and major. These are priced at £229 and £319 respectively for petrol-engined Micras, and £269 and £369 for diesel models. Some dealers are also including a year’s RAC breakdown cover with both the minor and major service.
Only the 1.5 dCi diesel engine is fitted with a cambelt, which needs to be replaced every 10 years or 100,000 miles; Nissan dealers charge £309 to do the work. The brake fluid needs to be renewed every two years or 18,000 miles, the cost of which is included in the major service. However, you’ll have to pay an extra £100 or so for the coolant to be replaced for the first time after 62,500 miles or five years, then every four years or 37,500 miles after that. The air-con should be regassed every 2-3 years which will cost from around £149 at a Nissan dealer.
Four recalls so far isn’t a disaster by any measure. The first came in August 2017 and affected 1,615 Micras built between May 2016 and April 2017, which were fitted with a faulty ignition switch that could shut down the engine and refuse to let it start again. In March 2018, 14 Micras built in September and October 2017 were recalled because they were built with faulty wheel hubs. That was the smallest recall; the biggest, meanwhile, came in September 2019 and affected 12,119 Micras made between September 2016 and October 2017, which could suffer from the passenger airbag tearing in the event of a crash.
The most recent campaign came in October 2019 and affected a number of Micras produced between July and November 2018; these cars had faulty VIN labels.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
The Micra Mk5 hasn’t featured in the Driver Power new car survey for the past two years, but when it last appeared in 2019, it finished a disappointing 63rd place (out of 75 entries). High spots included front seat comfort, fuel economy, steering feel and switchgear layout; everything else was mid-table at best. Of eight owner reviews on Carbuyer.co.uk, three give a five-star review, while the other five are just one star because of poor reliability.
When Nissan introduced the current Micra, it went to great lengths to emphasise just what an advance it was over what came before. It would have been easy to dismiss this as little more than marketing hype, but it really is a massive improvement over its predecessor in every way. It is significantly bigger, far safer, much better built and far more distinctively styled. As earlier Mk5 Micras pass their third birthday, many are now finding their way onto the used market, and a number of which offer strong savings over a brand new model.