Nissan Micra Review
The well-built Nissan Micra brings futuristic looks and a stylish interior to the small-car party but costs more than some more practical alternatives.
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The Nissan Micra is a stylish small car that’s comfortable and quiet to drive, but is slightly more expensive than the likes of the roomier Vauxhall Corsa.
The Nissan Micra’s cabin is as eye-catching as its exterior with colourful trims and all but basic Visia and Visia+ cars come with a slick 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Thankfully, the Nissan Micra’s cabin doesn’t just look good – all the switches feel solid and both the driver’s seat and sporty steering wheel comes with loads of adjustment so you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable.
Unfortunately, you can’t have lumbar support (to help reduce backache on long drives) on any model and the Nissan Micra’s back seats are more cramped than those in most alternatives. There’s a reasonable amount of knee room but passengers over six-foot tall will struggle for headroom and the narrow central seat makes carrying three abreast very cosy indeed.
The Nissan Micra’s 300-litre boot is pretty practical, though. It’s a little bigger than the ones in a Corsa, Polo or Fiesta but its tall boot lip can make loading heavy items difficult. You don’t get any handy shopping hooks but you can fold the back seats down in a two-way (60:40) split if you need to carry long luggage and a back-seat passenger at once.
Three petrol engines and one diesel are on offer, and either a five or six-speed manual, or CVT automatic gearbox. The entry-level non-turbocharged 71hp is best avoided as it feels pretty weedy. Instead, pick the turbocharged 100hp 1.0-litre petrol if you mainly potter around town – it isn’t exactly quick either, but it’s strong enough to feel nippy in town and is always smooth and quiet. In fact, it makes the more powerful 117hp 1.0-litre look a little unnecessary.
With a plush interior and modern looks, the new Micra is everything the old one wasn't
Spend more time on the motorway? You’ll want to get the 1.5-litre diesel. It’s a little noisier than the petrols at low speeds but it’s a touch faster and will return better fuel economy over long distances.
Whichever model you pick, the Nissan Micra’s one of the more comfortable small cars around. Most models tackle bumps and potholes with impressive composure – only the stiffer, sportier N-Sport model is a touch too firm. Still, all cars keep unpleasant wind noise to a minimum even on the motorway.
The Nissan Micra received a four-star safety rating in the strict 2017 Euro NCAP crash tests. This score is comparable to older five-star ratings and means the Nissan Micra’s one of the safest small cars on sale – although he SEAT Ibiza got the full five-star rating in the same year.
So, although the Nissan Micra’s not quite as practical or fun to drive as other small family cars it’s well worth considering if you’re looking for something comfortable and you don’t mind paying a little more for some desirable extras.
If you want to see what sort of offers are available, click through to our Nissan Micra deals page.
Even tall drivers can get comfortable in the Nissan Micra, and it has lots of storage inside, but some alternatives are better for rear-seat passengers and the boot is awkward to load
The Micra's a decent car, but let down by a few details. Where's the adjustable lumbar support, for example, and where are the hooks to hold up your shopping in the boot?
Every Nissan Micra comes with plenty of steering-wheel adjustment and a height-adjustable driver’s seat as standard so even tall drivers can get comfy. The front seats are nicely cushioned but not particularly supportive so you can find yourself sliding about a bit on twisty roads.
Annoyingly, you can’t get the Nissan Micra’s seats with adjustable lumbar support so you might suffer from some back ache on long motorway journeys.
Things don’t really improve if you jump in the back seats. There’s a reasonable amount of knee room and plenty of space for your feet under the seats in front but anyone over six-foot tall will really struggle for headroom.
Need to carry three abreast? The Nissan Micra might not be for you. The central back seat is rather hard and narrow and there’s significantly less shoulder room than you get in a Vauxhall Corsa.
You get Isofix anchor points on both outer rear seats but you can fit a child seat to the front passenger seat, too. The slightly narrow back doors and hidden Isofix anchor points can make securing a seat base in the back rather tricky, however.
You won’t have too much trouble keeping your Nissan Micra’s cabin nice and tidy. There are a few handy cubby holes dotted around and the front door bins are big enough to hold both a large and small bottle each. The glovebox is about average for a supermini (it can hold a small water bottle and the owner’s manual) and there’s a small tray for your smartphone under the dashboard.
Unfortunately, things aren’t so good in the back seats – sense a theme developing yet? The back doors don’t come with any storage bins and your passengers will have to share a single cupholder between them.
The Nissan Micra’s 300-litre boot is big enough to carry a baby stroller and some soft bags or a set of golf clubs – at a push. It’s between 10 and 20 litres larger than the boots you’ll find in a Fiesta, Corsa or Polo but its tall boot lip makes loading large or heavy items a bit of a pain.
Annoyingly, you can’t adjust the boot floor height (an option that is available in the Polo and Fiesta) and there aren’t any handy shopping hooks to stop things rolling around in the back. You can fold the seats down in a two-way (60:40) split if you need to carry long luggage and up to two passengers in the back at once, however.
Flip both back seats down (using buttons beside the headrests) and you can carry 1,004 litres in the Nissan Micra’s boot. That’s more than the 952-litre Polo but less than the 1,093-litre Fiesta and 1,120-litre Corsa – in other words, a bike will fit but you’ll have to remove a wheel first.
You’ll also need to lift the headrests up a notch before the back seats will lie flat. Even then there’s still a very large step in the boot floor that makes it difficult to slide heavy boxes right up behind the front seats.
The Nissan Micra is one of the most relaxing small cars to drive and it’s impressively quiet on the move too, but the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol model is painfully slow
The Micra’s automatic gearbox is one of the best CVTs we’ve tried. Because Nissan’s 1.0-litre petrol is so quiet, there’s none of the usual din when you put your foot down.
You can get the Nissan Micra with one diesel and three different petrol engines, and with either a five or six-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.
Pick the 100hp 1.0-litre petrol if you mainly potter around town – it isn’t exactly quick, but it’s strong enough to feel nippy in town and is always smooth and quiet. In fact, it makes the more powerful 117hp 1.0-litre look a little unnecessary. You can also get a cheaper 71hp 1.0-litre non-turbocharged petrol Nissan Micra if you’re on a tight budget. Unfortunately, it takes more than 16 seconds to wheeze from 0-62mph and struggles to overtake quickly on the motorway.
If you do spend a lot of time on the motorway you’ll want to consider the 1.5-litre diesel. It’s a little pricier than the petrols but it’s more efficient. It’ll accelerate to 62mph from rest in 11.9 seconds and can return around 70mpg in real-world conditions if you go easy on the accelerator.
You can get a petrol Nissan Micra with a CVT automatic gearbox to help take some of the stress out of long journeys and heavy traffic and it’s one of the better CVTs on sale, but the standard-fit five-speed manual is easy to use and cheaper to buy. The faster 117hp 1.0-litre petrol gets six gears rather than five.
The Nissan Micra’s light steering helps make it fairly easy to thread through tight city streets but the pillar between the front door and the windscreen creates a fairly sizeable blindspot – especially when you’re pulling out of junctions.
The small rear windscreen can make parking a little nerve-wracking but N-Sport and Tekna models come with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera to help you avoid any bumps and scrapes. These are also optional on lesser trims.
To really show off to your friends, you’ll want to add optional Vision+ pack because it comes with a 360-degree camera system that displays a bird’s-eye view of the car and its surroundings on the infotainment display. It’s the kind of feature you’d expect to find in a posh SUV – not a Nissan Micra.
Whichever model you pick, the Nissan Micra’s one of the more comfortable small cars around. It’ll tackle bumps and potholes with impressive composure, although the stiffer, sportier N-Sport model is a touch too firm. Still, all cars keep unpleasant wind noise to a minimum – even on the motorway.
The Micra doesn’t lean much on twisty country roads either, although you’ll have more fun driving the more agile Ford Fiesta. All but Visia and Visia+ models come with cruise control as standard. As a result, the Micra’s one of the most relaxing small cars to drive on long journeys.
The N-Sport model comes with stiffer lowered suspension, different steering and the most potent 117hp 1.0-litre petrol as standard. In truth, it feels a little too firm over bumps, its steering is artificially heavy and there isn’t enough performance to call it a true warm hatchback.
Euro NCAP awarded the Nissan Micra a four-star safety rating in 2017. All models come with traffic sign recognition, automatic emergency braking (a system that’ll apply the brakes for you to help prevent a collision) and lane departure warning as standard but you can get blind-spot warning and obstacle detection as part of the Vision+ pack making it one of the safest small cars on sale.
The Nissan Micra’s eye-catching cabin feels impressively well built for such a small car but you’ll have to pay extra for some key tech and colourful soft-touch trims