Nissan Micra (2013-2017) review
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The Micra’s interior may look premium at a glance but in reality the materials are low-cost and the finish is below the class standard. Reviewers were disappointed that the Micra offers many technologically advanced features, but feels really cheap inside. There’s more passenger space than the old model, though and the boot capacity is on par with rivals.
The old model was decent if not exceptional to drive, but this new “global car” tries to be a jack of all trades but ends up master of none. The body leans in corners, the grip is poor and the steering vague. The car is manoeuvrable in town, but excessive noise in the cabin lets it down on the motorway.
Light controls make the Micra an excellent learner car
There is no diesel engine option, but the two petrols on offer do the job just fine and are cheap to run, too. Pick the lower-power one if you rarely go out of town or the supercharged one for added performance. The manual gearbox is the recommended choice because the automatic makes the car slower and use more fuel.
Basic models are indeed basic in their equipment – you get electric front windows, stability control, Bluetooth phone connection and body coloured bumpers. That last one may seem laughable, but bear in mind that the basic Dacia Sandero doesn’t come with body coloured bumpers.
An all-new model has been spotted testing in prototype form – take a look at the new Nissan Micra by reading our price, specs and release date article.
The old Micra was still a tidy handler right up until replacement. The current one has been designed for a global – mainly developing world – market and then re-tuned for European tastes.
Out of town, the Micra quickly feels out its depth
There are two engines available in the Micra and they’re both 1.2-litre three cylinders. Despite the lack of a diesel, the petrols are decently frugal and cheap to run.
The entry-level model is a regular 79hp unit that’s reasonably smooth and fun to rev, even if it gets a little noisy in the process. It offers 115g/km and 56.5mpg combined (5% worse with the CVT automatic gearbox) and should be just enough for urban driving, but on the motorway, it’s small capacity starts to become quite noticeable.
Alternatively, you can have a supercharged version of the same engine, which produces more power but better fuel economy. This unconventional type of engine is dubbed “Miller Cycle” and has only seen production once before, 20 years ago at Mazda and it’s a first on an engine this small. The net result is 97hp and 68.9mpg – up to 78mpg on the extra-urban run – equating to 95g/km CO2 and free road tax. It comes at a £1,750 premium but is a remarkable engine in a completely unexpected application.
The Micra does its best work around town. The light steering, high glass-to-bodywork ratio, small turning circle and soft suspension means it copes well with the daily grind and supermarket duties.
Get it out onto the open road though and the Micra is asked more questions than it can answer. There’s lots of body roll and the steering is too vague for a bit of light entertainment down a twisty road, while getting up to speed on a motorway is slow to put it mildly. Heavy road and wind noise don’t help the Micra’s case either.
Whoever designed the Micra’s interior obviously wasn’t keen to stick one overriding theme – the dashboard is a mess of circles and rectangles, with a few ovals thrown in for good measure.