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
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.
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.
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.