The Nissan Micra is one of the most relaxing small cars to drive and it’s impressively quiet on the move too, but the basic 1.0-litre petrol model is painfully slow
You can get the Nissan Micra with one diesel and a pair of petrol engines, and with either a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.
Pick the perky 0.9-litre turbo petrol if you spend most time driving around town. It’s smoother and quieter than the diesel and will return around 50mpg in normal driving conditions – compared to Nissan’s claimed 64.2mpg. It’ll struggle slightly to keep up with fast-moving motorway traffic but it has no trouble accelerating from 0-62mph in a respectable (but hardly rapid) 12.1 seconds.
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 really struggles to overtake slow-moving motorway traffic. It’s reasonably happy pottering around town but you have to work it hard to keep up with traffic and it can’t match the 0.9-litre model’s fuel economy – despite Nissan’s claims it’ll return a similar 61.4mpg.
No Micras come with the option of an automatic gearbox so getting stuck in traffic can start to feel a bit like a left leg workout at the gym
If you 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 (expect to spend between £1,330 and £2,750 more depending on which model you choose) but it’s both quicker and 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, but the standard-fit five-speed manual is easy enough to use and helps keep engine noise to a minimum when you accelerate hard.
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 Tekna models come with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera to help you avoid any bumps and scrapes. To really show off to your friends, you’ll want to add optional £550 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.
The Nissan deals with potholes very well for a small car – especially if you pick a model with smaller 16-inch alloy wheels – and its special acoustic windscreen helps limit the amount of wind noise you’ll hear at motorway speeds.
It doesn’t lean much on twisty country roads either, and 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.
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 £550 Vision+ pack making it one of the safest small cars on sale.