Nissan Micra Review: Not So Mumsy Anymore

Nissan Micra Review: Not So Mumsy Anymore

Nice little car, bit of an image problem…sums up how most of us have viewed the Nissan Micra, but it’s all change with the new one. 

For more than 30 years, and through four model generations, the Nissan Micra has endeared itself to be-smitten owners. Anyone who has ever owned one seems keen to tell you what great little cars they are, and how untroublesome and reliable they seem to be.

It’s just a bit sad that nobody really aspires to own a Micra, because the dumpy little supermini has always had a bit of an image problem. Younger drivers don’t crave to get behind the wheel. It’s viewed as the kind of car your mum drives, or maybe even your grandma. It has always been more of a tweed jacket motor than a jeans-and-teeshirt kind of machine.

Not any more. The latest, fifth generation Micra has just hit the streets, and it has been transformed. Out goes the rather dumpy look and in comes a sleeker, sexier style for the car that is developed in Japan and built in the UK, at Nissan’s Sunderland factory.

Trendy and techy

This new Micra not only looks a lot trendier, and something that younger drivers will be happy to be seen in. It is also a lot techier than previously. It is equipped with active ride control and active trace control, and these systems automatically adjust the car’s engine power output and braking force as a means of enhancing stability on the bends.

As a result, it feels more sure-footed and grippy when you’re getting a move on along a country back-road. It has better body control and tauter handling. It’s more enjoyable to drive, less stodgy and more fun behind the wheel than any previous Micra.

It also has access to the modern connectivity we now all crave. There’s Bluetooth to link upo your mobile phone, and better-equipped Micras higher up the range now have a seven-inch infotainment screen with satnav and Apple CarPlay. There’s an optional Bose audio system with 360-degree hifi to blast out your favourite music.

Safety kit has been upped too, and you can have a Micra with lane departure warning, intelligent emergency braking and pedestrian detection.

Personalising it

In line with the trend for making cars a bit more individual, the new Micra has a palette of 10 different body colours, can be highlighted with any of four identification shades, and there are three cabin decor options. So there are 100 variations of how you can opt to have the car’s colour scheme looking.

The choice of engines is between two petrol units and one diesel. Both petrol motors are three-cylinder. One is 0.9 litres and turbocharged (89 bhp), and the other is a non-turbo one-litre (72 bhp). The diesel is 1.5 litres and 89 bhp.

Size-wise, the Micra has a slightly bigger footprint but sits a little lower than before, which results in it looking less primly upright. It is 17 cm longer than its predecessor, eight cm wider and five cm less tall. That makes it feel roomier for knee and elbow space inside, although you can’t stretch out too much in the back. The boot has gone up in size by 35 litres, and is now 300 litres, bigger than that of most rivals.

So the Micra is all-round improved and deserves to shed its mumsy image. It is much more engaging to drive, and has a lot more street cred. Maybe it needed a name change too to emphasise the difference.

Nissan Micra Stats Review

Model tested: Micra N-Connecta 1.5 dCi 90

Top speed:  111 mph

0-62 mph:  11.9 secs

Economy:  88.3 mpg

CO2:  104 g/km

Price:   £17,920

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Sue Baker is a seasoned motoring journalist with a love of all things automotive.

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