The Nissan Micra is a big improvement on the old model in areas including styling, interior quality and the driving experience, but how does it compare to rivals?
The previous generation Micra had the apparent aim of being ‘cheap and cheerful’, but compared to rivals like the Ford Fiesta, this strategy didn’t work in the UK, and the overall consensus was that the quality had to be improved. So enter the new Micra – how much better is it?
One of the main items of good news to report is that the styling of the new Micra is much improved compared to the previous model. It looks like a modern product for the European market – something that could never be said for its predecessor. Interestingly, while the new Ford Fiesta has gone down the route of having an appearance with less character than before, the Micra offers something for customers who want more modern, sporty styling. Our test car had 17-inch alloys, as well as orange exterior and interior personalisation packs, which helps it appeal to the more youthful market.
Compared to the previous Micra, the interior is one of the biggest advances of the new car. Although there’s an overall plastic feel to the dashboard, on our test car this was broken up by an orange stitched leather-effect strip, which appears to be inspired by premium manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover. It actually works quite well, helping to give the Micra a unique and more upmarket feel to its interior than many other cars in its class. However, although life is acceptable up front, legroom in the rear seats isn’t particularly generous.
Our test car had a 90PS 0.9-litre petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Unlike the larger LEAF and Juke, the Micra’s steering wheel has both reach and height adjustment – hooray! This means that most people should be able to get a decent driving position. However the driver’s seat wasn’t hugely comfortable.
As with most new cars, there’s a start-stop button to fire the Micra into life. Once you’re underway, the Micra feels reasonably light and agile, with decent handling. The ride is average for its class, as is the steering; it’s not as direct as a MINI.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the Micra is that the engine is hesitant at low revs, meaning that it feels a bit difficult to get going. Overall, the 1-litre EcoBoost engine in the Ford Fiesta is a more refined, polished and eager unit.
The Micra has a 5 rather than a 6-speed gearbox, and this is one of the contributing factors to it being on the noisy side on the motorway, along with the intrusion of some road noise.
Although the touchscreen is fairly small, there are menu buttons around the edge of the screen, and there are also separate heating controls, all of which is much better than all controls being on the touchscreen. There’s also a good reversing camera.
The official combined economy figure for the Nissan Micra Tekna 0.9 IG-T 90 is 61.4 mpg, equating to 104 g/km CO2. Although after a week of mixed driving we averaged 50.4mpg, during our time with the car we sat for many, many miles through motorway roadworks at 50mph, when the Micra was often delivering an indicated 85mpg. So the Micra has the potential to be very economical if driven carefully. At 70mph it returned around 52mpg. Because of the decent economy, it has a useful real-life driving range in the region of 360 miles – which is a lot more useful than that of the all-electric, zero-emission, Nissan LEAF.
The price of our test car, including its Echo Grey metallic paint (£575.00), was £17,870. However it also had options of Vision+ Pack – Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention (£550), Exterior Pack Plus including 17” alloy wheels and Personalisation – Orange (£550), Interior Personalisation Pack – Orange (£400), taking the total price of this car to £19,370.
The Micra is available in a number of trim levels: Visia from £11,995, Acenta from £14,145, N-Connecta from £16,115, and iTekna from £17,435. You can choose from petrol and diesel engine options.
The Nissan Micra 0.9 IG-T 90 is a vastly better car in virtually every respect than its predecessor. It has much more attractive styling, and the interior in particular has a much more upmarket feel (if you drove the previous Micra you may say this isn’t a difficult thing to achieve). The driving experience feels reasonably light and agile, but the main issue with this engine is its hesitancy at low revs. Overall the Micra 0.9 IG-T 90 gains a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.