THE NEW Nissan Micra is unrecognisable when compared to its predecessor – and that’s definitely a good thing.

The fourth generation Micra was seen by critics as dowdy and uninspiring, so it’s just as well that its successor has undergone one of the most radical transformations of a car in recent years.

The sharp and futuristic appearance of the new Micra gives the Japanese company renewed hope of attracting the type of buyers who may have been tempted by a Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa.

First launched in Europe in 1983, the Micra became widely-recognised as a characterful and well-built model – a fact reflected by more than seven million car sales globally.

However, the gamble of moving production of fourth-generation Micras away from Sunderland to India, then importing them back to sell in their spiritual home in Europe, was met by lacklustre sales.

Significantly, production has now returned to Europe - close to its core customer base - after a break of seven years, with the new Micra manufactured at Flins, France, at a plant operated by Nissan’s Alliance partner Renault.

And the results are pretty impressive, with the a stylish, attractively priced and well-built supermini rolling off the production line.

The car has a more imposing stance on the road, being longer, wider and lower than before, with a longer wheelbase.

The new model has a far sportier appearance, with its bodywork typified by confident lines and creases. The look is completed by narrow headlamps which stretch through the front wings.

There’s also plenty of chance for customisation, with a multitude of contrasting colour options and decals available to order.

Once inside the cabin, the interior is much classier than before, with two-tone soft-touch materials for the seat upholstery and dash being available across the range. In many ways, it’s a typical Nissan cabin, being well made, solid and easy to use.

There are still a few too many scratchy surfaces, but nothing you wouldn’t expect for a vehicle in this segment.

There’s no shortage of leg and head room for the front seat occupants, but it’s worth noting that rear space is much more limited. The boot is a good size and compares favourably to class rivals, offering 300 litres of space.

In terms of engines, the line-up comprises a 1.0-litre 71PS entry-level model, a 1.5-litre 90PS four-cylinder diesel and the 0.9-litre 90PS three-cylinder turbo petrol, tested here.

The smaller unit is zippy, but the power delivery isn’t especially consistent or smooth. Until you get up towards 3,000rpm, little power appears to be available, then you receive a strong thrust of acceleration as the car’s torque kicks in.

The test car was capable of going from a standing start to 62mph in just over 12 seconds but, in real world driving, it felt a good deal quicker than the figures would suggest. It feels responsive to drive, is agile and has steering that gives a decent amount of feedback.

Standard equipment levels are good and include LED daytime headlights, automatic headlights, high-beam assist, lane-departure warning and intelligent lane intervention.

The driver controls many of the Micra’s features using the infotainment system, located high in the centre of the dashboard, with higher grade models getting the NissanConnect system. Meanwhile, the impressive audio system features speakers built into the driver’s head rest for a 360-degree sound experience – another demonstration of the attention to detail.

In conclusion, the latest Micra looks dynamic and offers an interior and upmarket technology that would not look out of place in more expensive vehicles.


Nissan Micra 0.9 IG-T 90 Tekna

PRICE: £17,870 on the road

ENGINE: 90ps, 898cc 3-cyl turbo petrol

TRANSMISSION: Front wheel drive, 5-speed manual gearbox

MAX SPEED: 109mph

0-62MPH: 12.1 seconds


C02 EMISSIONS: 104g/km