It seems like the Nissan Micra has been with us forever. The first Micra hit the road back in 1993, and since then it has gone through almost as many transformations as Doctor Who.
One thing that’s stayed the same is its lofty position as a super-mini, attracting legions of fans with its practicality and low running costs, especially around town.
Of all the versions of the Micra over the past three decades, the current one introduced in 2017 is generally agreed to be one of the best. It’s become a far more sharp-edged and stylish car than any of the previous more bubble-shaped models, and the vibe is now a sportier one.
All in all, the Micra name might have been around for some time, but there’s plenty of life left in the model yet.
The current one introduced in 2017 is generally agreed to be one of the best.
What’s it like to drive?
One of the problems most super-minis face is that they can never provide the smooth ride of bigger cars. The stiffish suspension Nissan used to give the Micra a sportier feel doesn’t help in this respect, so when you hit a pothole, it can be a bit of a teeth-rattler. At higher speeds on A-roads and motorways, this isn’t such an issue.
The light and responsive steering makes it a great car for nipping around town, although it can feel a little too light if you’re cornering at speed when you’re out on the open road.
The light and responsive steering makes it a great car for nipping around town
When revamping the Micra, Nissan wisely took the decision to pay as much attention to the interior as to the exterior looks of the car – after all, that’s where you’ll be most of the time as the driver. The result has been a cabin that may well be the best in class. The instruments are clear and easy to see, and all the switches and other controls are logical and close at hand.
Even though it’s a small car, there’s plenty of room for tall drivers. Getting comfortable is easy too, with a height-adjustable seat and a position-adjustable steering wheel that the driver can raise or lower and even move towards or away. Back-seat passengers aren’t so lucky though – the sloping roof means adults are always just a pothole away from banging their heads on the roof.
Rear visibility is also an issue for the driver. The combination of a small rear window and wide rear pillars mean you really do need the parking sensors fitted on higher-spec models.
Those higher-spec models also come with a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen whose limited size can make some of the icons too small to use properly on the move. Sat-nav is also only available on cars with the Vision Pack. Luckily, there’s a fast and easy connection to most smartphone mapping services.
With Micra and storage, the clue’s in the name. You’re never going to get all that flatpack furniture home in the back or even head for the airport with four full-sized suitcases. It's perfectly capable of swallowing up pushchairs or golf clubs, however, and all the luggage you need for a few days away from home.
In terms of the competition, if it’s boot capacity you’re looking for then the Seat Ibiza, Skoda Fabia and Ford Fiesta will all offer you more. The flipside is that the Micra is shorter than all of these so can squeeze into tighter parking spaces.
There’s not a tremendous amount of space for all those essentials like tissues, gum and drinks bottles in the cabin, so travelling light is the way to go.
Running costs and reliability
A car like the Micra is never going to break the bank when it comes to running costs. The petrol version promises 52.3-56.5mpg, with the diesel delivering a consistently thrifty 52.3mpg. When it comes to choosing between them, bear in mind you’ll pay more initially for a diesel model and then the fuel will be that bit more expensive too.
What we love
Micra’s target driver has always fallen at two ends of the spectrum – pre-family and those wanting to downsize after the kids have flown the nest. The same is very true today.
It really is a surprisingly spacious super-mini with arguably more space in the front than any of its rivals, as well as plenty of other features that leave many of them behind.
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This is the car for you if you want stylish looks inside and out. The downside is that the ride can be a little bumpy, especially in the back, and it’s not the roomiest super-mini out there.
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