The previous three generation models of the Nissan Micra were generally well received in the UK, performing well in sales thanks to their affordability, reliability and easy driving characteristics mixed with low running costs.
In fact many observers in motoring industry have previously credited the third-generation Micra with setting a new standard for superminis that followed it from the point it was first launched back in late 2002.
The fourth and current generation Nissan Micra, first launched to the UK market in 2010, has therefore had a lot to live up to.
This is not just because of the level of success its predecessors garnered, but also due to the reality that the Micra has a huge number of competitors to keep up with these days, all striving to meet high standards just to stand out next to the sea of competition.
As well as facing up to familiar foes like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, the Micra is now squaring up to well-received superminis from more manufacturers than ever before, like the Kia Rio for example.
The latest Nissan Micra five-door certainly has its work cut out then, but straight away in its favour is the appealingly low pricing range.
Currently the Micra starts new from just £9,750 for the Visia 1.2 manual specification. This is considerably less than five-door versions of rival superminis like the £12,050 Vauxhall Corsa, the £11,895 Ford Fiesta and even the £9,845 starting price for the five-door Kia Rio.
The pricing range for the Nissan Micra climbs up to £14,850 for the top end Tekna trim level supermini with the CVT automatic transmission. Sitting between the Visia and Tekna trims is the mid-range Acenta specification, starting from £11,250.
Whichever trim level you go for the Nissan Micra is available with the choice of two small petrol engines and the selection of either a five-speed manual transmission or the CVT automatic gearbox.
The engine units include a 1.2-litre three-cylinder with 79bhp, which will allow the Micra to cover the 0-62mph sprint in 13.7 seconds with the manual gearbox, or 14.5 seconds with the CVT. The 79bhp Micra also has a top speed of 105mph with the manual box, reduced to 100mph with the CVT linked up.
The other engine option for the Micra is another 1.2-litre unit, but this is called the DIG-S and it is a supercharged engine with 96bhp in total. It cuts the little hatchback’s 0-62mph time to 11.3 seconds and also delivers an increased top speed of 112mph.
The small engines are set up with far greater focus on economy rather than outright performance, but pleasingly either engine’s torque sits at the low end of the rev range. This contributes to making the Nissan Micra feel like an easy car to drive behind the wheel.
While admittedly the Micra can’t quite match up to the driving standards of other hotter hatchbacks found on the market today, those looking at the Micra should likely be targeting a car for cheap running and mostly driving in town.
If this kind of criteria is applied the Nissan Micra is certainly a low price option worth considering. The steering is light and this characteristic combined with the Micra’s compact nature makes it feel very comfortable when it’s driven within urban environments. Driving manoeuvres such as parking or turns on the road will likely feel pretty straightforward in the Micra regardless of your level of driving experience.
The Micra’s engines are also cheap to run; the 79bhp unit emits just 115g/km in CO2 and officially returns 56.5mpg.
The DIG-S engine meanwhile emits between just 95 to 99g/km, meaning owners are exempt from paying road tax. With this engine the Micra also boasts a fuel economy figure of up to 68.9mpg on the Visia specification.
Looking to practicality and the Nissan Micra is certainly respectable in its compact hatchback category. The boot offers 265 litres of loading space at minimum, which is a little less than some competitors like the Ford Fiesta. However the rear seats can be folded flat if necessary to increase the Micra’s total load capacity to 1,132 litres.
Even in its most basic form the Nissan Micra is pleasingly packed with plenty of safety equipment. Features provided standard include electronic stability control, emergency brake assist and curtain airbags.
The basic Visia trim Micra comes with some luxuries as well, including a CD player and even Bluetooth support. You’ll have to step up to the Acenta trim however for features like climate control and more including alloy wheels, cruise control and front fog lights.
The range-topping Tekna trim Micra brings satellite navigation as a standard feature, and it’s also the only trim of the Micra which can include heated mirrors, albeit as an optional feature.
Viewing over everything the Nissan Micra has to offer, the supermini fulfils a straightforward but also for many an appealing role as a budget compact hatchback, with some luxuries and a satisfying level of practicality.
The Nissan Micra is available to buy right now at Perrys Nissan Dealership found in Blackburn.