Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, has been in Croatia this week to test the all-new Nissan Micra. Here are his thoughts on the fresh model.
Think night and day. Think chalk and cheese. This is what the new Nissan Micra is to the out-going model. Don’t get me wrong; the old Micra is still a brilliant car – it’s just that Nissan has moved the game along further than ever before. The supermini first appeared on the scene way back in 1983, and has been a huge success for the Japanese automaker. Over thirty years later, this fifth-generation model is wider, longer and lower than ever, and is now a serious competitor with cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.
Look-wise, the five-door Micra is not evolutionary – it’s revolutionary. The hatchback has an athletic design, which is sure to appeal to people wanting a car their neighbours will talk about. You literally need to do a double take to realise this is a Micra. That’s at least how I felt when I first saw the car at its media launch in Dubrovnik. You can see from the pictures in this article that the Micra is a sharp-dresser – perhaps more so than many of its competitors – and the story is the same inside.
The cabin is screwed together very well, featuring soft, two-tone touch points – and there’s excellent space for the driver and front-seat passenger due to a lower seating position. In fact, a driver who is 6 ft 8 inches can easily fit behind the all-new Nissan Micra’s wheel. The rear boasts excellent room, too, and the 300-litre boot is large enough to swallow a buggy and the weekly shopping. Space balloons to 1,004-litres when you fold the 60:40 split rear seats down. Storage isn’t a problem in the all-new Nissan Micra’s cabin, either. The glove-box can take a two-litre bottle, and 1.5 litre drinks bottles can be slotted into the door bins at the front. What’s more, there are two cup-holders positioned in between the front seats and another one at the back. But it’s not all about practicality – the Micra has supportive seats and factory-fitted air-conditioning for true driver comfort.
Technology hasn’t been overlooked by Nissan, either. The all-new Micra features gadgetry such as Intelligent Lane Intervention, which calmly puts the car back on course should it be needed. Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor camera set-up, already in use on the Qashqai and Juke, is also included on the all-new Micra. Furthermore, the car has an awesome BOSE Personal audio system available. Using speakers incorporated into the driver’s head rest, you get a more immersive listening experience than usual. In addition, there’s a 7-inch infotainment system, positioned high in the middle of the dashboard, where you can access radio channels, music tracks and sat-nav.
Performance and Ride
The car made available to me at the media event was the 0.9-litre turbo petrol version of the Micra. There is also a 1.5 litre turbo diesel available. The all-new turbo petrol Nissan Micra provides a genuinely fun drive, especially around corners. It isn’t fast in first or second gear, but slip into third and the Micra becomes an athlete. Not only is it nippy, the accurate steering and firm suspension allow you to throw the car into bends with confidence. Grip is astounding from the front-wheel drive car and the sporty sound from the three-cylinder engine gives you an ear to ear smile of satisfaction. Hit the straights and the Micra will then sit happily in its top fifth gear, quietly purring along, returning up to 61.4mpg when fitted, as mine was, with 17-inch alloys wheels. The new Nissan’s firm ride doesn’t affect comfort and the seats mould to your back – even though no lumbar adjustment could be found on my test car.
The all-new Micra isn’t just a bigger, more practical car; it’s a better looking one – with a serious amount of fun injected into it. Above all else, it’s a safe car, with six airbags and Isofix child seat mounts in the rear and in the front passenger seat. You can order the all-new Nissan Micra from Perrys now, with first customer deliveries due in March.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Good-looking √
- Practical √
- Fun √
- Safe √
- Weak Low Gears X
Fast Facts (IG-T 90 Tekna)
- Max speed: 109 mph
- 0-62 mph: 12.1 secs
- Combined mpg: 61.4
- Engine layout: 898 cc 3-cylinder turbo petrol
- Max. power (PS): 90
- CO2: 104 g/km
- Price: £17,295