|Model tested:||Nissan Micra 1.5 dCi 90 Tekna|
|Economy / CO2:||80.7mpg/97g/km|
Review: Nissan Micra (Overall score = 4/5)
For more than 30 years the Micra has been Nissan’s entry-level model, and the all-new car that recently reached showrooms is no exception. However, the new fifth-generation Micra is such a different car from any previous Micra that Nissan should probably have given it a different name. Much bigger, a lot safer, far more high-tech and infinitely better to drive than any previous iteration, the new Micra is a very impressive machine. So dismiss any preconceptions you may have about the Micra and take a closer look – it can give more obvious rivals a run for their money.
Our test car came with heated leather seats; a £1400 extra. Even with cloth trim the Micra’s cabin is impressive with plenty of space up front, ample adjustment for the driver’s seat and the steering wheel, plus there are lots of cubby holes too. The news isn’t quite so good in the back, thanks to the rising waistline and plunging roof line, as a result of which the head and leg room are tight.
On our test car things felt even more claustrophobic because of the privacy glass while the manual rear windows grated somewhat; for a range-topper it’s a bit daft that they’re not electric, and you can’t even specify power assistance as an option. So the bottom line is if you’re in the front row you’ll love it, but adults in the back won’t enjoy the ride quite so much – especially if they’re tall.
The Micra is longer, lower and wider than before, and it’s also more lively, much more refined and a lot more comfortable. Surprisingly, all Micras come with a five-speed manual gearbox, with no auto option, but when cruising the car never feels under-geared, so on balance the lack of a sixth gear is probably a good thing as it’s something less for your pupils to think about. That’s just as well because they’ll be kept occupied deciphering the instrumentation which on our Tekna model was very busy thanks to a glut of icons; Visia and Acenta editions don’t have the integral display in the centre of the instrumentation. However, this can also be configured to display a digital speedo, so it’s still worth having. For £600 you can specify the Vision+ option pack which brings blind spot warning and an around-view camera, both of which are well worth having – not least of all because visibility is compromised thanks to the thick A- and C-pillars.
The cheapest Micra is the £12,295 1.0 Visia which comes with AEB, hill start assist, lane keep assist, high beam assist and Bluetooth; for a £950 premium, Visia+ trim brings air-con and stop/start. The 1.0-litre engine is a naturally aspirated three-cylinder unit; the turbocharged 0.9 IG-T90 unit is much perkier, with prices starting at £14,215 for this engine with Visia+ trim.
The cheapest diesel is the dCi90 Visia at £14,715, but we’d opt for the IG-T90 (petrol) or dCi 90 (diesel) Acenta at £15,415 or £16,845. This mid-range trim brings 16-inch wheels (still steel), traffic sign recognition, a seven-inch touch-screen display and upgraded instrumentation. Only the range-topping Tekna gets a rear parking camera and sensors, and this starts at £18,935. Petrol-engined Micras are pegged at around 60mpg while diesels are supposed to be capable of 80mpg. The cheapest editions are in insurance groups 1-5 but if you buy a diesel you’ll have to contend with a rating of 7-9.