Andrew Carr takes a look at the facelifted Micra, and assesses whether Nissan has done enough to keep the car competitive
Not so long ago, if you mentioned the words Nissan Micra, it would often be associated with learner drivers or a shopping car. But since the arrival of the all-new Micra in 2002, it’s fair to say that the baby Nissan has more kudos and attracts buyers from a wider age group. The Micra’s recent facelift has resulted in the model range being simplified, along with subtle styling changes to the exterior. A revised front grille with chrome surround, subtle blue tinted front lights, together with a sportier front bumper from the 160SR model, complete the fresh look.
The Tekna model, as tested here, replaces the previous Sport model in the revised Micra line-up, and has graphite 16-inch alloy wheels as well as front projector foglamps to add to the sporty look. Changes to the interior include new sports seats, a Bluetooth hands free mobile phone system and an auxiliary jack for MP3 players. In addition, Tekna trim brings automatic headlights, rain sensing windscreen wipers, air conditioning, an integrated six disc CD autochanger, a leather steering wheel and alloy sports pedals. Stepping into the Micra for the first time, you are suddenly struck by the generous amount of headroom that is available up front. Sadly the same can’t be said for the rear, where six-footers will struggle, due to the sloping roof. Innovative thinking has ensured that there are plenty of cubby and hidey-holes scattered around the car, helping to keep the interior clutter free. The Micra tradition of being easy to drive is alive and well, thanks to a large glass area, low shoulder line, and a tight turning circle, making it an easy car to manoeuvre. Parking is a piece of cake, thanks to the inclusion of parking sensors as standard. The Renault sourced 1.5 dCi engine is smooth and refined, and is pretty frugal, achieving 60.1mpg on the combined cycle. It’s also nippy, feeling considerably faster than the acceleration figures suggest. Handling is safe and predictable, with little body roll, and gearchanges are slick from the five-speed manual gearbox.
The driver’s seat is fully adjustable, making the Micra a comfortable place to spend time in. Taller drivers may find the lack of a reach adjustable steering wheel a problem though. Build quality is impressive with no rattles or squeaks, with everything feeling reassuringly sturdy and built to last.
Despite the Micra facelift being little more than a nip and tuck, the subtle improvements lift what is already a good value package. Whether this will be enough to keep Micra sales buoyant until its replacement comes along, we will have to wait and see.
On sale: Now // Price £11,855
- Price: £11,855
- Engine: 1461cc, 4 Cylinder turbodiesel
- Max Power: 85bhp at 3,750rpm
- Max Torque: 148lb ft at 1,900rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 900kg
- Combined Consumption: 60.1mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband):125g/km (C)
- 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
- Insurance Group: 3
- Max speed: 106mph
Easy to drive, good value, generous equipment levels
Steering wheel not reach adjustable, high emissions, meaning Micra’s don’t go congestion charge free from October