From £7,940
Engineered for ease of use - and may undercut Fiesta and Polo

Our Verdict

Nissan Micra
Its ambition is to be a world player, so will it show world-class ability?

The Nissan Micra is a supermini offering low running costs but in most other areas is below the class average

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What is it?

This is the all-new Nissan Micra, which will be made in Thailand, India, China and Mexico and sold in 160 countries around the world, including the UK. It’s based on Nissan’s new V (‘Versatility’) platform, which will be used as the basis of another two future models.

The Micra also features an all-new low friction three-cylinder engine, which will be the mainstay motor for sales in Europe. (There won’t be a diesel engine. Instead there’ll be a supercharged, direct-injection version of the three-pot engine good for just 95g/km of Co2).

Nissan has also engineered an all-new Continuously Variable Transmission, which it says is not only notably compact, but also has the widest spread of ratios of any CVT.

What’s it like?

Light, nippy, refined and extremely easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces. This is not, however, the kind of thrusting, driver orientated car in the mould of the Fiesta. The Micra’s friendly bubble styling inside and out is a good indicator of what to expect. It is a car that has been optimized for ease of use.

This is a cleverly conceived engineering concept, which has seen the car’s individual parts count reduced by 18 per cent. Despite its lightness, it does feel very well screwed together and tightly constructed.

For a compact supermini, the Micra has impressively spacious cabin for the front passengers, especially for shoulder room. Under normal driving conditions, it’s impressively refined and the three-cylinder engine is impressively smooth thanks to the clever counterweight fitted to the crank pulley.

The CVT is smooth shifting and unobtrusive, but in typical CVT fashion it drones in a most unappealing way when under hard acceleration. The engine was fine for keeping up with brisk traffic, but there’s not much go until the rev counter gets beyond 4000rpm and even then the acceleration is modest.

Nissan went to some effort to equip the Micra with a very tight 4.5m turning circle and it was worth the trouble. It makes placing the car in tight situations very easy indeed. The steering is light, but the driver can still sense the position of the front wheels.

In truth, it’s pretty hard to be definitive about the Micra’s dynamics because European models will get different damper settings, re-tuned steering, anti-roll bars, larger brakes and softer tyre construction.

The interior of the Micra will also get an upgrade with softer plastics and better fabrics by the time it arrives in Europe.

Should I buy one?

Very hard to say until the first European-spec Micras arrive in the UK this autumn. The chassis tuning will be optimized for our roads, but it is likely to remain optimised for ease of progress above all. The key will be the pricing of the car in the UK.

Because UK-bound Micras are made in India, there’s a good opportunity for Nissan to undercut the Fiesta and Polo tempt city car buyers into something more spacious and substantially engineered.

Join the debate

Comments
19

27 April 2010

[quote Autocar]Nissan went to some effort to equip the Micra with a very tight 4.5m turning circle [/quote]

you sure? 4.5m means the car basically turns on itself. Turning circle size is normally stated in diameter. Could it be the Japs/Indians have fed you the radius dimension, i.e., 9m turning circle?

27 April 2010

[quote nicksheele]you sure? 4.5m means the car basically turns on itself. Turning circle size is normally stated in diameter. Could it be the Japs/Indians have fed you the radius dimension, i.e., 9m turning circle?[/quote] Everything else I've seen on this car states a 4.5m radius, not diameter. A 9m turning diameter is still pretty impressive though as it's hard to find something that'll turn in less than 10m now and even 12m seems to be becoming the norm.

27 April 2010

It's interesting that he says it's more spacious than the Polo or Fiesta.

Doesn't look it, I guess we'll have to wait and see what spec, and what price, it has when it arrives to our market.

27 April 2010

London taxi - 7.62m (25ft)

27 April 2010

A godawful car driven by the blue rinse set at 13mph. Fin d'histoire.

27 April 2010

[quote Stevie Steve]A godawful car driven by the blue rinse set at 13mph. Fin d'histoire[/quote] Then bought by people who have just passed their test as cheap, reliable transport that doesn't bankrupt an 18 year old. Nothing wrong with Micras, I have a small soft spot for them.

27 April 2010

My wife had a MK II 1.0 CVT Micra on Motability and I hated it - worse car I have ever driven, but at least it looked slightly trendy. She used it to chug down to the shop and the nursery run, err, I mean crawl. It did 4000 (very slow) miles in 3 years. The new Mk IV really looks dated (1980s Diahatsu) even before it is launched. Nissan must be going back to the future. Will the Next Z-car be style on a Delorean?

27 April 2010

[quote theonlydt][quote Stevie Steve]A godawful car driven by the blue rinse set at 13mph. Fin d'histoire[/quote] Then bought by people who have just passed their test as cheap, reliable transport that doesn't bankrupt an 18 year old. Nothing wrong with Micras, I have a small soft spot for them.[/quote] Cars that blight the roads with inexperienced and infirm drivers. Ought to come with a health warning or a flag.

27 April 2010

This will be a bit player in the European market.No style, no charm, and so so dynamics.Tight turning circles never sold anything apart from an FX4, and plenty of cabbies are going for alternatives.

How cheap can it be ? The small Pico is already too expensive,so Micra will be bang into much tougher territory.

Plenty of good competition that undercuts the Polo and Fiesta that already struggle to get into the top of the sales chart.

27 April 2010

Whoever signed this car off as production model should be shot. This car looks crap. I sincerely hope it fails.

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