The new Nissan Micra has been spied testing in the UK.
Spotted by autocar.co.uk reader Mark Waites, the heavily disguised car was running on the M1, heading back to Nissan's Technical Centre in Cranfield, which is undertaking much of the development work on the car.
While Waites was unable to get a close up picture of the whole car, his photos clearly show the distinctly curved rear end of the car and the overall shape of it.
The new Micra will be the first car to be built on a new global small car platform, designed to be cheap enough to build and sell in developing markets but also sophisticated enough for Western Europe.
Nissan claims car makers usually take an existing platform and strip content from it for use in emerging markets. This project takes a platform engineered primarily for those areas, then adapts it for mature markets.
The ‘V-platform’ will underpin cars up to 1600kg in weight and with a maximum torque output of 147lb ft. This means the largest engine fitted to the family of small cars will be a 1.5-litre turbodiesel. The first three cars to use it will be the Micra replacement, a small MPV and a small saloon.
Engineered by Nissan in Japan, the platform project focused on reductions in weight and the number of components.
The V-cars have 18 per cent fewer parts than Nissan’s previous small cars, according to the firm. The dashboard assembly is made up of 28 parts instead of 56 and the seats are now made up of 50 parts, down from 85.
Nissan says much effort went into maximising refinement, in light of the lightweight construction. Engineering tricks include more rigid floor pressings, isolation of suspension from the floor and shapes pressed into the roof to reduce resonance.
The majority of V-platform cars will be powered by new, low-friction three-cylinder engines, which will come in 0.9 and 1.2-litre capacities. Most versions will probably feature turbochargers.
Nissan engineers say the combination of lightweight engineering and torquey engines could deliver significantly better fuel economy than rival vehicles.
The company has also engineered a new, very compact, low-friction CVT transmission, which has a much higher top ratio than normal.
The V-platform has been primarily engineered for comfort on the demanding roads in emerging markets such as India and China. For Western versions of the V-cars, extra emphasis will be placed on refinement and body control.