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Two years after launch, the fifth-gen Micra range gets a warm hatchback: the N-Sport

When the current, fifth-generation version of Nissan’s Micra supermini first hit UK roads in 2017, its appearance suggested this N-Sport might be coming.

Gone were the effete, bug-eyed curves of generations gone by, ditched for a much more edgy, wedgey, arrowhead aesthetic that, though contemporary, looked less authentic on the car, according to some estimations. Whether they seem to belong on a Micra or not, however, the car’s new youthful, sporting looks undoubtedly lend themselves to a performance makeover; and, as evidenced by this week’s road test subject, the go-faster treatment is exactly what the Micra has now got.

The N-Sport bodystyling has to translate onto the IG-T 100 engine, which perhaps is why it isn’t more visually purposeful

As part of the car’s first mid-life update, a couple of new engines have been added to the model range, with an Xtronic CVT two-pedal transmission made available in anticipation of growing interest in automatic-equipped superminis. Some equipment and trim revisions have been brought in too, which we’ll also get into over the following pages.

But it’s the Micra N-Sport that’s the headline addition. This derivative becomes the first product from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to feature the 1.0-litre three-cylinder version of the new petrol engine family developed in tandem with Daimler and, in 1.3-litre form, already used to power both the Nissan Qashqai and the Mercedes A-Class. It moves the Micra onto peak power of 115bhp – enough to stand comparison with cars like the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and Seat Ibiza FR. As you’re about to read, the N-Sport also benefits from changes to the technical specification of the suspension, steering and transmission, and from upgrades to the exterior styling and cabin.

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Time to find out what kind of junior driver’s car can be made from this newly assertive-looking supermini, then.

Price £19,005 | Power 115bhp | Torque 148lb ft| 0-60mph 10.2sec | 30-70mph in fourth 12.4sec | Fuel economy 33.4mpg | CO2 133g/km (WLTP) | 70-0mph 47.1m

The Nissan Micra range at a glance

In step with the wider supermini market, Nissan offers the Micra as a five-door hatch only. The engine line-up is mostly made up of three-cylinder petrols paired with five- or six-speed manual transmissions, depending on output. A sole four-cylinder diesel is offered with a five-speed ’box.

Visia represents the entry-level trim and Tekna crowns the range. Interior and exterior personalisation packs provide plenty of scope for customisation.

First drives