Sprightly and practical, but not a car for the enthusiast driver

What is it?

This is Micra with a mission, built to meet the needs of many more markets than the last – 160 in all – which is why it’s less distinctively realised than the previous, UK-built K12 edition.

This is our first chance to try this Indian-built, global car on European roads, where it has been part-honed for by Nissan’s Cranfield engineering centre. Our test variant is equipped a 1.2-litre petrol 5dr.

See the test pics of the new Nissan Micra

What’s it like?

The good news first – the all-new, three-cylinder motor is a smooth spinner and unlike most of the breed, idles with barely a tremor.

Its 115g/km of CO2 and 56.5mpg are competitive too, especially for the entry-price, but it’s short of the eager zip of Suzuki’s new four cylinder 1.2 Swift engine.

The new (and conventional) suspension, mounted in a lighter, stiffer shell, rides decently enough, but mildly charging some damp Danish roundabouts had the front-end slithering like a landing duck on ice.

The electrically assisted steering may be better than some, but this Micra is not a car whose dynamics entertain. Instead, it’s better on practicalities. There’s more room in the rear, the boot is adequate, properly-folding rear seats provide a big, flat-floored loadspace and there’s plenty of in-cabin storage, including a well beneath a lift-up cushion in the front passenger seat.

Excellent, affordably-priced sat nav, sensors that reveal whether a parking space is Micra-sized and slender A-pillars make this an easier machine to man-handle. Less clever is an absent power socket.

Should I buy one?

Well, it’s keenly priced, well-equipped and will be cheap to run. But after the style of Nissan’s Qashqai and Juke, it’s easy to feel disappointed.

Next to the outgoing Micra this version looks older, boldness traded for lower common denominator global appeal – it lacks the visual (and dynamic) verve of a Swift or a Fiesta, and the smooth three-cylinder doesn’t compensate for its average dynamics and dull style.

Nissan Micra 1.2 Acenta

Price: £10,595; Top speed: 106mph; 0-62mph: 13.7sec; Economy: 56.5mpg; CO2: 115g/km; Kerb weight: 915kg; Engine, type, cc: 3 cyls, 1198cc, petrol; Power: 79bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 81lb ft at 4000rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

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fabsi 22 October 2012

Nissan Micra has great ergonomics for short drivers

I am a novice driver, but I happen to be a short one, only 1.52 cm. Nissan micra was one of the 5 different small cars I tested, that got it right for me, ergonomics wise. I agree with you in several points you make, but at the end if I am not able to find a reasonable position to drive, no matter how good the engine is, I just can't drive it.

See, I don't adjust my seat all the way to the front because I am a novice driver, I do it because I cannot reach the clutch otherwise. The micra has a low dashboard, great visibility and seat and steering wheel adjustments that works.

I tested I fiat punto, fiat panda (2011), kia picanto and nissan micra 1.2 and the turbo engine. I think I should have given a try to the Ford Fiesta but the 1.2 5d engine was already more expensive than the Nissan Micra. All except by the Panda, had possibility to adjust the steering wheel and the passenger seat up, but I could not find a proper position to drive in them.

Punto. After putting the driver seat all the way up and the steering wheel down and the furthest away from my chest, I cound not longer see the speedometer in the dash board without twisting my neck, and reaching the seat belt was almost impossible (probably because it was a 3d model).

Kia picanto. Adjusting the driver seat all the way up and the steering wheel all the way down is an impossible setup. I could not get my leg under the wheel to reach the break and gas pedals (steering wheel is too big for that). I had to move the steering wheel up and then i could not see properly over it. Complicated specially on hills.

Fiat Panda. The model was so basic, I could not adjust the steering wheel and seat up, but had a great visibility, the main issue here was that the seat could not go far enough to the front for me to comfortably reach the clutch (I could barely touch it with my toes :D). The dealer in Finland dont have them new, it could have been the perfect car if the adjustments existed.


blowerbentley 19 September 2010

Re: Nissan Micra 1.2

Let's face it, the Micra has never been an Autocar reader's car. But we wouldn't even recommend this one to our non-car enthusiast friends. It's only good for old ladies of all ages and genders.

Maxycat 18 September 2010

Re: Nissan Micra 1.2

Lee23404 wrote:
They are but the best small cars have something about them, some character, they're a bit cheeky or cute, that sort of thing. This is just an appliance, nothing more. As others have mentioned that is enough for many people, but not for me.
I completely agree. The Fiat 500 is desirable due to its design not price or performance.