Although at launch Nissan’s new global Micra will be offered with a single engine, a 1.2-litre triple, after six months it will be joined by a supercharged version. A significant engine, not only for the Micra, but within the broader Nissan fleet.
With direct injection, the supercharged engine produces 97bhp and 105lb ft; 23 per cent more power and 31 per cent more torque than the standard engine, yet it achieves a lower CO2 figure of 95g/km.
What’s it like?
Considering our test drive was brief and in a pre-production prototype, initial impressions are positive. While the engine still has an unmistakable three-cylinder thrum, the supercharger is all but inaudible. Only at higher revs, under hard acceleration is there a distant whine.
While performance is more adequate than brisk (Nissan is yet to a announce any official figures) the supercharger does mean that you don’t have to rev the engine to get the Micra moving at a respectable pace. Which is as much a benefit for overall refinement as it is performance. There is a caveat though, which is that the engineers admitted that in production the supercharger will cut in at 2000rpm, rather than the 1300rpm of this prototype.
Still the CO2 figure of 95g/km is impressive – practically as low as any non-diesel, non-hybrid engine. Only Fiat’s new twin-air engine is cleaner, and only then in conjunction with an automated manual gearbox. Although the supercharged Micra gets stop-start technology as standard (the first stop-start Nissan we’ve tested), unfortunately our brief test didn’t provide a chance to try this.
Should I buy one?
As we have said before the new Micra is not about to challenge the Fiesta for driver engagement, or the Fiat 500 for style, but if the pricing is right, it could offer a decent value proposition. And as long as the premium for the supercharged engine isn’t too great, it will be the one to go for.
Nissan Micra 1.2 Supercharged
Price: TBA; Top speed: TBA; 0-62mph: TBA; Economy: 69mpg (est); CO2: 95g/km; Kerbweight: 960kg (est); Engine type, cc: 1198cc, 3cyl in line, supercharged; Power: 97bhp; Torque: 105lb ft; Gearbox: 5-speed manual