The way you or I might look at quality is somewhat different from the way a car manufacturer looks at quality and the Nissan Micra is a case in point. A table that takes a craftsman six months to make and lasts for 1000 years is one take on the idea. A car manufacturer’s take on it involves thousands of components dropping out of a machine in rapid succession, all meeting a set of pre-specified tolerances.
Doubtless, Nissan’s production techniques ensure plenty of the latter, but if you’re looking for evidence that it cares much for the former, you’ll find less of it in this generation of Micra than in most rivals.
For instance, the Micra’s interior plastics are almost exclusively of the brittle variety, and even the high equipment level offered by the n-tec trim does little to lift the malaise. The 2013 facelift brought some shinier, more premium-feeling trim on the centre console, but it serves mainly to highlight the inadequacies of the materials, fit and finish elsewhere.
In places the Micra feels no better than, say, a Hyundai i10 and certainly not up to the standards of a Skoda Fabia, Vauxhall Corsa or Volkswagen Polo. That’s fine if it is priced to match but the Micra is pitched to compete against plenty of genuine superminis.
Accommodation itself, mind, is entirely adequate, especially given the Micra’s compact dimensions. There’s considerably more shoulder room than in its predecessor, decent enough rear accommodation and a boot that’s competitive in the sector. It’s an airy cabin, too, thanks to a low window line and large glass area. It remains a pity, though, that there isn’t more to surprise and delight in here.
As we mentioned before there are four trim levels to choose from - Visia Limited Edition, Vibe, Acenta and n-tec. The entry-level models come with 14in steel wheels, speed-sensitive steering, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, six airbags and front electric windows, while upgrading to a Vibe specced Micra adds alloy wheels and air conditioning to the package.
The mid-range Acenta trim equips the small Nissan with 15in alloys, a rear spoiler, cruise control, auto wipers and lights, and electric door mirrors, while the range-topping n-tec models come with 16in alloys, rear parking sensors and a 7.0in Nissan Connect touchscreen infotainment system.