There are a number of ways in which even superminis such as the Nissan Micra with limited overall capability can still worm their way into our affections. They can be very spacious, very cheap, a lot of fun, or perhaps supremely refined.
Any one of those facets can turn an otherwise average car into an intriguing and appealing one for a customer with certain wants and needs.
What’s disappointing about the Micra, then, is not just that it’s a supermini of fairly limited appeal when stacked up against the best alternatives in the class, but that it doesn’t have a USP to fall back on. The Fiesta will always be an engaging car to drive. The Honda Jazz is supremely practical. The Micra, to us, is just a car that hits, at best, class average in most key areas.
There’s a reasonable amount of space inside and visibility out is good, and it’s a comfortable if not particularly engaging drive. In spite of a parsimoniously equipped base model, other cars do fairly well with their equipment levels.
If a highly specced supermini is all you’re after, then a Micra n-tec is difficult to argue against from that point of view alone.
But it’s easy to list the Micra’s disappointments – in particular the quality is poor and any sense of style the car had has gone. In many ways, and despite the raft of revsions made in 2013, this car has gone backwards from the one that preceded it.
Most of all is the price. Yes, top spec cars are well kitted out, but its easy to see how you can do much better for the money than a Micra. However, having said all that, the fifth generation is shaping up to be a real contender in a bigger segment that the Micra has ever competed for, and even at this early stage it is leaps and bounds the best version Nissan has ever developed. Let's hope it fulfils its potential.