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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

You’d be hard pushed to tell that the latest Micra is based on essentially the same ‘V’ platform as its predecessor – a facet not only of the completely different look but also alterations made to the model’s size.

The differences, most notably a 75mm increase in the car’s wheelbase, speak to the amount of re-engineering that has gone into the architecture’s European-spec configuration.

You know you’re about to drive a good supermini when the engineers talk excitedly about steering feel. The Micra’s steering rack is derived from a Qashqai’s and it serves the car very well

While it is now more closely related to the Note’s underpinnings, the alterations have obviously helped render a different sort of supermini; one now appreciably unlike the MPV-based style that long informed Nissan’s approach to the B-segment.

This reflects the European focus of the new model’s development, and the requirement for the car to satisfy a market dominated by the comparative stylishness of the Ford Fiesta and buyers downsizing from the segment above.

Consequently, as well as being 174mm longer overall, the new Micra is substantially wider and lower than the outgoing version, and the A-pillar has been moved forward to accentuate the sloping roofline. Inside, the hip point of its occupants has dropped.

Underneath, significant effort has been expended on the suspension components. The original rear twist beam, based on the Note’s, has been jettisoned for one more closely related to the Nissan Qashqai’s torsion beam, which delivers better stiffness.

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At the front, MacPherson struts are stipulated by the platform, although Nissan has now solid-mounted the front sub-frame rather than using bushes, again for the gains made in structural rigidity.

The manufacturer’s Chassis Control system, divided into Intelligent Ride Control and Intelligent Trace Control, also features – both elements using the brakes to minutely enhance the Micra’s ride and handling.

The engine line-up compromises two three-cylinder petrol units and one four-cylinder diesel. Both the 89bhp 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol motor tested here and the 89bhp 1.5-litre diesel are familiar from various Renault-Nissan applications, most notably the Clio.

The remaining 1.0-litre three-pot, modestly powered and naturally aspirated, completes the range. All are twinned with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard. An automatic transmission is set to arrive later in the lifecycle.