What's it like?
We like the fifth-generation Micra and praised the reinvigorated design, well-rounded driving dynamics and high equipment levels when the car was subjected to a full Autocar road test. The performance of our turbocharged test car was not, alas, its most stellar characteristic – and that remains the case with this new motor.
A solitary litre of displacement is so very little for a naturally aspirated engine and makes for a narrow remit. With neither the propulsive punch required to feel comfortable on motorways – where it quickly throws in the towel in the fight against wind resistance – nor the low-down torque to pull readily off the mark on city streets, the 1.0-litre Micra is at its best when the journey demands only steady, uninterrupted progress and middling speeds.
Find yourself in such circumstances and the engine is nicely refined and also adequately potent once you’ve adapted your style to momentum-conservation mode. The throw of the five-speed manual gearbox is light and well defined, so it’s no chore to keep the engine at or around 3500rpm, where it makes most torque.
Peak power arrives only at 6300rpm, however, and stoking this engine to such heights isn’t a particularly serene or fruitful experience. As such, overtakes must be prepared well in advance, with diligence paid to the topography of the road and, indeed, the amount of road you’ve got to play with.
Should I buy one?
If the 0.9-litre petrol engine – complete with turbo – is not prohibitively expensive for you to buy or insure, that’s the better bet. It offers the more complete driving experience, alleviating some of frustrations that come with revving the pants off a small naturally aspirated motor for next to no reward.
However, the more powerful Micra’s asking price of £13,915 means it falls into the clutches of the compelling Ibiza and Fiesta - and that can’t be said for this 1.0-litre version. It means that if your driving habits demand little in the way of performance, then this entry-level Micra could be a bargain worth investigating.
Nissan Micra 1.0 71PS
Where Paris, France On sale Now Price £14,145 Engine 3 cyls, 998cc, petrol Power 70bhp at 6300rpm Torque 70lb ft at 3500rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual Kerb weight 1037kg Top speed 98mph 0-62mph 16.4sec Fuel economy 61.4mpg CO2 rating 103g/km Rivals Ford Fiesta 1.1, Volkswagen Polo 1.0, Seat Ibiza 1.0 MPI