What's it like?
Not even the best diesel supermini is a particularly refined thing, but the Micra dCi is one of the quietest of its ilk. Fire up the Renault-sourced unit and there’s minimal vibration through the steering wheel. There is some clatter when idling that gets much more noticeable under hard acceleration, but it settles down to a hushed cruise. Thank, in part, the standard acoustic windscreen for that.
With 89bhp, the dCi isn't particularly quick, but the engine does pull cleanly from low rpm and is brisk enough for motorway work. Long gearing means you’re often a ratio lower than feels natural but it does help economy. Going off the trip computer, we saw 50mpg without too much difficulty. As you might expect from an engine 600cc larger than the turbo triple, there’s a good chunk of extra weight over the nose of the car. The good news is that the steering has a bit more weight, if no more feel. The bad is that turn in isn’t quite as immediate, even with the stiffer springs that diesel models are treated to.
That’s not to say it doesn’t ultimately feel agile. With the help of Intelligent Trace Control (small amounts of braking pressure applied to assist turn in), it can cross country surprisingly quickly - grip is good and it resists understeer well. Shockingly, this is a Micra that it's possible to have some fun with.
Body control impresses, too. Point the nose at a typically undulating B-road and it fails to become upset by the barrage of bumps that you’ll be facing. You will certainly feel them, though; the ride is firm and gets fidgety over broken asphalt. A quick spin in the petrol highlights how this trait is made worse by the diesel motor.
Pick one of the higher trim levels and you’re treated to an interior that feels a cut above the majority of rivals. The top of the dash is pleasingly soft and there’s plenty of chrome trim. Colourful dash inserts and optional leather effect trims lift things further. All but Visia models get a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay. This is easy to navigate thanks in part to shortcut buttons surrounding it, but it isn’t the most attractive system out there. Still, it's responsive and the optional Bose stereo is punchy.
Front space is impressive and there are plenty of storage cubbies, although those in the back won’t be quite as impressed; leg room might be good but the sloped roof eats into headroom. Unfortunately, taller adults won’t be happy on anything other than the shortest of journeys.