A perceptible feeling of missed opportunity seems to trail in the Micra N-Sport’s wake.

The distinctively sporting aesthetic and renewed sense of motive purpose that characterised the fifth-generation Micra at launch suggested there was a genuinely interesting, and entertaining, warmed-up supermini waiting in the wings.

Having seen what GRMN can do with a Yaris, Nismo should do a clean-sheet Micra. The N-Sport feels half-hearted, but perhaps that’s because this chassis simply isn’t fluent enough

Despite the foundation being all but there, the reality is much less convincing. An engine short on character is arguably its greatest shortcoming; particularly when the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and Seat Ibiza FR so successfully place their charming, zesty motors at the forefront of their driving experiences. At times stilted low-speed manners and unengaging steering, meanwhile, detract from a chassis that otherwise grips with convincing tenacity and has a fairly rounded, if occasionally wooden-feeling, ride.

These concerns, and others, ultimately deny this Micra our full endorsement. It’s a frustrating reality: N-Sport should have been an opportunity for Nissan to further elevate its supermini, to give it a compelling new USP. As it stands, however, the argument that this represents a worthy improvement over the regular model is a particularly thin one.

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