The new Nissan Micra - revealed at the Paris motor show today - must stand as one of the most substantial reinventions of a car in recent times.

It is unrecognisable from its admittedly wholly unremarkable predecessor and a step-change from what has gone before for this once practical, once cute and seemingly once completely lost model. If nothing else, it proves that having no respect for what has gone before can be a good thing.

Intriguingly, Nissan has draped its stand in Micras of all kinds of colours and customisation options. The appearance of the latter is sometimes a warning sign that the design itself isn't quite up to scratch, but here the unadorned models allay all concerns. This is a car with an underlying design pizzazz that rivals the likes of the Ford Fiesta.

That rings true inside, too, where the budget fixtures and fittings of the outgoing model appear banished from the moment you step in. Of course, we have high-spec models to pore over here in Paris, but in terms of content, quality and desirability the Micra appears to be top notch. It's practical for the class, too, with the rear cabin and boot space looking to meet Nissan's bold claims for their competitiveness on size.

No question, Nissan has a contender in the supermini class again, which is a bit of a relief when you consider that it doesn't have an unblemished record either in this class or with the equally mundane Pulsar.

Now it's over to Ford, which is expected to reveal its new Fiesta later this year, prior to putting it on sale in 2017. If I was looking for a car in this class I'd be rubbing my hands with glee - the Micra's arrival adds not only quality to the class but also competition, which means better deals all round. And then there's the prospect of a Nismo version of the Micra down the road. Could Nissan crown the car's comeback with a Fiesta ST rival? There would be no greater accolade than that.

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