Review

Nissan Micra hatchback

Price  £8,995 - £15,445

Nissan Micra hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Spacious for rear seat passengers
  • Cheap to run
  • Clean engines
Cons
  • Poor quality interior
  • Not fun to drive
  • Basic models lack key equipment

At a glance

The greenest
Visia 1.2 DIG-S 5dr £12,045
The cheapest
Visia Limited Edition 1.2 12v 5dr £8,995
The fastest
Acenta 1.2 DIG-S 5dr £13,045
Top of the range
Tekna 1.2 DIG-S CVT 5dr £15,445

"The Nissan Micra isn't particularly exciting or stylish, but it's easy to drive, surprisingly spacious and cheap."

The Nissan Micra model name has been around for three decades now, and the car has built a strong reputation over the years for durability, low running costs and a user-friendly driving experience. The Micra doesn’t have the fun driving characteristics of the Ford Fiesta or the classy interior of the Volkswagen Polo, but its light controls make it extremely easy to drive. Anyone considering a Micra should also look at the Kia Rio, Hyundai i20 and Toyota Yaris.

Unlike its rivals, Nissan does not offer the Micra with a diesel engine, but buyers can choose a hi-tech 1.2-litre petrol. This engine uses a supercharger to provide a good balance of performance and economy, but even the basic 1.2-litre petrol is cheap to run. If you do a mixture of town and motorway driving, we’d recommend the supercharged 1.2-litre petrol, but fitted with the five-speed manual gearbox rather than the noisy CVT automatic transmission.

A facelift in 2013 gave the Micra same ‘corporate look’ as the Nissan Note and Nissan Qashqai, with all-new front wings, a new bonnet, new headlights and a new rear bumper. At the same time, the available models were trimmed back to include just Visia, Acenta and Tekna.

All cars come with Bluetooth phone connection, a USB port and electric windows, while the Acenta adds climate and cruise control, and automatic operation of the lights and wipers. Go for the flagship Tekna model and you benefit from big-car features such as keyless entry and Nissan's Connect sat-nav set-up.

Yet while the Micra is reasonably well equipped, it falls behind class standards for quality. There's not a lot wrong with the way it's screwed together – it's simply that the car lacks the soft-touch materials and attention to detail that marks out cars such as the VW Polo.

Under the skin, the Micra uses just one engine – a 1.2-litre three-cylinder that produces either 79bhp or 99bhp with a supercharger. Surprisingly, it's the latter that promises the best fuel economy and lowest CO2 emissions. A five-speed gearbox is fitted as standard, while a CVT automatic is available as an option.

All versions of the Micra benefit from light controls, excellent visibility and a tight turning circle, meaning they’re a doddle to drive around town. However, head out on to the open road and you’ll discover the Nissan is hobbled by lifeless handling, a crashy ride and refinement that's no match for the class leaders.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3 / 5

The Nissan Micra is cheap to run, but rivals offer better fuel economy

Engines, drive & performance

1.8 / 5

The Nissan Micra is good in town but not particularly fun to drive

Interior & comfort

2.2 / 5

Interior is drab but the Nissan Micra provides a comfortable ride

Practicality & boot space

2.5 / 5

Spacious for passengers, but the Nissan Micra would benefit from a bigger boot

Reliability & safety

3.7 / 5

Nissan’s reputation for reliability is strong

What the others say

2.5 / 5
based on 4 reviews
3 / 5
"The 1.2-litre petrol engines that power the Nissan Micra won't amaze you with their performance, but given the Micra's small dimensions, they tick all the right boxes. Unfortunately, at higher speeds the Nissan Micra's suspension doesn’t feel up to the job of dealing with rough roads, and it feels crashy and a little unsettled."
1 / 5
"The Nissan Micra is a budget supermini that provides basic transport at an affordable price. However, some rivals give you more for similar money."
3 / 5
"Crammed full of kit and boasting an improved interior over the previous model, the car's unsophisticated ride takes the shine off what could be a neat alternative in the city car sector."
3 / 5
"There is just too much cheap, shiny plastic littering the cabin and dash for the Micra to feel anything but second-rate when compared to the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo."

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What owners say

4.0984455958549
4.1 /5 based on 193 reviews
58%
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated
18 Dec 2014
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