Nissan Micra hatchback
Price £8,995 - £15,200
- Spacious for rear seat passengers
- Cheap to run
- Clean engines
- Poor quality interior
- Not fun to drive
- Basic models lack key equipment
At a glance
"The Nissan Micra isn't particularly exciting or stylish, but it's easy to drive, surprisingly spacious and cheap."
The Nissan Micra might not 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 consider the Kia Rio, Hyundai i20, and the 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. It uses a supercharger to provide a balance of performance and economy, but even the basic 1.2-litre petrol is cheap to run. If you do a lot of mixed driving we would go for the supercharged 1.2-litre petrol, but fitted with the five-speed manual gearbox rather than the noisy CVT automatic.
Nissan has given the Micra decent levels of standard equipment, which includes a Bluetooth phone connection, front electric windows, USB plug and remote central locking. Trim levels include Visia, Acenta, and Tekna.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Cheap to run, but supercharged engine is even better
There are two petrol engines to choose from in the Nissan Micra range. The first is a basic 79bhp 1.2-litre engine that can return fuel economy of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 115g/km for road tax of £30 annually. The more hi-tech engine might be more powerful, with 97bhp, but it is also cheaper to run thanks to low CO2 emissions that mean it is free to tax and impressive fuel economy of 68.9mpg. Although these are strong figures for a petrol engine, diesel versions of the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta can achieve more than 80mpg.
Both engines can also be mated with Nissan’s CVT automatic gearbox and with it fitted economy in the basic engine drops to 52.3mpg, while CO2 emissions rise to 125g/km for road tax of £110. In the 97bhp engine, fuel economy drops to 56.5mpg and road tax costs £30.
Nissan offers Micra owners fixed-price services that start at £109 and come with free roadside assistance, so that even if the car suffers a problem you’ll get home safe. Insurance runs from group five in the basic 1.2-litre Visia to group nine in the DIG-S Acenta.
Engines, drive & performance
Good in town but not particularly fun to drive
If you are looking for a thrilling driving experience then the Micra is not the car for you and it can’t match the Ford Fiesta, which leads the class in this respect. The soft suspension that, for the most part, lends the Micra a soft ride, results in plenty of body lean in the corners, although its unresponsive steering doesn’t exactly encourage fast cornering. If you’re happy to go at the Micra’s pace you’ll find its controls are light and easy to use and it offers decent all-round visibility.
Nissan has chosen not to offer a performance version of the Micra, which means that neither model is quick. Go for the basic engine and 0-62mph takes 13.7 seconds or a leisurely 14.5 seconds if you fit the CVT automatic gearbox. The DIG-T model drops those times to 11.3 seconds and 11.8 seconds, respectively.
Interior & comfort
Interior is drab but ride is comfortable
There are lots of interesting design features to be found in the Nissan Micra’s interior and the centre dashboard is dominated by controls for the ventilation system arranged in a circle. Top-of-the-range Tekna models also get Nissan Connect, which adds a large touchscreen sat-nav display. However, the interior lacks the cohesive design of the Ford Fiesta or the solid build quality of the Volkswagen Polo. All models get rake adjustment for the steering wheel, but you’ll have to opt for Acenta trim or above to get a driver’s seat that adjusts for height.
The Micra is quite softly sprung so it can deal with most bumps without issue, but at high speeds it gets crashy and a significant amount of wind noise makes its way into the cabin. If you want to make relaxed progress, we would advise against the CVT automatic gearbox – with it fitted, the engine emits a constant flat drone under acceleration.
Practicality & boot space
Spacious for passengers, but boot could be bigger
The Nissan Micra offers a decent amount of space inside for passengers and getting comfortable in the front seats should be easy. Most adults should also be able to get comfortable in the back, but elbowroom will be tight with all three seats occupied.
The 265-litre boot is smaller than you’ll find in the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo, while lowering the rear seats extends capacity to 1,132 litres. Only Acenta and Tekna models get rear seats that split and the Micra also has a boot lip that makes loading heavier items a pain.
Nissan has given the Micra plenty of storage areas, including glovebox, two storage areas in the dashboard, cupholders, and door pockets in the front doors. Although Tekna models get Nissan’s Connect sat-nav, they do without the useful 12v plug fitted to other models.
Reliability & safety
Nissan’s reputation for reliability is strong
The Micra didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but in 2013 it proved a strong contender, coming 24th out of 150 cars and scoring well for reliability and running costs. Nissan’s 21st placing out of 33 firms in our manufacturers’ rankings makes for less positive reading.
With Euro NCAP awarding most cars five stars for safety it is a shame to see the Micra only get four. It was found to offer only marginal protection for the driver’s legs, while protection for the neck in a rear-end impact was also found wanting. The poor score comes despite the Nissan getting standard stability control, seatbelt pretensioners, and six airbags.
Price, value for money & options
Basic models feel very cheap
Basic Nissan Micras gets remote central locking, electric windows, a 12v plug, and a Bluetooth phone connection, but air-conditioning is notably absent. It can be fitted at extra cost for £500. Mid-range Acenta models add alloy wheels, climate control, electric door mirrors, cruise control, plus automatic headlights and wipers. Tekna models are the best equipped and include sat-nav, parking sensors, and a parking-space measuring device. The top-of-the-range model also gets a panoramic glass roof, but bear in mind that it eats into headroom.
The model that is likely to lose most value over three years/36,000 miles is the basic 1.2-litre petrol in Acenta trim, which is set to hold onto 38 per cent of its original price. The Tekna model fitted with the same engine is the most resilient to depreciation – keeping 43 per cent over the same period.