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 has been a popular model with driving schools for a long time thanks to its light controls that make it extremely easy to drive. The car is now in its fourth generation and is only available with five-doors.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Nissan Micra is its relatively dull styling, which lack the eye-catching design of cars such as the new Ford Fiesta. You’ll also find the Nissan is less fun to drive than the Ford and only offers a choice of two 1.2-litre petrol engines, though both should be cheap to run.
The interior is quite roomy and well designed, but some of the plastics used inside feel cheap when compared to a rival such as the Volkswagen Polo.
Nissan offers the Micra with three levels of trim – Visia, Acenta and Tekna.
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MPG, running costs & CO2
Cheap to run, but supercharged engine is even better
The Micra can’t be had with a diesel engine but it should still be cheap to run nonetheless. Owners can decide between a choice of two 1.2-litre petrol engines with 79bhp and 97bhp. The least-powerful model can return economy figures of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions that mean road tax will cost just £30 every year. The more powerful Micra is the better option, though, because it qualifies for free road tax and is more frugal, with 65.7mpg possible.
The Micra should also be cheap to maintain and the cost of a service starts at £109 – coming complete with complimentary Nissan roadside assistance to get you home safe even if your Micra does suffer a problem.
Interior & comfort
Interior is drab but ride is comfortable
The Nissan Micra's suspension does a decent job of absorbing bumps in the road but the car's interior really lets it down. It doesn’t feel as well built as previous Micras and there are hplenty of hard plastics, which means it isn’t as nice a place to sit as cars such as the Volkswagen Polo or even the Ford Fiesta. We would also advise against opting for the automatic gearbox, which causes a constant drone when accelerating.
Getting comfortable behind the wheel might also be an issue in the basic model, because it does without a height adjustable driver's seat and has a steering wheel that can be adjusted for height but not rake.
Practicality & boot space
Spacious for passengers, but boot could be bigger
The Nissan Micra is surprisingly spacious, with plenty of room in the front, and enough head and legroom in the back for most adults to sit comfortably, although three people might find it a bit tight for elbow room.
With 265 litres of capacity, the boot is also a decent size and folding down the rear seats reveals 1,132 litres of capacity in total. The boot floor is flat and the opening is wide, but sliding in heavy items is tricky thanks to the boot's annoying lip. It is also worth mentioning that only Acenta and Tekna trim levels come with rear seats that split.
Nissan has been generous with storage areas in the Micra and, along with a decent-sized glovebox, you get two extra storage areas in the dashboard, cupholders, and door bins. Go for the top-of-the-range Tekna model and you get sat-nav but no 12v socket, which is useful for charging electrical items such as your mobile phone.
Reliability & safety
Nissan’s reputation for reliability is strong
Although the Nissan Micra didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power survey, in 2013 it did extremely well to come 24th out of 150 cars in our model rankings – scoring well in areas such as reliability and running costs.
Safety can’t match the best in class, however, and the Micra could only manage four-stars when it was evaluated by Euro NCAP. In that test, the Nissan was found to offer only marginal protection for the driver's legs. Neck protection, in the event of a rear-impact, was also judged to be average.
Engines, drive & performance
Good in town but not particularly fun to drive
If you are on the hunt for a small car that is fun to drive then you better rule out the Micra – it has unresponsive steering, as well as lots of body lean in the corners – and go for a car such as the Ford Fiesta.
However, if you just want something that is easy to drive in town then the Micra is ideal. All the Nissan's controls are light and easy to use and it also offers excellent visibility. The Micra's party piece is a taxi-rivalling turning circle, which should pay dividends when driving in the city. If you plan to do a lot of motorway driving then the more-powerful engine, combined with the manual gearbox, makes the most sense and it can get the Micra from 0-60mph in a relatively spritely 11.3 seconds.
Price, value for money & options
Basic models feel very cheap
In basic Visia trim, the Nissan Micra does without equipment such as air-conditioning, but does get electric windows, remote central locking, a 12v plug, and a Bluetooth phone connection. You can choose to spec air-con at extra cost.
Acenta models come much more generously equipped with alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, electric door mirrors, and cruise control.
The Tekna trim level makes the Micra perfect the city, with standard-fit sat-nav, rear parking sensors, and a system that can measure parking spaces. Tekna models can also be fitted with a panoramic sunroof, which makes the interior feel light and airy, but does rob it of some headroom.
The Nissan Micra should hold decent second-hand values and in a survey conducted by car valuers, Glass, Nissan finished ahead of rivals such as Ford, Mazda and Kia for residual values.
What the others say
"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."
"The Nissan Micra is a budget supermini that provides basic transport at an affordable price. However, some rivals give you more for similar money."
"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."
"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."