Nissan Micra hatchback - Interior & comfort
Interior is stylish but ride is firm and the infotainment system still isn't a class-leader
Nissan had some serious work to do in this area given the flair-free, cheap-feeling interior of the previous Micra, but the new one shows just how determined the marque is to go beyond simply restoring the Micra’s reputation.
Indeed, the new Micra represents an enormous leap forward when it comes to design, quality and technology inside, with clean, attractive styling and simple interfaces, despite the extensive standard equipment. Sensibly concentrating on the fundamentals first, Nissan has set the driver’s seat low so you feel more involved, while there’s plenty of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel to allow any size of occupant easily reach of the controls. There’s lots of space, too – not just fore and aft, but laterally. Nissan rightly boasts of best-in-class shoulder room thanks to the Micra’s width.
We’ll make special mention here of the Micra’s quietness at speed, which is seriously impressive. In fact, even if the engine is revved hard, very little commotion passes through to the passenger compartment, so travel is at least peaceful, if not especially smooth. The lack of smoothness is down to the suspension, which is quite firm in order to make the car more fun to drive. The problem is that ride comfort has been sacrificed as a result.
Nissan Micra dashboard
Nissan is so proud of the new Micra’s dashboard design that it’s been given a name: Gliding Wing. It’s certainly a lot more eye-catching than the dashboards found in Micras of old. As well as pleasing the eye, it accentuates the car’s width to give a greater feeling of space. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is an interesting design touch, too – if slightly gimmicky.
The dashboard is split into two contrasting colour zones, set off by simulated stitched leather that somehow manages to remain tasteful. The plastics used are soft to the touch, and provided your fingers don’t stray too far from the main touch-points of dashboard, steering wheel and centre console, the impression is one of upmarket modernity.
It’s when your fingertips begin to roam that less distinguished materials are found, but we feel that an acceptable compromise has been made. Everything feels robust, anyway, even if some of the plastics are a little less than tactile.
On all but the basic Visia+ models, the Micra’s instrument cluster incorporates a colour TFT screen that displays incidental information such as your mileage and the time with clear graphics. The steering wheel has a multitude of buttons that seem confusing at first, but it takes only a little time to familiarise yourself with them and operate the main features of the infotainment system with ease.
Entry-level models offer a two-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and USB connection for an iPod. Upgrading to Acenta is definitely worthwhile, as it brings a seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and mobile phone app integration. You also get four speakers, DAB radio and cruise control.
New for 2019, the N-Sport trim takes on rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and Volkswagen Polo R-Line, with sporty features like black 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, lowered suspension and a chrome tailpipe. There's also extra kit like a rear-view camera, part-leather/Alcantara seats. keyless entry and folding, heated door mirrors.
N-Connecta boosts the infotainment still further with NissanConnect, bringing sat nav. Special 16-inch alloy wheels are fitted, while privacy glass adds a touch of distinction. There’s an upgrade to automatic climate control, too. Range-topping Tekna includes leather-look inserts, a Bose stereo, rear-view camera and rear parking sensors.
Beyond the technology intended on making driving more fun, there’s an impressive array of features on standby to make sure you’re safe, too. Lane-keeping assistance will actively steer you back into the correct lane should you begin to wander, while an intelligent emergency braking system (including pedestrian protection) is fitted, to bring the car safely and automatically to a halt if an impact risk is detected.
A tempting option for the Micra is the Bose Personal audio pack with six speakers, including Bose PersonalSpace speakers built into the driver’s seat headrest. Impressive bass performance is promised. It’s standard on Tekna models and optional from Acenta upwards.
The full options list includes personalisation options and appearance packages that make up a big part of the Micra’s appeal, allowing buyers to mould their car to match their personality. You can choose variants of three separate body packs, including side mouldings, bumper finishers, bodywork decals and 17-inch wheels with coloured inserts.
Although the Tekna is already well equipped, you can take things further with a Vision+ pack that includes blind-spot warning and moving object detection. You can also opt for a full leather interior with heated front seats.