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Nissan Micra hatchback (2010-2016) - Engines, drive & performance

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

Carbuyer Rating

2.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

1.8 out of 5

All versions of the Nissan Micra benefit from the Nissan’s light controls, excellent visibility and tight turning circle, meaning that these superminis are a doddle to drive, just as long as you’re not expecting a thrilling driving experience – cars in this class are more about practicality and reliability rather than thrills and desirability, after all.

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However, head out on to the open road and you’ll soon discover that the Nissan is hobbled by lifeless handling, a somewhat crashy ride and refinement that’s certainly no match for the class leaders such as the popular Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Volkswagen Polo. Also, at higher speeds the Nissan Micra's suspension doesn’t really feel up to the job of dealing with the rough roads often experienced in the UK, frequently feeling unsettled. The engine also makes a racket in the cabin and there’s a lot of wind and road noise, too.

In spite of its flaws, the Nissan Micra is a great city runabout as a result of its good visibility, light steering and responsive controls – all of which make navigating your way through busy urban areas a breeze.

Nissan Micra petrol engines

Nissan has chosen not to offer a performance version of the Micra, which means that neither of the petrol models is particularly 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 99bhp supercharged DiG-S model drops those times to 11.3 and 11.9 seconds respectively.

Still, although the Micra is no performance machine, it feels safe and predictable, while the high driving position and excellent visibility make it easy to place on the road. 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’d advise against the CVT automatic gearbox – with it fitted, the engine emits a constant flat drone under acceleration.

Diesel engines

Nissan doesn’t currently offer the Micra with a diesel engine, as it believes the supercharged 1.2-litre petrol engine is frugal enough. If you want a diesel-powered Nissan supermini, you’ll have to go for the bigger and more expensive Nissan Juke.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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