NISSAN TAKES ON ALL COMERS WITH NEW MICRA FOR 2017
Nissan will be hoping its new Micra takes the supermini segment by storm. We sent Rebecca Chaplin to find out how likely that is
WHAT’S NEW? Let’s face it, the last Nissan Micra wasn’t exactly a big hit in the UK market. It was a bit too quirky compared with previous generations and what had been the first-car staple of so many young drivers became the reserve of the older generation.
Nissan has breathed a new lease of life into the latest Micra, though, bringing it into line with the rest of its product range and offering segment firsts on the safety and technology fronts. It’s been redesigned from the ground up to offer far better driving performance, plus the combination of standard safety options, improved driving aids and tech developments make it a very appealing option.
It is also available with must-have extras such as Apple Carplay integration and high-quality Bose headrest speakers, which make it an attractive alternative to rivals.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
When it comes to looks, the fifth-generation Micra has certainly improved and is likely to win favour – as many Nissans have before – with those looking for a stylish, but practical alternative to the traditional cars on the market. It’s been given that instantly recognisable Nissan chrome ‘V’ around the badge and an overall much sleeker look.
It’s clear that the target market for Micra is younger drivers, and Nissan is hoping to capture the attention of this audience with its new customisation options. There are three levels for this, covering the exterior and interior, meaning buyers have 125 options to choose from and can ensure their car stands out on the road.
Focus on interior quality has been drastically improved in the fifth-generation car. Here the Micra really sets itself apart from rivals, with soft flowing lines across the dash, which is built with softtouch materials in contrasting colours.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
The new Micra has a longer wheelbase than ever, and that means more legroom for all occupants. This is another way that Nissan has challenged rivals, as it’s moving away from a cramped supermini to a small hatchback. With five doors and a reasonable boot, it would be appealing for any family with young children.
Space in the back is still limited, although two adults could squeeze in. The roof curves into the rear spoiler, so it looks great from the outside, but there’s more headroom than you’d expect.
The doors open nice and wide too, as you’d expect from a Nissan, which makes this a great option for getting in and out of, especially if you’re trying to get a child in the back. However, the door openings themselves aren’t that big and you’ll have to bend over quite considerably.
The Micra is kitted out with lane departure assistance, emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and blind spot warning, meaning you get a really comprehensive range of driving assistance for such a small car. This is standard on the top-spec Tekna, but you’ll have to pay extra for it if you opt for a lower grade.
BEHIND THE WHEEL The Nissan Micra is available with two engine options at launch – a 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel – both producing 89bhp. From March, when the car goes on sale, there will be a 1.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, producing 74bhp, coming to the UK, but details are limited. Currently, it’s only available with a five-speed manual gearbox.
According to Nissan, the 0.9-litre petrol engine will achieve 64.2mpg and produce 99g/km of CO2 with stop-start fitted. Its diesel counterpart will do 88mpg, while producing 85g/km of CO2. It will achieve 0-60mph in 11.9 seconds with the petrol engine, continuing to 109mph, while the diesel will go marginally faster to 60mph in 11.7 seconds, reaching 111mph.
The Nissan Micra is a pretty pokey little car to drive in both petrol and diesel guises, although you’ll get marginally more out of the little turbo petrol. The car’s centre of gravity has been lowered, which means it clings to the road better than ever. It’s still a small car with a small engine, so don’t expect a life-changing driving experience, but it offers more than you’d need on a daily basis.
The car’s handling is its redeeming feature, as it corners with absolute ease even on the tightest of bends. There’s more clever kit under the car’s skin, which is constantly working to keep the car planted on the road.
Although the Micra is bigger, it’s also become slightly wider. Once you’re behind the wheel it doesn’t feel like a large car but its new stylish and flared design does mean you may want to keep an eye on the car’s extremities. Fortunately, the Micra is now available with Nissan’s 360-degree manoeuvring camera, which makes parking easy. VALUE FOR MONEY However, all of this extra kit and extra space does mean the price has increased on the Micra. That’s not to say there isn’t value in the Nissan range any more, and those looking for a low-priced, practical, but small car are better off opting for the Note.
The Micra does offer plenty of options depending on your budget though, ranging from the entry-level Visia to the topspec Tekna. The entry-level car is priced at £11,995, which will give you a fairly basic array of goodies, including 15-inch steel wheels, LED daytime running lights, electric door mirrors and front windows, hill start assist and emergency braking and the two-tone dashboard.
Going for Visia+ will add air conditioning and an entry-level sound system with two speakers, but it’s predicted that the mid-range Acenta spec with the 0.9-litre petrol engine will be the most popular model, which is priced from £14,995. This adds 16-inch alloys, cruise control, body-coloured trim and the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
From this grade, you’ll be able
“WHEN IT COMES TO LOOKS, THE FIFTH-GENERATION MICRA HAS CERTAINLY IMPROVED AND IS LIKELY TO WIN FAVOUR WITH THOSE LOOKING FOR A STYLISH, BUT PRACTICAL ALTERNATIVE . IT’S BEEN GIVEN THAT INSTANTLY RECOGNISABLE NISSAN CHROME ‘V’ AROUND THE BADGE AND AN OVERALL MUCH SLEEKER LOOK.”
to add the Bose Personal-space system for £500, which is standard on top-spec Tekna models, and gives you high-quality surround sound thanks to speakers built into the front headrests.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE? This car will have huge appeal for young drivers focused on the tech the car can offer them, but who are also looking for something practical and cheap to run. Its stylish looks and flared design will definitely appeal to those looking to stand out against the traditional B-segment cars.
The new Nissan Micra is finally a great alternative to the staples of the small hatchback market. It’s got the looks, the drive and the economy to become a serious rival worth considering. Take into account the infotainment options available and it makes an extremely strong argument for itself to those not particularly concerned about an inspiring driving experience.