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

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - BY RE­BECCA CHAPLIN

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.

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