Nissan Micra it was a safe set of wheels, a dependable little runaround but what it was not was a car with much verve or appeal in the younger market. Well that has all changed with this new one which is everything the previous ones were not. It has flamboyant and head turning looks, a thoroughly modern little 1.0 litre engine in the range, a funky interior and what are probably class-leading driver aid options.F impressions count and the Micra definitely makes a statement of intent in the way it looks. It has dramatic creases in the flanks and a rising waist line which with the slightly sloping roof and smaller windows in the back doors lend it an almost coupe look. Add the extravagant front end styling around the nose and headlamps and this Micra stands out from the crowd in a way none has ever done before. The car I’ve just spent a week in was fitted with what Nissan calls the Power Blue Trim and as the name suggests, it has dramatic metallic blue inserts around the car which add even more visual punch.
As a small but useful aside, that shape has been done for function as well as form and the newcomer has the best coefficient of drag which in plain English means it cuts through the air easier than any in the class.



It’s much the same inside as out, with a much more modern take on the driving environment. The trim material is a world away from previous generations, there is more leg, head and width room than before and I for one enjoyed sitting lower in the car than in many superminis and with my legs more stretched out rather than having my knees and ankles at right angles.
The seven inch touchscreen for nav and entertainment functions works well enough, perhaps not quite as glitzy looing as some, but it’s probably easier to use and in my book that counts for a lot.Even on the 17 inch alloy wheels fitted to my press car, the Micra manages to juggle the competing aims of riding smoothly but with responsive, agile handling far better than many superminis. Maybe not Ford Fiesta good, but if not then a very close second. I didn’t like the wide A Pillars framing the windscreen because it was too easy to miss a small object such as a cyclist when entering a roundabout but you soon get used to it.Nissan is following the modern trend of using three cylinder 1.0 litre engines and my test car had the turbocharged version which I sort of enjoyed but with a couple of minor reservations. The first is that when it was cold the power delivery was a little lumpy and I found it quite low geared which I didn’t understand because it has enough torque to pull a higher gear. Anyway, those extra revs hurt the fuel economy and while Nissan claims an average of 64 mpg that is just fiction in the real world.Exceptional. Nissan has really pushed out the boat and the Micra has more integrated safety technologies than it has ever built into a small car and I dare say it rivals many bigger ones costing an extra £10,000. Every model has as standard Intelligent Lane Intervention which will gently vibrate the steering wheel to warn you if you are about to pull out in front of an overtaking vehicle, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition which activates the brakes if you don’t when closing too fast to something ahead and Traffic Sign Recognition which knows even if you don’t and can display it. The car probably has a higher IQ than many drivers and all these systems are there to act to keep them and other road users out of trouble.Those are fitted to very new Micra but there are plenty more big car features you can add to the options list. It is a very impressive performance by Nissan.In such a fiercely competitive sector of the market no car can ask buyers to pay more when there are so many good rivals around so the Micra has ball park pricing from £12,000. It’s too early to say what the residual values will be but they must be a lot more than before and I would guess among the best in class.


 

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