New engines give Micra much needed shot in the arm

The Nissan Micra has cast off the dowdy image of its predecessor with a sharp and sporty design, and this latest model is finally able to compete properly with rivals thanks to its new turbocharged 1.0-litre engine. The Micra is stylish and not bad to drive, and features loads of kit and safety features.

We crowned it as one of the best superminis on the market when it launched in 2017, but times change. The Micra is still a player, but the Ford Fiesta is a better car to drive, while a Volkswagen Polo is more plush and features a better executed interior. It's a small car worth considering if you like the looks, but it's not quite the cream of the crop.

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Nissan Micra IG-T 100 N-Sport

A favourite with driving schools and new drivers across the UK, the Nissan Micra has been a staple of the supermini class since 1983. The first and second generations served up Japanese reliability on a plate, with a decent price to boot. The Micra Mk3 added rounded styling to the mix that added to the car's charms, but the Mk4 was a more restrained design in comparison. One common thread between all of these models is their lack of driving fun, as the Micra was considered a safe and secure choice. For the current Mk5, launched in 2017, radical looks returned, along with additional tech and an improved driving experience.

Nissan Micra long-term test review

While the looks are sharper, the new Micra gets the last car's running gear under the skin. However, it has been completely updated to make sure the car is competitive, and includes some cutting-edge electronic tech taken from other Nissan models, like the Qashqai. As before, the Micra is five-door only, although Nissan has put the rear doorhandles in the window frames to give the car a sportier look.

The Micra has been updated to feature a new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which replaces the old 0.9-litre unit. There's also a base 1.0 71PS petrol and a DCI 90 diesel, and a CVT automatic transmission has been added. The new turbocharged 1.0-litre develops two outputs - 99bhp and 115bhp. The 115bhp car gets bespoke chassis revisions and a new six-speed manual gearbox.

Nissan offers six trim levels. The flagship is Tekna, then there's N-Connecta, Acenta, Visia+ and Visia. The newcomer for the range is the racy looking N-Sport model. All cars get Bluetooth as standard, as well as automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning system. Air-con and stop-start tech feature on Visia+ cars, while alloy wheels, smartphone connectivity and a seven-inch touchscreen make an appearance on the mid-range Acenta and above.

Latest Micra is better to drive than ever, although it’s not best in class
Micra boasts respectable fuel economy but should be cheap to insure
The Micra’s up-to-date cabin matches the smart exterior look, with plenty of customisation options
The Micra features a practical boot designed for the most common uses
Impressive standard safety kit is a big plus for the Micra

Move up to N-Connecta and you heated mirrors and an upgraded infotainment system, while the Tekna benefits from 17-inch alloys, keyless go, a rear-view camera and a Bose audio system that has been designed specifically for the new Micra.

If you’re in the market for a new supermini you shouldn’t discount the Nissan Micra, but then there are a number of hugely talented rivals on offer, many of which have been newly introduced or updated relatively recently. Chief among these is the latest Ford Fiesta, while the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia are both strong rivals. The Volkswagen Polo has also been replaced and is a great car, while the Citroen C3 adds some youthful style to the mix.

The Peugeot 208 is the upmarket sister car to the C3, while the outgoing Renault Clio shares its platform with the Micra. Elsewhere, other Far Eastern rivals include the Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio, Suzuki Swift and Honda Jazz, while the Vauxhall Corsa is another staple of the class that shouldn't be ruled out.

Last updated: 
18 Mar, 2019