2013 Nissan Micra review

  • Revised Micra supermini driven in UK
  • Mid-level trim now loaded with equipment
  • On sale now, priced from £9950

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The current Nissan Micra has never been close to class leading. Now, though, Nissan has given the car a substantial face-lift, as well as interior and equipment upgrades, in an effort to turn it into a more competitive proposition.

Nissan says the revised Micra is aimed squarely at the Hyundai i20 and Suzuki Swift, although it admits its car has a slight equipment deficit in the low- to mid-spec range.

More than half of the Micra’s exterior has been changed as part of the face-lift, which includes different wings, bumpers, bonnet, headlights and front foglights.

The cabin has also been improved, with the central console and dash heavily restyled to give it a more sophisticated look. Nissan has also introduced higher-quality materials for the most visible parts of the dashboard and controls, as well as chrome and gloss finishes to some elements to improve the cabin's feel.

There are no changes to the engine line-up, so buyers will be able to choose from either a 79bhp 1.2-litre or a 97bhp supercharged 1.2-litre petrol.

What's the 2013 Nissan Micra like to drive?
Despite the raft of revisions to the Micra's cabin and looks, the mechanical elements are left untouched. This means that the car still suffers from a nervous high-speed ride; it struggles to deal with pits and cracks at A-road speeds, so can feel unsettled.

That said, the Micra’s ride isn’t a huge problem around town; it absorbs patchy road surfaces and most large bumps fairly well. Parking and manoeuvring are easy, too, thanks to the Micra’s light steering.

Sadly, the steering is numb steering at higher speed, and the Micra has a tendency to lean unnervingly through tight twists and turns

Both 1.2-litre engines produce sufficient power for pottering around town. The supercharged unit is noticeably punchier, but it’s also around £1100 more expensive.

The Nissan Micra remains a relatively unrefined supermini; the thrum of its three-cylinder engines can intrude around town, and there’s lots of wind and road noise, which means a conversation at motorway speeds requires voices to be raised.


What's the 2013 Nissan Micra like inside?
The cabin was an area that got plenty of criticism from buyers, so the refresh to the Micra has brought several notable changes.

The cutesy circular central air vents have been replaced by more conventional and sensible rectangle alternatives, while Acenta and Tekna spec cars also get a new gloss black centre console with a silver surround.

There are also new silver accents on the textured door armrests, as well as higher-quality seat and door panel fabrics. The bulk of the door panels consist of one large piece of plastic, though, which is hardwearing rather than classy.

Standard equipment has been improved slightly with the face-lift. Entry-level Visia spec adds a USB connection to remote central locking, front electric windows, six airbags and a CD player with aux-in connection and Bluetooth.

Acenta trim starts at £11,550 and adds climate control, the gloss black central console, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control and a rear centre head restraint. You also get a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat, 15-inch alloy wheels and front foglights. A 5.8-inch touch-screen navigation system is available as a £500 option.

Tekna trim – available from £12,950 – now comes with 16-inch alloys, keyless entry and start and suede-effect seats. It also gets you sat-nav, rear parking sensors and electric-folding door mirrors.

The Micra is far from the roomiest car in its class, but adults can still fit in the back. Boot space is a pretty average 265 litres, and more expensive versions get 60/40 split-folding rear seats; these aren’t available on the entry-level car.


Should I buy one?
The Nissan Micra is now closer to showing the kind of style and quality you’d expect in a supermini.

While the entry-level model is still very basic, the mid-level Acenta spec comes with enough kit to make it a tempting proposition. Go for the with the non-supercharged 1.2-litre engine, and you'll get a car with climate control, Bluetooth, alloy wheels and sat-nav for £12,050.

The Micra is affordable, then, and it's also cheap to run, but it’s let down by a sub-standard ride and disappointing handling. Also, while the face-lift is a decent effort to address some of the quality issues, the cabin looks and feels cheap – even taking into account the low price. The Hyundai i20 and Suzuki Swift are both better buys.

What Car? says...

Rivals:

Hyundai i20
Suzuki Swift

Specification 1.2
Engine size 1.2-litre petrol
Price from £9950
Power 79bhp
Torque 81lb ft
0-62mph 13.7 seconds
Top speed 106mph
Fuel economy 56.5mpg
CO2 emissions 115g/km

Specification 1.2 CVT
Engine size 1.2-litre petrol
Price from £10,950
Power 79bhp
Torque 81lb ft
0-62mph 14.5 seconds
Top speed 101mph
Fuel economy 52.3mpg
CO2 emissions 125g/km

Specification 1.2 DIG-S manual
Engine size 1.2-litre supercharged petrol
Price from £11,700
Power 97bhp
Torque 108lb ft
0-62mph 11.3 seconds
Top speed 113mph
Fuel economy 68.9mpg
CO2 emissions 95g/km

Specification 1.2 DIG-S CVT
Engine size 1.2-litre supercharged petrol
Price from £13,650
Power 97bhp
Torque 108lb ft
0-62mph 11.8 seconds
Top speed 109mph
Fuel economy 56.5mpg
CO2 emissions 115g/km

 
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