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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Micra has sweet engines and bags of safety kit

Against Rear headroom and boot space are poor

Verdict The Micra is a hugely capable, well made and value-for-money hatchback

Go for… 1.2 80bhp petrol

Avoid… 1.5 dCi 65bhp diesel

Nissan Micra Hatchback
  • 1. Reliability is generally excellent, but, on diesels where the turbo has been replaced, check the exhaust valves are also new
  • 2. In rare cases, the steering can clonk on full lock, but this should be fixed by dealers for free
  • 3. Our pick is the 80bhp 1.2-litre petrol five-door for its willing performance and strong fuel economy
  • 4. The Micra's great around town, with good visibility, easy steering and light controls
  • 5. The sloping roof limits rear headroom, and the boot could be bigger
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Nissan Micra Hatchback full review with expert trade views

You’ll struggle to find a friendlier town car. The large glass area gives superb all-round visibility, and the steering and other controls are light. Catching gaps in traffic is a doddle, too, because the engines (apart from the 65bhp 1.5 dCi diesel) are eager and zippy. They’re also pretty easy on fuel.

Out of town, it's not so good, though. That light steering is short of feel in bends, and the Micra’s handling is far from the best in its class. However, it’s at least safe and predictable, and the firm ride improves at speed. Even so, there’s too much mechanical noise and road roar at motorway speeds.

Accommodation is better in the front than the back, with an excellent driving position, despite the limited adjustment, and ample space. In the back, though, the sloping roof cuts the headroom, and the boot could be bigger, although a sliding rear bench lets you shift the balance between rear legroom and luggage space.

All models are well equipped, especially with safety kit.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Plenty around, three doors favoured, 1.2S is in over supply

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The 80bhp 1.2-litre petrol five-door is best for its blend of willing performance and strong fuel economy. The 1.4 petrol is fractionally quicker and fractionally thirstier, but if you want the ultimate performance, there's also a 108bhp 1.6 petrol, which is as fast as it gets in Micraland. We’d pass on the 64bhp 1.2 – it feels noticeably slower than the 80bhp version, but its fuel economy is barely any better.

There’s also a 64bhp 1.5 dCi diesel, which is very frugal and ideal for those who live life at a very slow pace. If you simply must have a diesel engine, the 81bhp 1.5 dCi is the better choice. It dishes out more pace, but delivers the same fuel economy.

All Micras are kitted out with comfort and safety in mind. Twin front airbags, anti-lock brakes, power steering, electric front windows, a single-slot CD player and remote locking are standard on all. We’d go for SE spec for its air-con.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Probably the most reliable small used car around - excellent build quality and reliability

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Even the thirstiest Micra (the 1.6) is good for more than 40mpg, so you won’t have to worry about fuel costs. The 1.4s give mid-40s and our favourite 1.2 is knocking on the door of 50mpg. The diesels, meanwhile, smash the door down and go all the way past 60mpg.

Servicing isn’t cheap, though. A Renault Clio costs about the same, but a Vauxhall Corsa, Toyota Yaris, Peugeot 206 and Skoda Fabia – to name a few – are all cheaper to maintain.

Still, insurance is easy on the wallet, starting at group 2 for both 1.2s and rising to a modest group 6 for the 1.6. Buy a two- or three-year-old Micra and value loss won’t be a headache, either. However, take care not to pay some of the optimistic prices being asked for nearly new examples or you’ll be hit in the pocket when you sell your car on later.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Plenty around, three doors favoured, 1.2S is in over supply

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Micra is generally strong and bolted together very soundly. However, a few weaknesses have started to emerge. The most common are batteries that suddenly go flat, which can be caused by a number of electronic glitches – very often the immobiliser or software problems with the keyless entry system – and should be fixable (or, hopefully, already fixed) under Nissan’s three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.

Some diesels have been known to suffer from turbo trouble – sometimes it’s the bearings, but occasionally they just blow up. If the turbo has been replaced (again under warranty) check the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve has also been replaced. If not, another turbo failure may not be too far off.

Rear hatches can leak and a few cars suffer from a clonk on full lock, caused by misaligned suspension. It’s rare, but dealers are aware of it and should sort it. Finally, the cables that adjust the seat can be problematic, too.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Probably the most reliable small used car around - excellent build quality and reliability

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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