2013 Nissan Micra review

* Heavily revised Micra supermini driven * Mid-level trim now loaded with equipment * On sale in September, priced from 9950...

2013 Nissan Micra review

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 Micras 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, introducing higher-quality materials for the most visible parts of the dashboard and controls, as well as chrome and gloss finishes to some elements.

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?
When the current Micra was launched in 2010, we said that its high-speed ride was nervous and that its body leaned significantly in bends. As youd expect, given that there are no suspension changes to the car, the same is unfortunately true with the new version.

That said, the Micras ride isnt a huge problem around town; it absorbs patchy road surfaces and most large bumps fairly well. However, the set-up struggles to deal with pits and cracks at A-road speeds, so can feel unsettled.

Parking and manoeuvring is easy, thanks to the Micras light steering. The steering is numb, though, which becomes disconcerting outside the city limits.

Both 1.2-litre engines produce sufficient power for pottering around town. Although the supercharged unit is noticeably punchier, its also around 1100 more expensive.

Sadly the Nissan Micra remains a relatively unrefined supermini; the thrum of its three-cylinder engines can intrude around town, and theres lots of wind and road noise at motorway speeds.

What's the 2013 Nissan Micra like inside?
The cabin layout is identical to the outgoing model's, and while some components are different on Acenta spec models and above, its mostly the trim and finishes that have been altered.

The interior now features silver accents on the new textured door armrests, as well as higher-quality seat and door panel fabrics. Cars in Acenta and Tekna spec also get a new gloss black centre console that incorporates the same functions as its predecessor.

Cabin quality is an area that really let the current Micra down, and while its pleasing to see that this has been improved with the face-lift, most of the plastics feel as flimsy as ever.

Standard equipment isnt any more generous in the new car. Entry-level Visia spec includes remote central locking, front electric windows, six airbags and a radio/CD player with aux-in connection and Bluetooth.

Acenta trim starts at 11,550 and adds climate control, a leather steering wheel, driver's seat-height adjustment, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, 15-inch alloy wheels and front foglights. You can also specify a 5.8-inch touch-screen satellite-navigation system as a 500 option.

Tekna - from 12,950 - brings the sat-nav system, rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloys, suede-like seat fabric, electric folding door mirrors and keyless entry with push-button start.

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 while there are 60/40 split-folding rear seats, these arent available on the entry-level car.

Should I buy one?
The Nissan Micra is now closer to showing the kind of style and quality youd 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. Equipped with the non-supercharged 1.2-litre engine, you can get a car with climate control, Bluetooth, alloy wheels and sat-nav for 12,050.

The Micra is affordable to buy and cheap to run, but its 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 simply doesnt feel as good as it should - even at this price. The i20 and Swift are both better cars.

What Car? says...

Hyundai i20
Suzuki Swift

Read the full Nissan Micra review (current car)>>

Read the Nissan Micra review for parents (current car) at Mumsnet Cars >>

Specification 1.2 manual
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

By Ed Callow

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