Nissan Micra long-term test review

Nissan has given the Micra a radical makeover in its fifth generation, so can it now compete with the best small cars? Six months of everyday use should provide the answer...

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What Car? team
26 Oct 2017 10:08 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

  • The car Nissan Micra 0.9 IG-T 90 N-Connecta
  • Run by Hemal Mistry, digital reviews editor
  • Why it’s here Nissan claims it has created a no-compromise supermini, with a striking new look, plenty of personalisation options and some impressive technology, but can it rival the best in the market?
  • Needs to Do what all the best superminis do – be practical, refined and frugal, deal with motorway jaunts and, importantly, be fun to drive.

List price: £16,115 Target Price: £15,438 Price as tested: £19,110 Options: Powder Blue paint (£575); Vision+ pack, includes 360-degree camera, blindspot monitoring and moving object detection (£550); Exterior pack, includes 17in alloys and chrome trim (£800); Interior Powder Blue personalisation pack (£350); Intelligent Key (£200); Bose personal audio pack (£500)***

26 October 2017 – Nissan Micra final report

With it time to bid our long-term Nissan Micra a fond farewell, let's conclude whether this fifth generation car is more than just style over substance.

It’s hard not to notice the striking new looks compared to bubble-shaped cars that went before. Regardless of whether you like its styling or not, the Micra remained a head-turner during its stint with us, helped by its optional Power Blue metallic paint job.

The same striking approach was also carry through to the interior, with sections of crisp black plastic, swathes of soft-touch materials, and splashes of blue and cream all helping lift the ambiance. Include the standard-fit fully loaded touchscreen infotainment system and the optional, yet clever, Bose stereo system, and the Micra is somewhere you won’t mind spending long periods of time in.

Nissan Micra long-term test review

But there is more to a good supermini than standing out in a crowd. It needs to remain practical enough for family life and decent to drive. Admittedly, the Micra lacks the overall polish that makes the latest Seat Ibiza and Ford Fiesta both stand out performers. But the little Nissan goes about its business quietly and with minimal fuss, with only fidgety ride at low speeds providing a real grumbling point. Although I suspect sticking with 16in wheels rather the optional 17s fitted to our car would cure that issue.

Where the Micra shines is with it’s steering. Yes, it is lighter and less feelsome than the best in class, but at low speeds the car is easy to thread through tight spaces, and yet direct and accurate when you want to corner with gusto. Add in Nissan’s Chassis Control traction system, which brakes individual wheels to help corner tighter, gives this little supermini superb balance in the corners.

Even despite our gearbox woes, which saw the Micra refuse to select or release third gear. There is little to find fault with here either, with the action is both smooth and positive allowing you to change quickly and make the most of the narrow power band. And while most rivals offer more boot space and better legroom for rear passengers, we found the Micra ideal for carrying four adults over short distances.

What lets the little Nissan down is its 0.9-litre petrol engine, our preference remember over the 1.5 diesel and the non-turbocharged 1.0 petrol. Although at cruising speeds the engine is quiet and refined, with enough thrust to make overtaking almost effortless, there just isn't enough power at lower speeds.

Nissan Micra long-term test review

The engine is not a bad one, but when compared to similar small engines found in both the Fiesta and Ibiza you realise its shortcomings. Both spin up quicker, are peppier and are better balanced. The latter is important because the Micra also suffers from harsh vibrations transmitted through the steering wheel and clutch pedal.

These small indiscretions give the Micra a couple of big black marks against its otherwise impressive package. Don’t get me wrong, if you invested in one you would be getting a superb supermini that is well appointed and is better to drive than most in this class. But the Ibiza and the Fiesta have an added layer of polish that you would expect for a car priced as ours is.

Dealer price now: £14,420

Private price now: £12,690

Trade-in price now: £11,750

Test economy: 43.87mpg

True MPG: NA

Official average: 61.4mpg

Contract hire: £238

Cost per mile: 98.4p

Total running cost: £479.77 fuel

Insurance Group: 4E

Typical insurance quote: £301

Next: More on our long-term Nissan Micra >