Nissan's most-efficient Micra

* Supercharged version of the new Micra * Averages 70.9mpg, with 95g/km of CO2 * On sale next year...

Nissan's most-efficient Micra

There was a vital ingredient missing when we drove the new Nissan Micra a few months back, and that was the more powerful of its new 1.2-litre petrol engines.

Record-low CO2
That missing engine is currently known by the unwieldy designation HR12DDR. It's a direct-injection supercharged unit that gets more energy out of its fuel than other engines through a clever valve-timing system. With the additional help of stop-start, so you're not wasting fuel when stationary in traffic, it sets a new record-low for CO2 from a petrol engine 95g/km and achieves nearly 71mpg.

No ball of fire
Despite producing 98bhp and 105lb ft of torque both well up on those of the standard 1.2 that's your only other engine option with the new Micra we wouldn't want you to run away with the idea that it makes the Micra some kind of tiny tearaway, however. It doesn't. You don't have to thrash the car so hard at motorway pace to maintain decent momentum and it pulls more strongly when you want to pick up speed, but it's still pretty leisurely. It's also pretty quiet, although there's still some three-cylinder thrum.

Designed for emerging markets
As for the rest of the car, it's roomy, light, ridiculously manoeuverable and likely to be cracking value, but there's much work to be done to European-ise the interior and suspension before we can say that a car thats been designed for emerging markets can cut it in a mature one such as the UK.