The turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol engine in the Micra is the same one that’s in the Renault Clio. But while it feels a little sluggish in that car, it zips the Micra along quite happily, giving you the performance you need not only for town driving, but also for comfortable motorway use.
A big part of this is due to the solid swell of shove provided from low to mid-way up the rev range, but the engine is also happy to be worked hard.
The diesel is also shared with Renault, and delivers its power evenly from low revs. True, it doesn’t like to be taken all the way up to its redline, but that’s a trait common to most diesel engines of its size.
Nissan Micra ride comfort
The Micra’s suspension is fairly stiffly sprung, so it stops the car bouncing around over undulating roads. However, the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo are all smoother riding.
This is particularly noticeable around town, where the Micra fidgets more and has a tendency to crash over the kind of sharp potholes that those three rivals would cross unobtrusively.
At least most of the Micra's jitteriness smoothes out once the speed rises, so it’s a comfortable motorway cruiser.
Nissan Micra handling
Light steering makes the Micra undemanding in town, but out on the open road the wheel doesn’t weight up with the consistency that you get in a Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio.
Considering the sportier bent trumpeted by Nissan, this is a little disappointing, because it means that when pushing on, you can’t place the car as intuitively as you’d like.
Body lean is well controlled and there’s plenty of grip in dry conditions, but the rear end gets a little twitchy on wet roads.
Nissan Micra refinement
You notice some rumble from the tyres at speed and, like most three-cylinder engines, the 0.9-litre unit in the Micra gets quite vocal at higher revs. However, its thrum is far from unpleasant, and the diesel engine is both smooth and quiet.
Sadly, the gearbox isn’t as impressive, because it has a vague action. But the clutch is fairly light and positive, and the brakes progressive, so you can drive the Micra smoothly in snarled-up city traffic.
This turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine delivers lively performance, right up to motorway speeds, and while there's a thrum to it when you accelerate, the sound is far from unpleasant. It also averages more than 45mpg in real-world conditions.
1.5 dCi 90
The Micra's diesel engine delivers its power evenly from low revs, so while it doesn’t like to be worked hard, this is rarely a problem. It's impressively refined, too, but is quite expensive to buy.