Respectable economy. Very little else.
The new Nissan Micra is here! Is it good enough to become the take away delivery mode of transport in 10 years to come? Will it take the crown as the ideal car for the first time driver away from the Peugeot 107? Is it good value? Should you buy one?
Take my hand dear reader as I help you to discover the meaning of Micra.
The new Nissan Micra has moved with the times when it comes to exterior styling. Its predecessor was butt ugly, and the only component the new car shares with it are the head lamps. Set in to a different face, the head lamps are the only feature of the new Micra which break up the front design, which is, in a word, 'friendly'. It's round and inviting, with just enough character to make it interesting out on the roads.
All Micra are equipped with small wheels, and this helps to make the car look deceptively cute. It's not particularly stylish, though, a niggle that may take some interest away from the forecourt.
We have always thought of the Nissan Micra as a fun little run around that has real character. The MK1 Micra is now used by thousands of take away delivery drivers and the MK2 is the perfect car for the first time driver.
Sadly, the new Micra does not have any of the charm of the MK1 or MK3. This latest Micra drives horribly and it's simply unpleasant.
The noisy, little 1.2-litre petrol engine is the first thing you'll notice. It sends a large amount of vibration through to the cabin and it gets no better as it warms up. In any gear, at any revs, the Micra offers a sharp throttle response but after than initial inertia, the new Micra pulls with the same vibe as a dog on a lead; it's simply not up to scratch and at times it will not keep up well enough with traffic.
Inclines are a particular issue; the 3-pot engine only has 79 bhp and 81 lb /ft of torque, which means you'll be changing down a cog or two just to keep up, at which point there is so much noise from the engine pushed through to the cabin that holding a civilised conversation is nigh on impossible. Then, there's the ride, which is bone shatteringly bad and simply unacceptable for UK roads.
What were Nissan thinking?
Step inside the new Nissan Micra's cabin and it's a blast from the past. It's not only dull but it's incredibly cold too, with very little colour to warm the place up. Rock hard and brittle plastics make up the entire interior and the gear stick and steering wheel are of no better quality than on its predecessor. This is a huge shame because whilst competitors have evolved and moved with the times in terms of interior quality and design, Nissans team seem to have simply reverted to a back-up concept for the mk2.
It doesn't feel well put together, either. Put any pressure on to the dashboard or transmission with your palm and it creaks. This is not reassuring for the future.
It is certainly not up to the standards of even the most basic of cars such as the Peugeot 107, and it is a world apart from the likes of a Ford Fiesta, a car which isn't that much more expensive in basic form.
The 1.2-litre petrol engine in the new Micra does not have a lot of weight to lug around, and as such, it delivers respectable fuel economy. Around town you should get 46.3 mpg and on the motorway you should get 65.7 mpg. That gives an average mpg of 56.5 mpg, which is very good indeed. The typical insurance cost for the new Micra is only £319 and the typical PCP hire is £121 per month. That makes the Micra an extremely cheap car to own, and very little else really comes close to it.
Of course, we still do not recommend this car.
Trim and equipment
Prices for the new Micra are determined by trim level. These are Visia (£9,880), Acenta (£11,380), DIG-S Visia (£11,480), DIG-S Acenta (£12, 480), Tekna (£12,930) and DIG-S Tekna (£13,980).
We do not recommend that any potential buyers of the new Micra purchase any specification above the basic trim, Visia. This latest Micra is so poor that it's likely to depreciate like a stone with no guardian angel saving you from the optional equipment you add or more desirable trim.
Only electric windows, Bluetooth, and side airbags come as standard in this trim. Air conditioning is a £500 extra, a CVT automatic transmission is a £1000 extra and metallic paint is a £450 extra.
The first and second generation Nissan Micra were both capable cars ideal for the first time driver. This latest model, though, seems to have gone backwards; the ride quality, performance, refinement and cabin quality are lacking, and as a car that faces competition from the likes of the Peugeot 107, Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up!, it's extremely difficult to recommend it. All of those cars are better to drive and all of them are better to live with.
What Nissan has done is tar UK consumers with the recession brush; by creating a cheap and cheerful car I'm sure the board of directors thought that they would have a hit on their hands, but they failed to recognise that UK consumers seek high quality vs. price and not tat for the price asked of it. There isn't any love in these offices for the new Nissan Micra and we find it hard to imagine that any intelligent motorist would buy one instead of one of the city cars mentioned above.
With prices starting from £9,880 for the new Nissan Micra, you'll be better off with a Dacia or any of the cars above.