Micra up with best

Nissan Micra
Nissan Micra
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Nissan’s idea of what makes a world-beating small car haven’t always tallied with those of most UK supermini buyers but the Micra has still been consistently successful down the years.

The latest model is a development on these existing Micra themes with a compact, curvy design focusing on fuel economy and manoeuvrability. In concept, it might appear closer to a city car than a modern supermini but it’s not short of space and its safety credentials are up with the very best in the class.

There are a couple engine alternatives open to Micra customers, both 1.2-litre petrol units of a three-cylinder configuration. The first is a 79bhp option, advanced enough to include variable valve timing technology. The second is slightly more intriguing as it adds a supercharger into the mix which boosts power to a still not earth-shattering 97bhp. Torque is increased from 108Nm in the normally aspirated car to 142Nm in the blown unit.

A five-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard to the Micra but there’s also the option of a clever CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) automatic. The suspension is designed to be particularly compact at the rear, minimising intrusion into the boot area and Nissan has endowed the Micra with an unusually tight 4.5m turning radius. Also enhancing the ease with which this Nissan can be manoeuvred are electrically-assisted power steering, a large glass area and the fact that the nose of the car is visible from the cabin. This is not as common as you might think in modern superminis and helps a lot when parking.

This Mica is still a bit of a lightweight compared to other modern superminis, tipping the scales at 945kg, but it’s fractionally longer than the old car and interior space is generous. The cabin is designed around the rounded theme witnessed outside, with circular motifs popping up all over the shop. Rear leg and headroom are generous and the boot is a respectable size but the seat backs aren’t split and flip forward in one section. Nissan designed the Micra to be one of the safest small cars around, with ESP stability control fitted as standard alongside ABS brakes and six airbags and seatbelt pretensioners on all models.