Nissan’s original hatchback the Micra has always had a bit of a style problem. Similar to that of the Honda Jazz. It’s an old person’s car, bubbly in design it was always slightly alternative and a bit different when it came to its looks.
That all changed with this Fifth-generation model. It’s angular, modern and more in keeping with the competition.
But is it any good?
Gone are the awkward, upright bulbous looks of the previous three generations. Angular lines, and a low slung floating roof make it appeal to the young.
It has the familiar Nissan face grafted on to its streamlined front end. Hidden rear door handles make the five door only Micra seem like a three door.
There’s a range of styling packs for the exterior, including; gloss black, matte blue, matte orange, and chrome. Personalisation is a big player for small cars these days, especially amongst younger buyers.
Fitted with a 0.9 litre turbo petrol engine you may think the Micra is underpowered. But producing 88 hp and 140 Nm of torque it zips along rather well. The 0-60 time is a little lacklustre at 11.7 seconds, but it feels spritelier than it is.
Around town it’s all the power you need, in fact at motorway speed it even keeps up with the pace of things admirably.
There is however an annoying whine that you get at most speeds in any gear it seems. Unless you have the stereo on it sounds like you’re on a spin cycle in a washing machine.
Over a long motorway journey it can really start to annoy you. It’s no doubt due to the highly-strung nature of the 0.9 litre three-cylinder engine that’s sitting in front of you.
Apart from the laundrette whine the dinky three cylinder is rather refined. Things get a bit gruff at higher revs, but during an average drive you’d struggle to notice it’s lacking a cylinder.
Ride is on the firmer side, no doubt the thin rubber on our Tekna alloys didn’t help things. If you’re in the market for a Micra try the 16” alloys for some more comfort.
Handling wise the Micra is fun, there is body roll but it’s predictable and well managed. It stays upright in the corners and handles well enough when thrown down some B roads. You get to know its limits quickly, but if you keep the revs up and work the gears you can have an amusing time with the little Nissan.
It also features some things from its bigger brother the Qashqai. These include Active Ride and Active Trace Control, the first dabs the breaks to stop bounce over undulations, whilst the latter brakes the inside wheel to stop understeer.
Inside our Micra was a sea of orange, it’s a personalisation pack and although it brightens the interior it won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Interior quality is on the harder, scratchier side. Whilst all the switch gear and touch points feel premium the doors and surrounding dash plastics are a little on the cheap side. You’ll also find manual windows in the rear, which has to be a joke on a car costing over 20k.
Infotainment is lacking Android Auto or Apple CarPlay but there is a smartphone app for integration as well as some built in apps on the system. The 7-inch screen is clear, with menus easy to navigate and there’s a rear view camera with parking sensors too.
Being range topping TEKNA trim the drivers’ headrest is fitted with the BOSE Personal Audio Pack. It features 2 speakers either side and aims to provide an ‘unparalleled 360⁰ listening experience’.
Sound quality is pretty good, but it still feels like it’s lacking something. Even though there’s four other speakers dotted around the car, there’s a depth that seems missing.
Rear seat headroom is pinched, adults would be thankful of shorter journeys, but kids will fit no problem.
Boot space is pretty decent at 300 litres, although there is quite a big lip to negotiate first.
Nissan have finally hit the nail on the head. The Micra now appeals to a far wider audience than it ever has. Granted, it may now be a more generic hatch in a sea of generic hatches, but those taught angular looks are a godsend compared to the bubbly things of yesteryear.
Our test car was scarily priced at £19,370 with nearly £1,500 of options added to the top-level trim.
Ideally aim for at least Acenta trim, this has some of the creature comforts and snazzy exterior bits like alloys and body matching mirrors. It also comes with Apple CarPlay, but still no Android Auto. One of those will set you back a more palatable £15,415