Review: Nissan Micra (2010 – 2016)
Low emissions and fuel consumption from 1.2-litre engine. Roomy and seats five. Decent value for money. Bluetooth as standard.
Not as much hip and shoulder room as headroom. Interior feels cheap. Unexciting to drive. Air con not standard on Visia. Clutch failures common.
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Nissan Micra (2010 – 2016): At A Glance
The little Nissan Micra is one of the best known small cars on the road and its popularity has always been down to its reliability, impressive safety and the fact that it is easy to drive. Fun hasn't often been on the agenda and it's fair to say the 'cute' looks of the last Micra appealed more to women than men, while it was hardly a car for the style-conscious driver either.
So you might be expecting something radical from the all-new Micra, especially as Nissan says it wants this version to appeal to a wider audience with a more masculine look. Perhaps that's why it looks more generic than its predecessor and why parked side by side, it's the previous Micra which still stands out. It doesn't seem like much of a step forward, especially when many other small cars, like the new Citroen C3 for example, are as good value but much more distinctive.
It is 'all-new' however with a longer overall length and longer wheelbase, meaning easier access to the back seats. It also has a very tight turning circle making tricky manoeuvres in town simple. Refinement is another area that's been improved, helped by a brand new 80PS 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine designed to reduce vibrations at idle.
On the road the Micra is easy to drive but there's little in the way of enjoyment and it lacks the sparkle of other small hatchbacks like the latest Suzuki Swift. The interior is a bit of a letdown too. It's not as neatly laid out or as stylish as the cabin in the previous Micra while the quality is lacking in certain areas. This may be explained by the fact the Micra is a 'global' car for Nissan and will be made in four different regions (China, Thailand, Mexico and India) and sold in 160 markets, so the quality of all cars has to be consistent. But compared to its rivals, the new Micra lacks sophistication.
What does a Nissan Micra (2010 – 2016) cost?
Nissan Micra (2010 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?
The Micra body has a long wheelbase with compact suspension and a new fuel tank design which means better legroom both for those in the front and the back. It’s tall at the back too (helped by a rather unusual roof line which rises again at the rear) with funnelled shoulders which offers both excellent rear headroom and a low drag factor too, so there's little wind noise on the move.
Nissan has tried to inject some style into the rather plain interior with features such as the bold circular air conditioning controls in the middle of the dash and the neat looking steering wheel, but apart from that it's pretty ordinary.
However, comfort is good with decent seats and good adjustment in the driver's seat which is height adjustable on Acenta and Tekna models. These models also come with useful 60/40 split folding rear seats compared to a fixed fold down seat in the entry-level Visia version.
Compared to the previous Micra not only is the layout plain and uninspiring, but the quality of the materials used seems to have taken a backward step too. The finish is as still good and it feels well built, but many of the plastics used - such as the on the dash and door tops - feels scratchy and not very pleasant to touch. Where other small cars offer a stylish look or maybe a sporty appearance, the Micra does neither - it's about as middle of the road as you can get.
On the plus side, there's plenty of storage places on board including good-sized door pockets and a twin-level glovebox. The boot is a competitive 265 litres total capacity which is slightly larger than a Toyota Yaris and more than the previous Micra and although there's a fairly high boot lip, the load floor itself is wide.
Standard equipment from launch (December 2010):
Visia models have ESP, six airbags, a CD stereo with an auxiliary socket, Bluetooth and electric power steering.
Acenta is the most popular model and gets 15-inch alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control with a speed limiter, 60/40 split folding and tumble rear seats, front fog lights and driver's seat heigh adjustment.
Tekna is the top trim level and gets a glass roof, automatic headlmaps, rain sensitive wipers, electric folding door mirrors, a trip computer, rear parking sensors, a parking space measurement and Nissan Connect (an integrated sat nav system which is fitted to the car pictured above).
Child seats that fit a Nissan Micra (2010 – 2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Nissan Micra (2010 – 2016) like to drive?
The Micra is available with just one engine - a newly designed three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol. The little unit boasts a respectable 80PS which is fine around town, but does feel strained at higher speeds and isn't especially perky like other three-cylinder units. However, it's efficient with emissions of 115g/km and claimed economy of 58.9mpg. That's with the manual gearbox which is a tad notchy so it's a lot happier when not being rushed.
With just 110Nm of torque the engine can struggle to gain pace, especially if there's a few of you plus luggage on board, so joining a fast-flowing dual carriageway takes a bit of extra planning. The engine is quiet enough at low speeds, but noisy when revved and can get tiring at constant higher speeds, although to be fair, this is hardly the Micra's natural environment.
It's much happier in town thanks to its light steering and tight turning circle, so parking in small parallel bays is easy, helped by good all round visibility and narrow(ish) windscreen pillars. The brakes are pretty responsive at lower speeds and it rides well over potholes and speed bumps too.
On the open road the Micra is no sportscar. Despite the suspension and steering being tuned for the Europe, show it a few (fairly gentle) corners and press-on drivers realise that the suspension is too soft and the steering is devoid of feel, while any attempted fierce acceleration results in an anguished howl from the engine. And if you're hard on the brakes, for instance in an emergency stop, it feels very light at the back.
As well as the standard manual gearbox there's an optional CVT automatic (a £950 extra) which is the same gearbox used in the Nissan Juke. However, it seems to sap the 1.2-litre engine of the small amount of power it does possess and holds high revs whenever you accelerate, which is noisy and annoying, especially as you don't seem to be gaining much in the way of speed. 0-62mph takes a leisurely 13.7 seconds. It's best avoided.
2011 saw a supercharged version of the 1.2-litre engine added to the range. With 99bhp and 142Nm of torque, it gives the Micra some get-up-and-go but most impressively, thanks to an engine stop/start system, emissions actually drop to just 95g/km of CO2 with claimed economy of 68.9mpg.
|1.2||57 mpg||13.2–13.7 s||115 g/km|
|1.2 Automatic||52 mpg||14.0–14.5 s||115–125 g/km|
|1.2 DIG-S||66–69 mpg||10.9–11.3 s||95–99 g/km|
|1.2 DIG-S Automatic||57 mpg||11.5–11.9 s||115 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Nissan Micra (2010 – 2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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What do owners think?
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