You may be wondering why a model from 2017 has been given an update so soon after its introduction. Well, Nissan has listened to customers who wanted more powerful options and an automatic transmission, and has given its Micra a small update.
Nissan has also given the Micra a new trim level – N-Sport – and a much improved version of its NissanConnect infotainment system to help make it a more credible option in the competitive supermini market.
We get behind the wheel of the updated Micra to see where the upgrades were worth it and if the Micra can be a good alternative to cars like the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta.
This is where the Micra has received its biggest update, as two new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines have joined the 1.0-litre non-turbo petrol and 1.5-litre diesel unit. Available in 99bhp and 116bhp guises to replace the old and sluggish 0.9-litre unit, the top-end version is described as a ‘warm hatch’ by Nissan and features a six-speed manual transmission – although it doesn’t offer that much enhanced performance over the lower-powered version. The unit is able to get the Micra from 0-60mph in a shade under 10 seconds and allows it to reach a top speed of 121mph.
The 99bhp engine can be paired to either a five-speed manual or a CVT – with the latter providing a very smooth drive that doesn’t allow the engine to over-rev under acceleration. However, it is more efficient when paired to the five-speed manual and also produces less emissions.
Ride & Handling
With the 116bhp engine, Nissan provides the Micra with 17-inch alloy wheels, quicker steering and lowered sports suspension as part of the N-Sport trim level. These upgrades help the Micra feel nimbler and capable of nipping in and out of city streets without much hassle – and actually feels better to drive than the rivaling Volkswagen Polo.
For the 99bhp version, Nissan keeps the standard setup which allows for more lean through the corners, but offers a more comfortable ride that makes it one of the most cossetted in the supermini segment. With the regular suspension and steering setup, we were able to find plenty of grip and it felt as responsive as many of its major rivals.See Available Micra deals
Interior & Equipment
Almost nothing has been altered with the Micra’s interior with this minor update – but that isn’t a bad thing, as the design is sharp and is one of the best-looking cabins in its field. Although space isn’t class-leading, it is more than good enough for passengers to get comfortable and it can be customised with bright colours to make it even more appealing.
The 300-litre boot space is the same as before, while the split rear seats can be folded down to offer just over 1,000 litres of storage space when needed.
The new N-Sport trim slots into the middle of trim line-up and comes with a series of sporty upgrades, such as carbon-effect 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, leather and Alcantara seats and N-Sport badging – as well as a rear view camera and parking sensors, keyless start and folding heated wing mirrors.
The other major addition to the Micra is the new NissanConnect infotainment system, which is fitted from the Acenta trim level and comes with a seven-inch touchscreen, smartphone connectivity and connection to the NissanConnect Door to Door mobile application, which allows drivers to find their car, plan a journey and send it to the navigation system, and also receive map updates. The sat-nav is powered by TomTom, which offers real-time traffic updates.
As before, prices for the Micra start at £12,875, which is the right ballpark for most vehicles of this size. With the introduction of the N-Sport trim, the less powerful 99bhp option starts from £17,935, while the ‘warm hatch’ 116bhp offering starts from £19,005 – which when compared to the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and Volkswagen Polo R-Line is a bit more expensive.
The new 99bhp petrol is quoted to return 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions up to 105g/km – while the more powerful 116bhp option can return a combined 47.9mpg and 114g/km CO2.
Compared to the 0.9-litre engines they replace, the new turbo petrols offer a marked improvement in terms of performance and refinement, and help the Micra feel like a better alternative in a market dominated by the Ford Fiesta. Although it can be less enthralling and refined to drive as its better-selling rivals, the sharp styling and impressive equipment levels help to keep the Nissan in the running – and if you choose the CVT offering, you could be driving one of the best city cars currently available.