Nissan Micra

The Essentials

  • Price from £9,750
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 65.7mpg
  • What is it? As a cheap runabout the Micra fits the bill, but there are better cars for the money

Great

  • Cheap to buy and run
  • Nippy and easy to manoeuvre around town
  • Standard safety kit is impressive

Gripes

  • Rival superminis are better and quieter to drive
  • Basic models are pared down to the bone
  • Quality inside feels more Budgens than Bulgari
  • Drive

    Peppy around town but under-delivers once you're out on the open road and its noisy

  • Inside

    Excellent visibility assuming you can find a comfortable driving position

  • Safety

    Standard stability control and six airbags but only a four-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests

  • Reliability

    We've no concerns about Nissan's reliability but the cheap plastics are disappointing

  • Space

    Tiny car offers reasonable space but there's a stepped loadbay when you fold the rear seats

  • Standard and extras

    All have Bluetooth, but upgrade from the basic model to get alloys, air-con and seat-height adjustment plus cruise control

  • What's it like to drive?

    The tiny Micra couldn't be easier to drive, or less exciting. It's a decent urban run-around, with light steering and forgiving suspension that soaks up the worst bumps to help keep you comfortable. The tiny dimensions and tight turning circle make it easy to manoeuvre and park, too, but venture beyond the city limits and things are less impressive: there's too much body lean around bends and far too much wind and road noise entering the cabin.
    Most of the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol engine's torque sits at the low end of the rev range, making it responsive and easy to drive. The 97bhp DIG-S model is appreciably quicker, but isn't worth the extra.

  • What's it like inside?

    For a small supermini there's a reasonable amount of space inside - two adults plus two children will fit comfortably, providing they're travelling light. The boot is moderately sized (if smaller than that of the rival Hyundai i20), but at least the rear seats fold and tumble forwards to give you a neat, flat loadbay if you've swapped the kids for shopping.
    Getting comfortable may be a challenge for the driver  there's only one-way wheel adjustment and the basic model misses out on seat-height adjustment. Once you're in, visibility out is excellent and the dash is simple to use, if rather dull to look at.

  • How reliable is it?

    The latest Micra was too new to appear in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, but the previous model was rated only average for mechanical reliability.
    Safety kit is good for a supermini, with six airbags, Isofix child seat points and skid-reducing stability control fitted on all models. It only managed a four-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests, however, scoring 84% and 79% for adults and children respectively  the Hyundai i20 (88%/83%) is a safer bet.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Micra's starting price looks tempting, but the entry-level model doesn't have air-con, so you'll either have to add it as an option or scoot up the range a bit. This makes for prices that are very similar to those of the equivalent Hyundai i20 and Suzuki Swift, which in many ways are superior cars.