Latest report: Nissan Micra long-term test
02 March 2018
Author: Sean Keywood
|Nissan Micra 0.9IG-T 90 N-Connecta|
|P11D price:|| £16,360|
|As tested:|| £18,740|
|Official consumption:|| 64.2mpg|
|Our average consumption:|| 38mpg|
2nd Report - Sitting comfortably
The first time I drove the Micra, I was forced to pull over within a few miles and investigate something moving around in the driver footwell. I feared a loose object was at risk of interfering with the pedals, but the culprit turned out to be the floor mat, which is only fixed in place at the back, and on our car was curling up at the front, where it was being flicked up when the clutch pedal was depressed. It was annoying - and more than a little disconcerting, so near the brake pedal.
An inauspicious start for the Micra then, but fortunately things have since improved greatly. On my regular motorway-heavy commute, I've been particularly impressed by the seats.
Nissan is keen to talk up the optional Bose speakers mounted in the driver's headrest, but more important to me, in this case, is just how comfortable and supportive they are. Combined with a decent ride quality, they make the Micra a surprisingly relaxing way to travel home after a long day at the office. This is also aided by the blind-spot warning system included as an option with the car, which helps reduce stress in heavy traffic.
The 0.9-litre engine's not overwhelmed by motorways either. You do need to hold the lower gears in the five-speed manual gearbox a bit longer to get up to speed, but you get a fun little three-cylinder engine note while doing so. Once you're at a cruising speed, while we might like a sixth gear to save fuel, it isn't noisy.
The only minor quibble I have from a comfort point of view is the lack of a front armrest, which I do miss when stuck in jams. This also means there's no centre storage compartment, although you do get three central cupholders, making the Micra an ideal car of choice for a team coffee run.
1st Report - Is orange the new black?
Entering Europe in 1983, the Nissan Micra has been winning over fans for almost 35 years in the UK. During that time, there have been five generations of the supermini, but it's fair to say that none have been quite as significant as this latest version launched last year.
The previous Micra was something of a characterful and niche choice, more akin to the Fiat 500 in terms of its appeal and styling, but now Nissan is taking the supermini mainstream to challenge the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Seat Ibiza.
Bold styling cues, a significant growth spurt and the latest modern tech were just some of the headline changes introduced in 2017, and early impressions left us very impressed indeed, awarding the new Micra 9/10 when we drove the car for the first time 12 months ago.
Available as a five-door only, it's not just the styling department in which the new Micra really impresses. This fifth-generation model is much larger than its predecessor, especially in the rear, and boot space has grown significantly to 300 litres, easily on a par with the sector's big hitters like the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta.
There's a choice of four trims and our latest long-termer has been spec'd in popular mid-range N-Connecta. There's also a lot of safety kit on board, including lane-departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam, all useful features that are rarely seen as part of standard specification in this class. There's plenty of modern technology, including Apple CarPlay, a 7in infotainment system with sat-nav, cruise control and LED daytime running lights.
Also included with our test car is just over £2,300 worth of options that we're looking forward to testing thoroughly over the next three months. For music lovers, there is the Bose Audio Personal Pack for £500 that includes four Bose speakers and two driver headrest speakers. The Vision+ Pack seems very reasonable for £600, incorporating the firm's 360° camera seen elsewhere on the Qashqai and X-Trail, a moving object detection system and blind-spot monitoring.
Helping to brighten up the interior is the Energy Orange Interior Pack for £400 that adds a splash of colour to the dash inserts, the transmission tunnel and the seats. The choice of interior colour pack needs to match that of the exterior paintwork, though, which in our case costs an extra £575.
The Energy Orange Metallic paintwork has already divided opinion in my household and I'm sure it'll do the same in the rest of the team. One thing is for sure though, it'll definitely catch people's attention.
You've only got three choices of engine for the Micra: two petrol and one diesel. It's this turbocharged 0.9-litre that is expected to take a large proportion of sales and hits the sweet spot in terms of versatility, price and running costs.
According to NEDC cycle tests, the 0.9-litre petrol achieved 64.2mpg combined during its round of testing and emits 99g/km of CO2, meaning an 18% BIK tax band for the current 2017-18 year. Meanwhile, the 0-62mph sprint is achieved in 12.1 seconds courtesy of the 90hp and 150Nm of torque on offer, which is perhaps not quite as impressive.
The Micra is geared more towards comfort than sporting agility and we're looking forward to finding out how this engine fares across all types of roads in the weeks to come. Although naturally at home in the city, this engine, on paper at least, appears to be the best choice for motorway slogs - a theory we will definitely be putting to the test.