- Cheap to run
- Great reliability record
- Easy to drive around town
- Not as fun to drive as rivals
- Poor refinement
- Interior quality disappointing
Nissan’s long-running hatchback is solid, but unspectacular
The Nissan Micra is one of the Japanese manufacturer’s longest running production cars. First introduced in 1982, the Micra has been one of the most popular small hatchbacks in Britain. Famed for their reliability, and criticised for their dullness, the Micra is still one of the most common sights on British roads. Today the Micra faces stiff competition in an incredibly crowded sector. With the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo dominating the market, the Micra doesn’t quite match their standards. Nevertheless, it offers buyers great value, as well as a reliability record that few manufacturers can match.
The latest fourth generation Micra featured a complete overhaul from the third generation, updating the exterior, adding more efficient engines, overhauling the chassis, and modernizing the interior design.
Good build quality but lacking in storage space
Compared to a lot of its rivals, the Nissan Micra is lacking somewhat in storage space. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of room inside for four people, and the cabin is well constructed, though cheap materials are used in some places.
The dashboard of the Micra is much improved over the previous model. The design feels much more contemporary, but it’s let down by the quality of materials on show. There’s very little in the way of soft-touch plastics, with cheaper harder plastics used, but it’s all solidly built. It’s certainly not luxurious, but it looks pleasant, and it’s built to last. For a car that costs so little, that’s a bonus.
Space wise the Micra is much smaller than the majority of its rivals. With 265 litres of boot space, you’re going to get a lot less than you would in a Skoda Fabia (330 litres), a Hyundai i20 (326 litres), or even the Dacia Sandero (320 litres). There’s still enough room for shopping, and even a buggy, but it’s some way from being the biggest in its class.
Spec levels in the Micra are pretty decent, so long as you avoid the entry level trim. Cars in the Visia guise don’t come with a lot of kit, so it’s worth considering the slightly more expensive Acenta, which comes with alloy wheels, air-con, cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, and Bluetooth connectivity. That’s probably going to be enough for most drivers, but if it’s luxury that you’re after, the top of the range Tekna trim adds sat-nav, parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers.
All in all the inside of the Micra is pretty well constructed. Ok, the materials on show aren’t the finest, but it’s all well built, and the Micra is a cheap car to buy. Space isn’t the best either, though there’s value to be had with kit, so long as you avoid the entry-level trim.
Composed but not much fun
For a small hatchback, the Nissan Micra isn’t much fun to drive around town, or on the motorways. This makes the Micra a great option for parents buying their kids their first car. It’s composed and easy to drive, though it won’t give them too many reasons to push their luck.
Around town the Micra is a very easy car to drive. Steering is light, which makes weaving through traffic, and parking a doddle. There’s also plenty of grip at low speeds, so you shouldn’t be sliding around on rough surfaces too much. Take the Micra up to higher speeds however and the steering loses grip, especially in sharp corners. It’s not particularly responsive at all, but it’ll at least discourage some drivers from putting too much focus on the accelerator.
Suspension and Chassis
Ride refinement is similarly suited to the city. The soft suspension and chassis are fine around town, coping with potholes and rough surfaces without too much of a fuss, though the very worst of surfaces can become a little jumpy. The Micra also produces a lot of body roll at high speeds, which makes country road cornering a little wavy. Motorway driving brings a lot of road and wind noise in the cabin, making long journeys unpleasant.
Gearbox options in the Micra come in two guises. The standard gearbox throughout the range is a 5-speed manual box that’s suited well to around town, though you’ll wish you had a sixth gear on the motorway. There’s also a CVT automatic option, which can be a little bit on the noisy side, as well as reducing fuel efficiency.
3 cylinder petrols only
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Micra, you’ve only got the one option: petrol. It’s disappointing to see that Nissan hasn’t at least offered a diesel, but the petrol engines on offer do at least provide good fuel efficiency and C02 emissions.
If it’s power that you want from your Micra, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the engines on offer. The fastest engine in the range is the power boosted 1.2 litre DiG-S. This produces 98bhp, and will get you from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds. It’s a pretty slow car, but it’s got enough power to get you around the city at least, and for first time drivers, it’s ideal.
For the eco-conscious buyer, the Micra is an impressive car to consider. The greenest spec in the range is the 1.2 DiG-S Visia [AC] which produces just 95g/km of C02 emissions. That’s enough to get you free road tax, whilst also helping to save the planet. This option also happens to be the most economical to run in the range. With up to 68.9mpg on offer, this 3-cylinder block will save you even more money at the petrol pumps.
Whichever option you choose to go for in your Micra, it’s going to be a 3-cylinder 1.2 litre petrol engine. C02 emissions, fuel consumption, and speed differ slightly depending on what spec you go for, though not by much. The Micra is a fuel efficient, green, if slightly dull car.
Not quite as impressive as some competitors
With a lot of superminis now achieving the maximum 5-star NCAP safety rating, it’s a little disappointing to see that the Micra only achieved four stars. Nevertheless, with scores of 84% in adult protection, 79% in child protection, and 58% in pedestrian safety, it’s not too far off the mark. Plus you also get the usual array of airbags as standard, as well as stability control, and emergency brake assist. It’s not the safest car in its class, but there’s enough equipment to keep you from harm in the first place.
Excellent value for money, so long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Nissan Micra offers drivers impressive value for money. Throughout the Micra range fuel consumption figures are kept high, no matter which option you choose to go for, and all but a couple of Micra’s have sub 100g/km of C02 emissions. This means that you won’t be spending too much money at the petrol pumps, and you’ll be paying little-to-no road tax.
Insurance wise, the Micra is a great option for those who don’t want to fork out too much every year. The entire range sits in the lower insurance groups, with the cheapest option being the lower powered 1.2 Visia. The Micra a great option for young, first time drivers.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Micra. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Nissan Micra is a supermini that’s solid, but unspectacular. It doesn’t really excel in any area, though it’s cheap to run, reliable, and well built. It’ll disappoint experienced drivers, but with such cheap insurance and running costs, it’s a great car for first time drivers.
Buying a used Nissan Micra online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Nissan Micra for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Micra. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Nissan Micra online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Micra? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Nissan Micra, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Micra, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Nissan to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.