What is it?
This is Micra with a mission, built to meet the needs of many more markets than the last – 160 in all – which is why it’s less distinctively realised than the previous, UK-built K12 edition.
This is our first chance to try this Indian-built, global car on European roads, where it has been part-honed for by Nissan’s Cranfield engineering centre. Our test variant is equipped a 1.2-litre petrol 5dr.
What’s it like?
The good news first – the all-new, three-cylinder motor is a smooth spinner and unlike most of the breed, idles with barely a tremor.
Its 115g/km of CO2 and 56.5mpg are competitive too, especially for the entry-price, but it’s short of the eager zip of Suzuki’s new four cylinder 1.2 Swift engine.
The new (and conventional) suspension, mounted in a lighter, stiffer shell, rides decently enough, but mildly charging some damp Danish roundabouts had the front-end slithering like a landing duck on ice.
The electrically assisted steering may be better than some, but this Micra is not a car whose dynamics entertain. Instead, it’s better on practicalities. There’s more room in the rear, the boot is adequate, properly-folding rear seats provide a big, flat-floored loadspace and there’s plenty of in-cabin storage, including a well beneath a lift-up cushion in the front passenger seat.
Excellent, affordably-priced sat nav, sensors that reveal whether a parking space is Micra-sized and slender A-pillars make this an easier machine to man-handle. Less clever is an absent power socket.
Should I buy one?
Well, it’s keenly priced, well-equipped and will be cheap to run. But after the style of Nissan’s Qashqai and Juke, it’s easy to feel disappointed.
Next to the outgoing Micra this version looks older, boldness traded for lower common denominator global appeal – it lacks the visual (and dynamic) verve of a Swift or a Fiesta, and the smooth three-cylinder doesn’t compensate for its average dynamics and dull style.