Given everything we’ve said about the Nissan Micra so far, we suspect you won’t so much as raise an eyebrow when we tell you that Nissan seems to have optimised the latest Micra towards the ‘ride’ rather than the ‘handling’ side of things. That’s certainly been the case with previous Micras and nothing seems to have changed that approach.
Despite the Micra’s global reach, Nissan’s technical centre at Cranfield has been heavily involved in making this car’s dynamics work for Europe in general, and the UK in particular.
Our ideal supermini has a chassis that’s supple enough for town driving yet retains decent control of its body movements as speeds rise or road inputs become more demanding. At the moment, the benchmark for us is the Ford Fiesta – a high-water mark that the Micra doesn’t trouble. We have already driven the fifth generation Micra in prototype form, and already we believe that it is dynamically better than the one we are reviewing here, which indicates how serious Nissan are on disrupting the monopoly created by the Polo and the Fiesta.
It covers the low-speed stuff well enough, offering a smooth urban ride that is unaffected by lumps and bumps like most things in the class. Its electrically assisted steering is light, as most buyers will demand, and although it lacks the oily slickness and response of the better electric racks, it proves accurate enough.
Raise the speed and you challenge a few of the Micra’s facets. The first is noise – the Micra isn’t an overly refined car – and the second is its driving dynamics. We wouldn’t expect the Micra to be any kind of driver’s car, but there are superminis out there, even inexpensive ones like the Suzuki Swift and Skoda Fabia, which maintain a broader level of capability at all speeds than the Micra, whose primary interest is at the slower end of the scale.