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Unrecognisable new Micra

Created on 13/07/2018 @ 20:32
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Ten years ago it was no easy task convincing a team of reporters and advertising sales staff why their Fiesta was being switched for a Nissan Micra. Today it would be a snip.

Back then one member of staff described the Micra as a “box on wheels” – how I’d like to track him down now and introduce him to the sharp and sporty design which makes the car unrecognisable from previous incarnations.

The real reason for change back then was purely financial of course but today it’s a completely different story with the Micra a genuine alternative to Citroen C3, Ford Fiesta, SEAT, Toyota Yaris, Suzuki Swift and even Volkswagen Polo.

With an on-the-road price of just under £17,000 the Micra N-Connecta on test came with a 0.9litre engine powering a five-speed manual gearbox and stand-out looks. It was even a bit hard to believe it really was a Micra, such are the design changes.

New Micra gets the last car's running gear but it has been completely updated with cutting-edge electronic technology taken from Qashqai and coupled with a much sportier look offers something completely different.

There are five trim levels available fromflagship Tenka through N-Connecta, Accenta, Visia+ and Visia. DCi Diesel is the only engine available on all five models while the 1.0litre petrol only comes in Visia, Visia+ and Acenta trim.

All models get Bluetooth as standard, as well as automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning system. Air-con and stop-start tech feature on Visia+ cars, while alloy wheels, smartphone connectivity and a seven-inch touchscreen make an appearance on the mid-range Acenta and above.

On the N-Connecta were heated mirrors and an upgraded infotainment system, advanced drive assist display and Nissan Connect 7inch touchscreen navigation and entertainment system.

The Micra looked the part on 16inch alloys with body coloured door mirrors and handles, concealed rear door handles, rear privacy glass and a rear roof spoiler.

Inside the Micra is simply unrecognisable from the basic models I once forced on an unsuspecting staff with interior chrome door handles, leather steering wheel, LED ambient lighting, modern black cloth trim, silver decorations and a soft-touch dash.

There’s also plenty of storage space, height adjustable steering column, split folding rear seats, a stop-start system front fogs, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and rain-sensing wipers.

It’s a safer car to drive now too with all-round curtain airbags, hill start assist, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, ride control, speed limiter, road sign recognition and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The Micra still doesn’t quite as well as some of the other superminis on the market but it is certainly an economical option.

You might not expect much from the 0.9 unit but there’s a shock in store with a top speed of 109mph, 0-62mph in 12.1 seconds and combined fuel consumption figures of 64.2mpg. CO2 emission figures are just 99g/km

One of the leading company car magazines branded the Micra as supermini of the year thanks to technology levels which are not only new to this Nissan but also to the segment.

The test car got a vision pack, intelligent key system, a Bose personal audio pack and a bright orange interior personalisation pack to push the price up to £18,740.

It’s just not the Nissan Micra we have come to know.

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