Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Cheap to buy and run
- Cheap to buy and run
The Nissan Micra is a surprisingly enjoyable car with its small peppy engines providing you with an enjoyable driving experience. The steering is light and accurate; and with revised models having appeared in 1998, the body control and overall ride quality was improved substantially. The interior is just as good with enough space for four adults to sit in relative comfort, more so in the front. The Nissan Micra comes with plenty of equipment, especially in the later models when Nissan started throwing more and more in as standard.
Exterior and Interior
The Nissan Micra is a good-looking car in a compact and curvy sort of way. It comes as either a five or three-door hatchback. There is plenty of head and legroom at the front for the passenger and occupants. At the back seat the passengers receive slightly less space, but enough to be comfortable â€“ on short journeys anyway. The seats are all comfortable and supportive and the cabin is surprisingly airy for such a small car. The boot is small but that’s to be expected in a car of this size. Nevertheless, it can hold a week’s shopping easily enough. The interior trim is starting to look a bit dated now, but everything is well laid out and feels well-assembled.
As for choosing a trim, the SE+ and Mystique offer the best all-round kit. However, the newer the model the more kit you are likely to get. Nissan is starting to put plenty of kit into the middle-range trim levels during the last year of production with them costing no more than the standard trim level did a year before.
Performance and Economy
All three engines offer superb fuel economy with the 1.0-litre engine being the most frugal with 47mpg. It is closely followed by the 1.3-litre and 1.4-litre engines with both achieving the same 46mpg. The 1.0-litre unit makes the Nissan Micra a good little city runabout, but with only 60bhp it’s not very powerful, making motorway journeys a testing time. It takes 15 seconds to get to 60mph. The 1.3-litre and 1.4-litre have improved performance over the 1.0-litre with both of them being almost identical, despite the 1.4-litre version having more horses under the bonnet. They go from 0-60mph in 11.6 and 11.5 seconds respectively and are both just as refined as one another, so it really comes down to which one you’d prefer.
As for insuring it, the Nissan Micra is never going to break the bank, no matter which engine you opt for, insurance groups ranging between 3 and 5.
Like to Drive
The Micra is easy and fun to drive with the steering and handling both accurate and safe. They all feel nippy around town. Pre-1996 models will suffer from body roll, but the fitting of roll bars in 1996 cured that problem. The driving position is good with clear all-round views and an adjustable steering wheel and front seat that should allow you to find a comfortable driving position. The tall and lightweight body of the Micra does mean that it can be affected by strong crosswinds, though.
Faults and Repairs
The Micra is extremely reliable and it’s only those models that have suffered poor maintenance over the years that cause any problems. The main ones to look out for involve the timing chain that can get damaged if the oil isn’t changed regularly. Occasional rattling can be heard from the top of the engine at idle speed. It points out to the fact that the chain tensioner needs replacing, which will prove costly to fix. Other less serious problems are corroded brake discs along with worn bushes that are usually signalled by the suspension knocking. Both are cheap and easy to fix. Rust on the front chassis cross member, though, is not a good sign so it’s best just to walk away from a car with any serious signs of rust.
Servicing costs are generally cheap. Any good garage should be able to carry out the usual tasks. Spares are also fairly easy to come by and are usually cheaper than those of its rivals.