Nissan Micra Hatchback 2003 - 2010

Nissan Micra Hatchback 2003 - 2010

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Good diesel engines
  • Easy to park
  • Lots of safety kit

Cons:

  • Rear seats are a squeeze
  • Small boot space
  • Batteries can suddenly go flat

Overview

Nissan, a leading Japanese car manufacturer, introduced the third generation Micra in the early 2002 and it came with a lot of improvements and modifications compared to older models. The new looks may not be to everyone's taste but it comes well equipped with lots of equipment and safety features. It is the perfect car for new drivers with its cheap insurance, good fuel efficiency and nippy engines and is surprisingly good on motorways and long distance drives.

Exterior and Interior

The Micra has been restyled from its predecessor and although the looks might not be as eye catching and youthful as say the Mazda 2, it's still not a bad looking car. The interior is quite neat inside too with the dashboard being laid out in a logical and easy to use way with all the main controls being situated in the middle of it making them easy for the driver to reach. The top models also come with backlit switches which adds just that little bit extra class to an otherwise fairly standard interior. They are fairly comfortable especially when driving around town. However, on longer journeys they may become uncomfortable due to their lack of real support. The adjustable driving wheel and seat make it very easy for the driver to find their optimum driving position. The space in the front is quite good for such a small car but taller passengers may find the back seat a little cramped especially the headroom due to the Micra's sloping roof at the rear. The boot isn't the largest either with the Peugeot 207 coming with more room. However, its 251litres should be big enough for your weekly shop. There is also the option to increase the boot space by sliding the back seat forward by 20cm but this cancels out the legroom for backseat passengers. The rear seats also split fold giving the option of that extra room for bulkier items. Although the Micra has small dimensions it does feel lighter and bigger on the inside especially if you get the five door instead of the three.

Performance and Economy

All of the Micra's engines perform fairly well with the exception of the 1.0-litre petrol which feels underpowered, especially when you leave the confines of a town. As a result the 64bhp engine was dropped in 2005. The 1.2-litre is a good engine for mainly being used around town and is capable of handling short motorway journeys. However, if a large portion of your driving is going to be on motorways then the 1.4-litre with its 84bhp is a better car. The top of the range 1.6-litre is also a good car and although it isn't the fastest little hatch around, it is easy to get to the power you do have making town driving quick and effortless. If it's fuel efficiency that you are looking for then the two diesels are outstanding. The more powerful engine with 82bhp is the better of the two engines as it drives exceedingly well both in town and takes motorways in its stride with a smooth and refined ride, but also offers the same 61mpg as the smaller 65bhp engine. The insurance is pretty good too starting in group two and going up to group six for the larger 1.6-litre engine.

Like to Drive

The Nissan Micra is surprisingly fun to drive with the eager and nippy engines providing enough power to handle most situations. The large windows also provide you with good all-round visibility. The steering feels light and accurate, making it exceedingly easy to park and with its smooth quick gear changes it is fun to drive. The driving position is comfortable, however on long journeys you will probably have to keep shifting around as the lack of proper support may be uncomfortable. There is some body roll in the corners when taken at speed, but that is to be expected as it is built more for comfort than speed. The suspension is good at smoothing out most of the bumps and improves at higher speeds as well. The cabin does let in quite a lot of engine, road and wind noise though which may annoy some owners.

Faults and Repairs

The Micra is a fairly solid vehicle, but there have been some reported problems. The most common complaint is with the battery suddenly going flat. This is easily fixed though once you know what electrical faults caused it. The diesel engines have also had a few problems with them occasionally blowing up. The final thing is misaligned suspension which leads to you hearing a clonk when the wheels are on full lock. The repair and service costs are quite expensive with Nissan coming in quite close to the top of the pack with only the Renault Clio costing about the same.