SUVs it’s time to pull over for a moment. It now appears small cars are in the limelight once again. Nissan has been quietly re-inventing and has now launched the All-New Micra the global supermini that has been a relative success is now back sportier, bigger and better than before.
Jonathan Humphrey was in snowy Dubrovnik at the International launch of the pretty likeable All-New Micra.
Nissan is drop kicking this Supermini right into the heartland of the small supermini, AKA – B-hatchback segment. With the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio reigning supreme firmly in its sights. Available from March, this marks the first of many upgrades of small cars in this class this year, notable also will be the superb New Fiesta in four models.
Micra has been with us since 1983 and this is now its fifth iteration. After some years of cars that didn’t quite cut La moutarde for our discerning European tastes. Global cars, ok maybe the idea was good but, the markets needs differ wildly. Did you know in some areas of the world they actually like hard plastic…? Europeans or closer to home, for it or against it, Brexiteers want a fabulous drive, softer touch materials tactile finishes, tech and connectivity. Over four years this attractive new model has been conceived, designed, and thoroughly tested in Europe and is now even built in France. It now is ready to make its mark on this significant segment which accounts for 20 percent of car sales.
Like many small cars and mentioning no names the new Micra may now stretch the lycra on size, it is quite a bit larger than its forerunners, 17.4 cm longer, 7.8cm wider, but a very sporty 55cm lower height.At the launch available to drive were models with all the available variants of powertrain, two petrol engines and one diesel. They all have a slick to use five-speed gearbox; there is no automatic. A hint was made at maybe one day dependent on the market a hybrid may become available. The car is as expected available in Nissan’s five grades Visia, Visia+, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna.
Initially, we drove the 1.5-litre diesel over 80 miles of the rugged Croatian coastline. It was a good first choice to start the day but sadly due to the first heavy snowfall in Dubrovnik in fifteen years I only got to drive the diesel model. On the twisty Croation roads, it rides excellently. Amongst other systems Intelligent ride control and Intelligent trace control are two notable new technologies, automatically adjusting the brakes when cornering to sharpen and optimise the line. The overall height of the car gives it a feel of a more sportier car on the winding roads.
The five-speed gear change was slick. The 1.5 proved to be not perhaps as torquey as I would have hoped to compare similar models in its class. However, I would expect the petrol engines would make the better choice for a supermini anyway. The combined fuel consumption of the diesel is over 80mpg and the petrol models from 55.4 – 64.2 mpg. With CO2 emissions on all cars around 100g/km. Any of the models will prove to be great value and cheap to run.
In the slick presentation at the launch, it was stressed a premium interior was a no brainer for the new model; a must have in the equation. New Micra had to be great to drive, comfortable, roomy, connected and stylish. The All-New Micra has hit the spot. I particularly liked the freshness of the interior, with a choice of four leather look colours for dashboard trim, soft-touch materials and a quality and finish of cars at a higher price.
It’s no longer just okay to have a car without connectivity. A car without connectivity is like January without alcohol, something feels missing. All manufacturers are now competing on stuffing their cars with all manner of advanced connectivity options, safety systems and paraphernalia just to keep us ahead in our digital lifestyles and safe at the same time.Personally, I love all this innovative gubbins, having been battered and bruised in a car accident once, I have a lot of time for all types of in-car safety systems. On the Micra, they included Intelligent Lane Intervention and taken from Nissan’s Qashqai and Juke the popular and 360-degree Around View Monitor camera system. At last, they have been deployed in ways that are less intrusive to the driver; you no longer feel the need to switch them off once they start nagging on a drive. Safety is good; connectivity is good, exceptional in-car sound just makes for driving pleasure.
Another win for the higher spec cars is the Bose personal audio. At the launch, we were all were handed our favourite CDs to hear the difference on the new system. The smart folk at Bose have worked in collaboration with Nissan for over twenty years and on the Micra, a new concept in sound has been introduced. The system only uses two small tweeters; two door mounted bass units and the driver’s headrest to save space and weight. This all makes an adjustable soundstage for the driver; it sounds great, truly is a bonus and worth the £500 cost. In combination with Apple CarPlay, the car connectivity is totally well designed, easy to use and clean looking. Android Auto is to be available at a later date TBC.
All-New Micra is available in twelve and some quite vivid colours, with the addition of customisation kits of stripes, wheels and bodywork bits. There is quite a combo with over 125 variations available. The bold stripe kit on the bonnet and roof won’t be to everyone’s taste but can look pretty good on some colours.
One other thing worth a mention is Nissan are trialling a car ownership plan in Paris where individuals take a part share in a car dependent on their needs for a vehicle. The cost will be an acceptably low monthly payment. Effectively it means you could buy and share a car with your friends, colleagues or neighbours. The concept in principle sounds good, but the workability would be a concern. I am sure we will hear more about it after the trial in Paris.
The range price for the All-New Micra starts at £11995 for the 75ps 1.0 litre petrol in the Visia grade. Top of the range, it can get quite pricey with the Tekna 90ps for £18,645, although it is pretty loaded with tech, sound and safety systems. The mid-range Acenta grade models around £14995 will prove to be the most popular and the standard spec is very good value.
Nissan has more than tried to create an exciting small car that will be unique in this class, after a lot of hard work. Drop kicking this bold New Micra into this highly competitive segment it deserves success.
Car reviewed: All-New Nissan Micra IG-T 90 Tekna – On the road £17,295 0-62mph 12.1 secs Top speed 109mph Fuel Economy combined 61.4mpg CO2 emissions 104g/km Engine 0.9-litre 3cylinder petrol Max Power 88bhp Torque 140Nm Transmission 5-speed Manual
Very smart looking
Refined and quality interior
Safety systems and tech
None to think of
No items found, please search again.