By on 2016-03-16 -
Nissan Micra a
THE small car market is packed with good cars these days, and of course, the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa lead the pack in terms of sales.
But the smallest engines in both of them, which bring the lowest road tax, emissions and insurance, can't match up to the 1.2 in the slightly smaller and cheaper Nissan Micra.
In the used car market this smallest Nissan is a good budget buy although without a great deal of soundproofing, so that it is fairly noisy out on the road.
There are two versions of the same engine to choose from and the higher powered Dig-S is supercharged to produce a decent 98bhp. But oddly, its also the most economical and has the lowest emissions.
Drive is via the front wheels, through a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT automatic. The manual is the best choice, because the automatic is noisy and wearing in on longer runs.
Performance in the standard models is adequate, but much better in the Dig-S, which has a lot more power. Both engines are smooth and reasonably quiet.
Sadly its not the best supermini or city car to drive by quite a margin. There's a lot of body roll in the corners, which does not instill confidence. Grip and road-holding are good but the power steering is too light at speed.
The level of comfort is fair, but the suspension struggles to handle poorer surfaces and, sadly, we now have far too many of them, don't we.
Nissan has a hard won reputation for build quality but although it's said to last well, the Micra has too much cheap plastic around the cabin to compare with the best.
Parking and in-town manoeuvres are very easy, thanks to a good turning circle and short length, but rear legroom is pretty tight.
Mid range Acenta spec is the one to go for, because cheaper models have little kit. It comes with cruise, electric mirrors and front windows, climate, MP3 stereo, alloys, bluetooth, 60/40 split rear seat and traction and stability control.
Price:Pay about £3,700 for an '11 11-reg Visia, or £5,800 for a '14 14-reg Acenta
Mechanical: 78bhp, 1,198cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
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