Nissan Micra 2017 -

First Drive

Nissan Micra, 2017, nose
Nissan Micra, 2017, front
Nissan Micra, 2017, front, action
Nissan Micra, 2017, side, static
Nissan Micra, 2017, rear, action
Nissan Micra, 2017, interior
Nissan Micra, 2017, dashboard
Nissan Micra, 2017, rear seats
Nissan Micra, 2017, engine
Nissan Micra, 2017, boot
Nissan Micra, 2017, console
Nissan Micra, 2017, Bose speakers

WHEN it comes to the big picture only a pigeon gets close to the new Nissan Micra.

A strange comparison but one used by the Nissan development team at the launch of the new - and rather classy - supermini.

Now in its fifth generation, the new Micra will be on the road in March and comes with some class leading technology including automatic emergency braking as standard, a lane departure system that stops the car from straying and a surround view camera system.

Gathering images from the front, back and side of the car it provides the driver with a virtual 360 degree view of what's around and that's handy when manoeuvring.

And as the Nissan team was keen to point out, that field of view is better than any human can manage.

Apparently a cat can see a little more and a pigeon can almost see what's all around but still not as much as the Micra.

Such a device is actually a welcome feature on the new model since rearward vision is compromised by some sizeable back pillars, as is the case on so many little cars these days.

On higher grade Micras the view is backed up with a full colour reversing camera and although the new model is bigger than before it's easy to park - in fact it's easy going all round.

Sharply styled and with all the necessary mod cons on the technology front Nissan is planning on making its new baby a top 10 seller in a market dominated by the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

The new Micra is very much a car for Europe and is built in France alongside the Renault Clio thanks to Nissan's global alliance with the French auto giant.

The previous model came from India after Nissan shifted Micra production away from the UK where it was built at Nissan's Sunderland factory - now home to the top selling Qashqai, Note and Leaf electric vehicle - from 1992 to 2010.

Prices are likely to start from £11,995 when the new Micra arrives and that will be for a 1.0-litre petrol model. A 1.5-litre diesel will also be part of the line up priced from £14,195.

That's competitive but mainstream and the Micra comes into its own in higher specification N Connecta and Tekna trim where the price starts at £15,995.

At this level the Micra is a little limo and the Tekna grade model we tried came with two-tone soft touch leather trim and a seven-inch colour touch screen with a sat nav and ‘infotainment' system that included a high-end Bose Personal audio system complete with surround sound high fidelity speakers mounted in the driver's head rest.

It brings top quality audio to the little car market and overall the entire feel and look of the Micra cockpit is very upmarket.

Decked out in a bright orange paint job, the car we sampled was priced from £17,295 but with extras such as the posh upholstery and heated seats was pushing close to £20,000.

Nissan is pitching contract prices from £169 per month and that is likely to be the route most Micra buyers will take - especially the younger ones who will find the Micra right on trend not only with the bright colour schemes but also with contrasting body panels and decal designs.

The Micra is a good looking five door hatch, comfortable inside and has on par boot space ranging from 300 to 1,004 litres.

Under the bonnet in all but the entry level Visia grade models is also a three cylinder turbo petrol engine which like so many little turbos is sweet as a nut.

It may be only 898cc but it's lively enough and good for a 0 to 60 time of 12.1 seconds, a top speed of 109mph and an official fuel return of 64.2mpg with emissions of 99g/km.

The engine develops 90bhp and gives out a characteristic three pot rasp as it goes through a five speed manual box.

Handling is nicely agile for a car of this ilk and that's helped by what Nissan calls ‘intelligent' ride and trace controls which use electronics to help the ride and grip.

In fact it showed considerable potential for sporty development such is the feel from the suspension and steering feedback.

Overall we saw an average of 38.2mpg rom thetiny turbo and while the 1.5-litre diesel Micra is more economical rated at 88.3mpg with a CO2 figure down to 85g/km, it does cost £1,350 more so only high mileage users will benefit.

The Micra has been a mainstay of the British motoring scene since the original first arrived back in 1983 and over that time has clocked up more than a million UK sales.

The new one has broader appeal than any of the previous versions and is a supermini that's bang up to date in every aspect - the best little Nissan for years.

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