Nissan Micra Tekna

1.5 dCi 90

Nissan Micra, front static 2
Nissan Micra, front action
Nissan Micra, front static
Nissan Micra, side action
Nissan Micra, rear action
Nissan Micra, rear static
Nissan Micra, dashboard
Nissan Micra, boot 1
Nissan Micra, boot 2
Nissan Micra, rear seats
Nissan Micra, front seats
Nissan Micra, head rest speaker

THE last Nissan Micra deserved not to sell well because it really wasn't much good.

So, it might seem brave to keep the name for this latest version, until you drive it.

Actually, you don't need to slip inside a new Micra to witness the transformation.

Here is a car whose dramatic contours make the old one look like a primary school student's doodle.

Add some orange paint as an extra - and top it up with the same colour splashed around the interior - and here is a car that wants to be noticed, in a good way.

You sense Nissan must have been stung by reaction to the previous car; so put out that this time it had got to get it right.

And it has. Here is a small family hatch absolutely ready again to mix it with the best tiddlers out there, from VW Polo to Ford Fiesta. You couldn't have said that a year ago.

Dig deeper than those standout looks (with concealed handles for the rear doors adding to a coupe-like feel) and you discover a car that makes you look forward to the next drive. Not so many do that.

You can enjoy most of the new Micra's fun factor from £11,995, which starts the range off with a 998cc petrol engine but the clever money is on a smaller 898cc unit that actually produces more power and is nicer to drive - and costs from £13,915.

Swing up to the top of the range and you discover the car driven here, resplendent in the extra cost orange inside and out and powered by a Nissan-derived 1.5-litre diesel engine.

That adds a hefty £1,330 to the price and won't be a sensible choice for most Micra owners, who do modest mileages and wouldn't recoup the extra investment in improved economy.

For those few who spend great tracts of their time at the wheel the diesel's economy will seduce - driving briskly couldn't force the dash readout below 66mpg and a touch of restraint soon sent it over 70mpg.

Whichever engine is doing the work, the new Micra feels alert and nimble, the sort of car a deeply un-techie owner will enjoy driving even if they don't know why (it's the way it turns crisply into corners, should you ask).

There's a big, deep boot but the rear seat, with seatbelts for three, is a snug fit if the front row pair are pushed too far back.

This most expensive model comes with good looking 17-inch alloy wheels but their low profile tyres make the ride choppy over badly maintained surfaces. The smaller wheels (and more resilient tyres) of lesser versions ought to make things smoother.

But dismiss the practicalities for a moment. The £575-worth of Energy Orange metallic paint and another £400 for an orange interior personalisation pack turned a handsome car into a real looker.

People who have no interest in cars (shockingly, there are some) said how smart the car looked, inside and out. That happens with the odd Bentley but rarely on something in the Micra's orbit.

The Tekna grade test car came dripping with kit, from sat nav and air con and heated front seats to a Bose sound system with two speakers in the driver's seat headrest (yes, really) and rear view camera and parking sensors.


Nissan Micra Tekna 1.5 dCi 90

Price: £18,765

Mechanical: 89 bhp, 1,461cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-spd manual gearbox

Max Speed: 111 mph

0-62mph: 11.9 secs

Combined MPG: 80.7

Insurance Group: 8

C02 emissions:92 g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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