By Mike Torpey on 2017-09-24 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Nissan Micra 0.9
IG-T 90 Tekna
SPLASHING out an extra few hundred quid can make all the difference in transforming an attractive car into a real eye-catcher.
When that model is already light years ahead of its predecessors then the effect of adding that personal touch can be dazzling.
The new generation Nissan Micra is a case in point.
When it hit UK streets in late spring the newcomer brought not only big, but also premium, car values in a supermini shape.
This latest Micra doesn't just look sharp and futuristic but also boasts the fit, fittings and upmarket technology of several classes above - even if these leaps in quality are reflected in higher pricing.
But Nissan is going a step further with its new mini marvel, offering owners a personal touch courtesy of a personalisation programme with more than 100 combinations.
The demand is high too, with approximately one in four buyers choosing these add-ons.
And retailer feedback has revealed that while customers are on average spending £500 to personalise their new Micra, the most popular personalisation choice is Energy Orange.
By coincidence this variant, in Echo Grey and top grade Tekna trim, included an interior Energy Orange pack at £400 and an exterior in the same hue - plus 17-inch alloy wheels - for £550.
The orange extras are understated but extremely effective, adorning the likes of body side mouldings, door mirror caps, bumper finishers and alloy wheels while decals can be applied to the bonnet and roof.
Otherwise the Micra, which costs from £11,995 to £18,765, is up for grabs with a choice of two petrol engines - a 1.0-litre non-turbo developing 71PS and the tested 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol with 90ps - plus a 1.5-litre dCi 90 diesel.
Making use of Nissan's alliance with Renault, the turbocharged IG-T engine is a proven performer from the French manufacturer's Clio and feels far more lively than its 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds would suggest.
It feels rewarding to drive, is agile, has positive feedback from the steering and piloted conservatively can achieve within 10 miles of the official average fuel return of 61.4mpg.
Inside, the Micra is well kitted at base Visia level amd a tour de force of technology and comfort at top end Tekna.
There's two-tone trim, soft touch plastics, cup holders, cubbies, electric windows and ample passengers space, while safety features include lane drift warning, hill start assist, emergency braking with pedestrian recognition and a speed limiter.
Piece de resistance is a Bose sound system specifically designed for the Micra and boasting speakers in the headrests and sound stage control.
Nissan Micra 0.9 IG-T 90 Tekna
Mechanical: 90ps, 898cc 3-cyl turbo petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 12.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 61.4
C02 emissions: 104g/km
Bik rating: 19%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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