Huge step forward

for Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra, 2017, front
Nissan Micra, 2017, front, action
Nissan Micra, 2017, side
Nissan Micra, 2017, rear
Nissan Micra, 2017, interior
Nissan Micra, 2017, boot

I NEEDED specs a long time before eventually getting fitted up.

It was a middle distance problem and as such the source of some social embarrassment.

Not recognising people in the street for one, old friends, mother that sort of thing.

Decision day came on my third lap of a midlands traffic island when my wife remarked that it was the worst example of a power glide ever to leave her fundaments in placeand I owned up that I was looking for the sign for the airport.

The big green sign with airport written on it.

For years I doubt I even clocked a Nissan Micra what with it being so small and having all the kerb presence of gravel.

Something for life's last lap to go with beige zipper jackets and swollen ankles.

It was Godfrey from Dad's Army.

The doughnut demon of the dahlias in a range of somnambulant colours including metallic Vera Lynn.

But wait a minute, I have just put my glasses on and there sits someone who for years I have known as Fuzzy Outline but turns out to be a rather good looking latest generation Nissan Micra.

I reckon the old Micra was an elaborate practical joke by Nissan's design team: "Yeah, we've got a proper one in the draw but let's see how many ugly bugs we can shift first."

Truly the latest generation is a revelation inside and out.

Gone is the utilitarian finish and Noddy car looks in favour ofstriking interior trim and a sleek exterior line.

It is not designed to make middle aged shopaholics faint with excitement.

This 88bhp 1.5dCi 90 Connecta having its retinas scrutinised today will take 11.9 seconds to saunter to 62mph but on its way, its way being mainly suburban I would have thought, there is the claimed possibility of over 80mpg which for £18,000 including metallic paint probably makes as much sense as you get in the modern world.

You can shove it around if you like working a five-speed manual hard and withsafety aids like ride and trace control, emergency braking, lane departure warning with intelligent lane intervention should arrive safe and sound although the engine will have made it clear that you have taken it out of its comfort zone.

You can get the same mechanicals in Acenta trim for a family-friendly price.

However, the more costly version brings with it a raft of standard kit.

All important technical detail includes a seven-inch touch screen with navigator and connections, easy to use and logically presented.

We discussed the safety kit earlier but you can add traffic sign recognition and brake activated hazard lights.

Body features include concealed rear door handles, tinted glass, heated folding mirrors and 16-inch alloys.

Right, get your head inside and note the leather steering wheel, repeater controls, cruise, console storage and cup holders to go with the LED running lights, auto halogen lights and wipers, air con and a rather attractive cloth seat trim.

Not a flat cap in sight.

For £500 there is the option of a Bose stereo but superior radio is lost on me.

If I want to listen to mindless drivel I'll turn a rear seat passenger on.

Out on the road I would not complain if my environment was more urban than rural and this was my given car for everyday use.

Neither did it offer any motorway pain, in fact Micra is a good all-rounder with a low noise level and comfortable ride.

That comfort is in no small way due to the massive improvements inside.

Not only is the finish high quality but optional contrasting coloursgive the car a youthful feel.

There are a lot of soft finishes and Nissan has introduced a raft of customisation options - again something which will attract the younger buyer.

Practicality is a strong point, there is much more room than in old Humpty Dumpty and a boot which is close to the top of the supermini class at 300 litres.

A Micra is still not the definition of all the fun you can have with your clothes on but with or without a visit to Specsavers it is unrecognisable from what has gone before.

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