NISSAN has expanded the Micra range with two new petrol engine choices and added a 'warm hatch' version with more power and a sporty set up.
The new flagship in the Micra range is the 1.0-litre DIG-T 117 horsepower turbocharged petrol engine, linked to a more performance-oriented six-speed manual transmission.
It uses a completely new engine developed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in conjunction with Daimler, alongside the 1.3-litre petrol engine recently launched in the Nissan Qashqai SUV.
The result is a 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds, a full second faster than the 100 horsepower model.
However, it's not only the powertrain which is different: this ultimate Micra delivers a more dynamic on-road performance thanks to a number of physical changes.
Versions featuring this engine have a lower ride height (-10mm), plus revised suspension tuning to optimise the benefits of that reduction. They also have sharper steering; the steering rack is quicker and lighter to use, so the car is noticeably more agile and fun to drive.
A new chrome exhaust finisher and 17-inch alloy wheels are the finishing touches to versions of the Micra featuring this powertrain.
Also new for 2019 is a new grade Micra N-Sport, positioned in the heart of the ‘warm hatch' category of the smaller cars occupied by contenders such as the Ford Fiesta ST Line, VW Polo R-Line, Peugeot 208 GT Line and SEAT Ibiza FR.
The newcomer comes with carbon-style finish on the alloy wheels and door mirror caps, rear privacy glass and halogen front fog lamps, while the interior has Alcantara seats with leather-style parts, rear view camera with parking sensors and remote entry with push-button engine start.
The Micra N-Sport is available with all three new powertrains - the 1.0-litre IG-T 100Ps manual and Xtronic, plus the DIG-T 117Ps manual.
Nissan says launching an automatic transmission is an important step in further expanding the appeal of the Nissan Micra range. It is a popular choice with urban drivers who spend time in stop/start traffic and its appeal is set to grow.
In 2016, when Nissan launched the current Micra, automatics accounted for 12 per cent of the overall segment sales mix. Industry sources forecast that figure will double in 2020 and reach more than 30 per cent in 2022.
Prices for the new Micra are still to be announced.