A NEW generation of engines is making its way into the Nissan Micra as the Japanese car maker goes about pepping up its supermini.
There's also a new CVT automatic transmission and a new N-Sport trim grade joining the line up plus some improvements on the technology front.
The changes are designed to keep the Micra up to speed in a market that also features the likes of the Ford Fiesta, the SEAT Ibiza and the Volkswagen Polo.
The new engines have been developed by the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance and are three-cylinder 1.0-litre blocks boosted to either 100 or 117ps.
They replace the 898cc three pot 90ps engine which has been used in the latest Micra since its launch two years ago and join a 1.5-litre diesel which remains in the range as does a 71ps 1.0-litre petrol.
With more power on tap the new engines make the Micra much more user-friendly and the auto box is a revelation.
Acceleration 0 to 60 is 10.9 seconds and top speed for the five-speed manual 100ps version is 114mph with fuel economy rated at best at 51.4mpg.
The more powerful 117ps engine, which has Daimler input and a six-speed transmission, is a second quicker 0 to 60 and tops out at 121mph with best economy of 47.9 to the gallon.
Emissions for the two are 114 and 121g/km respectively.
The auto - albeit a CVT - uses what Nissan calls its D-Step technology which makes it feel almost like a regular torque converter gearbox.
Although there are no paddle shifters the so-called Xtronic box responds excellently to throttle input and nowhere was it caught out.
Its performance figures are 0 to 60 in 13 seconds, a maximum of 110mph and best fuel economy of 44.9mpg.
In everyday conditions it is an ideal performer and one which will give the Micra an edge for those who want an auto in small car.
On our drive it returned an average of 39.8mpg which for a little auto is impressive while the 100ps manual showed 43.7 to the gallon on the trip readout.
The 117ps engine - which uses direct injection - was slightly thirstier at 40.8mpg and although it gives the Micra more legs, realistically there is little between the two in terms of feel.
The auto is available only on the 100ps engine and from mid-grade Acenta trim onwards and is likely to carry a premium of some £1,300 over the £16,235 starting price.
Manual versions come on stream from Visia+ trim level and cost from £14,965 topping out from £18,760 in Tekna grade.
The 117ps engine will be available from £17,305 in Acenta grade and £19,830 in Tekna specification while both new engines are available in the new N-Sport trim where they are priced from £17,935 and £19,005.
N-Sport trim adds features such as privacy glass, carbon-effect mirror caps, white surrounds to the facia air vents and upgraded trim and upholstery with Alcantara inserts in the dash and on the seats.
There's also a black headlining, a central armrest in the front and the car is fitted with Nissan's latest Connect infotainment system which uses a seven-inch touchscreen with a TomTom sat nav set up and full smartphone compatibility.
The higher powered versions also come with slightly lowered suspension and uprated steering to add some sporty feel while the car also gets some changes at the rear including a chrome exhaust pipe finisher.
All in all the N-Sport changes suit the Micra well and sitting on 17-inch alloys it really does look the part.
The Micra range remains priced from Â£12,875 for the entry level petrol model and Â£15,300 for the diesel and with the new engines plus the automatic arriving soon Nissan's baby model is about to become even more competitive.