MENTIONING the Nissan Micra to folk of my vintage is likely to conjure images of a quaint, curvy little motor often seen in pastel pink or lilac hues being driven by women of a certain age with a matching purple rinse.
These days, though, that picture could not be further from the truth.
The Micra was totally reinvented in 2017 when the fifth generation hit our roads - longer, wider and lower than ever before, with bold, modern looks, vibrant colours and a raft of personalisation options.
Nissan successfully repositioned it's baby at the heart of the hugely competitive small hatchback market and at the same time gave it much more youthful appeal thanks to its strong lines, sharp angles, shortened bonnet, raked windscreen, dipping roofline and rear spoiler.
And earlier this year the newly sporty Japanese supermini became even more attractive to young drivers - and those who are young at heart - with the launch of the distinctively styled N-Sport grade alongside three new powertrains.
Visual enhancements see the N-Sport get 17-inch black carbon-effect alloy wheels with matching wing mirrors; black trim on the bumpers and along the flanks; a chrome exhaust finisher, rear privacy glass and bespoke badging.
Inside, this model is differentiated from the rest of the range by its Alcantara and leather-effect sports seats with matching Alcantara panels on the dashboard, front armrest, white air vents and black headliner.
To get the ‘warm hatch' performance to match all of these sporty design trappings you will really want to go for the most powerful of the new engines too - the 117ps, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol mated to a six-speed manual transmission which we tested.
This unit was developed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in conjunction with Daimler, alongside a 1.3-litre version which already powers the Qashqai, and shifts the Micra from 0-62mph in a snip under 10 seconds and on to a top speed of 121mph.
With 180Nm of torque available from as low as 1,750 revs it's a punchy little engine which also features a 20Nm overboost - an increasingly common feature on small turbos designed to provide extra power in short bursts.
And the power doesn't fall away at the top end either, with a sharp prod on the accelerator producing a discernible response even in sixth gear at motorway speeds.
Versions featuring this engine also ride 10mm lower than other Micras as well as getting a revised suspension and sharper steering. All of which makes this a pretty rewarding little motor to drive - nimble and responsive in the city streets where it will spend most of its time but equally capable on the open road.
Grip is solid and assured, body roll is well controlled and the ride, while firm enough to facilitate the extra pace and agility on offer, manages to stay on the right side of comfortable for the most part - coping surprisingly well with potholes and speed bumps for a small, low-riding motor.
Part of the attraction of small cars with a bit of oomph, of course, is that the extra performance doesn't break the bank and the Micra N-Sport claims an average 47.9 miles per gallon as well as sitting in a reasonable insurance group considering its sporty aspirations.
Add in an equipment list that includes a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry and ignition, rear view camera, lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking and you've got a very decent package for a supermini.