TWO years into its lifespan the Nissan Micra has benefited from a new generation of engines and a stylish and sporty new version to supplement the range.
The range has also seen the arrival of a new CVT automatic transmission but the new N-Sport model is arguably the most exiting addition.
It's a long time since Nissan tried to soup-up its small hatchback - anyone remember the Micra 160 SR - and while the N-Sport is warm-ish rather than hot it definitely manages to deliver in terms of both looks and performance
The new engines have been developed by the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance and are three-cylinder 1.0-litre units delivering either 100 or 117ps.
They replace the 898cc three-cylinder 90ps engine and join a 1.5-litre diesel which remains in the range as does a 71ps 1.0-litre petrol.
The N-Sport is available with both the new engines.
The higher-powered variant fitted to this car proved an impressive performer with a 0-62mph acceleration time of 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 121mph.
People have probably got used to the fact the current Micra looks nothing whatsoever like its predecessors by now.
The latest version marks a radical design departure from a tried and tested blueprint that had worked for decades.
In truth the ‘sportification' of the Micra is much easier to do with the current model as its more angular lines are better suited to such styling touches.
It looks purposeful enough and has N-Sport trim adds features such as 17in alloys, privacy glass, carbon-effect mirror caps, white surrounds to the facia air vents and upgraded trim and upholstery with luxurious looking Alcantara inserts in the dash and on the seats.
You also get a black headlining, a central armrest in the front and Nissan's latest Connect infotainment system.
This uses a seven-inch touchscreen with a TomTom sat nav set up and full smartphone compatibility.
Go for this higher-powered version and you'll also get slightly lowered suspension and uprated steering.
They definitely add to the sporty feel and its character is further enhanced by a chrome exhaust pipe finisher.
One of the benefits of the latest Micra is that it's larger than its predecessor.
It does have some limitations size-wise and both leg and headroom for rear seat passengers aren't over generous but the 300-litre boot is a real plus point.
The N-Sport, certainly the higher-powered variant, does have a distinctly sporty feel when it comes to driving it.
The lowered suspension improves agility and ensures it is fun to chuck around corners.
It's certainly suitably fun, even if it doesn't deliver out-and-out performance thrills.