The fifth generation Nissan Micra is not only elegant and good looking, it is also packed with state of the art technology to appeal to modern urbanites. We tested for you the top of the range Tekna version equipped with the 90 HP three cylinder turbo petrol engine coupled to a five speed manual box. A recipe for very entertaining driving, just read on…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Nissan wants to make its mark in this segment, with an altogether bolder styled successor to the previous generation Micra, and it also has altered things under the hood. Mind you, the new Micra runs still on the same platform, but the chassis has been overhauled extensively with wider tracks, a repositioned centre of gravity, and a range of engines now coming from its partner in the big “Alliance”. Indeed, the three cylinder, 898 cc single overhead cam engine is also found in the Renault Clio and Twingo, and therefore also in the… Smart Forfour.
The new Micra has been designed in Cranfield, UK, but is built in France by Renault. Indeed, the uncertainties of the Brexit takes its toll on the UK car manufacturing base…
It therefore combines European “savoir faire” in the sub-compact segment with refinement and state of the art electronics. In the top-end “Tekna” version we drove, are offered a camera-based active lane keeping system, ‘around-view’ parking cameras and an audio system from BOSE with near-field speakers lodged in the driver’s headrest.
We enjoyed here indeed the excellent sound quality offered by the system, and of course it sported a DAB+ radio…
The interior also breathes refinement, certainly in the Tekna version, with dual tone finishes and nicely stitched surfaces on dashboard and controls…
The instrument cluster and the five inch touchscreen were familiar, and with good reason, as they are taken over from the Nissan Qasqai.
Smooth, sporting and frugal
The three cylinder engine, here in turbo version with multi-point injection, has already proven its qualities in other cars of the Renault Nissan Alliance. It develops also here its 90 HP at a sporty 5500 rpm, and delivers 140 Nm at 2250 rpm. In the rev range below 1500 rpm, don’t expect miracles in pulling power, especially when cold, but once approaching 2000 rpm, the unit gets quite lively indeed, and the well spaced five speed gearbox makes this Micra a very entertaining performer.
Let’s talk some physics here: the kerb weight of this Micra approaches the ‘60s 356 Porsche Super 90, and yes, this means that performance is downright similar. The figures amply show this: 0 to 100 km/h is reached in 12,1 seconds. Therefore, the Micra owner has actually a top of the range classic Porsche 356 in his hands when it comes to performance. Of course, modern petrol engines have come an enormously long way when it comes to frugality and emissions…
We averaged 7 liters during our test, and less in some instances. We even, bringing the car back to the Nissan premises amidst heavy evening traffic, averaged 5,7 liters in admittedly very anticipative, low rpm driving, just coasting along with the traffic flow… The manufacturer quotes 4,4-4,6 l/100 km in the ECE driving cycle, CO2 emissions being 99-104 g/km.
Top speed is 175 km, and with the well spaced gearing, the Micra will cruise happily along all day at 120/130 km/h.
The new Micra is very engaging to drive, and invites you to adopt a zesty driving style. It certainly likes it. The electric power steering comes also from the Qasqai, and is accurate and sensitive. The excellent handling does not come at a cost of comfort, and thanks to the lighter three cylinder engines, spring ratios could be chosen a bit softer, so the ride is quite good on our legendary Belgian pavés.
State of the art driving aids
We were spoilt in the Micra when it comes to electronics. We already told you about the sound system, but we were also delighted to see the excellent panoramic camera display’s when parking, the lane assist functions and of course a very easy to use cruise control. Using the navigation function is also a breeze.
When it comes to practicality, the four doors offer enough room to put in and out toddlers’ seats, boot space is adequate with 300 liters of boot space, which can be enlarged to 1004 liters.
Nissan has put a very convincing contender with their latest Micra in this segment. Stylish, it is very well finished, has state of the art mechanics and electronic appointments, and you will enjoy the way it drives.
Its sporting yet frugal engine (again here of course, driving style helps along with the low weight of the car) gives it a pleasant and refined aura, and you will enjoy driving and owning this Micra for years to come…
Hans Knol ten Bensel