► Prices and specs for 2017 Nissan Micra
► On sale in UK from March 2017
► Range starts at £11,995
From dull to daring, boring to bold. Has there ever been a bigger step-ahead, from old model to new, than the 2017 Nissan Micra?
The outgoing car, you’ll recall, is an under-engineered, low-tech and drearily styled little dullard, aimed at those whose small car expectations are low and who, presumably, know no better. The current Indian-built Micra isn’t even all that cheap.
It was conceived as a ‘world car’, designed to appeal to all markets and therefore, predictably, delighted none. The new one is resolutely aimed at Europe, and it shows. Unveiled on the first press day of the 2016 Paris motor show, it is striking in style, technically advanced, and serves up more gadgets and features than most small car buyers could ever expect.
Prices announced for new 2017 Nissan Micra
Nissan has confirmed prices for the new supermini, which will kick off at £11,995 when sales start in March 2017.
Five trim levels will be offered, reflecting the Nissan norm: Visia, Visia+, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna - and punters can pick from a palette of 10 paint colours.
Sway ‘concept car’ style
We’ve seen the styling before on the fetching Sway concept car that was one of the stars of the 2015 Geneva show. It is a striking design, sharp-edged, sporty, airy and clean, all that the old Micra isn’t. Cd is a commendable 0.29, so it cleaves the air well, especially for so small a car. A raft of BMW Mini- or Fiat 500-style options allows for much personalisation, including various lurid colours and trim options, all conceived in Nissan’s Paddington London design centre.
Inside we find a low seating position – for a sporty, in-touch-with-the-road feel – and a cleanly designed dash, which also emphasises the car’s airiness. Cabin space is good, if not class best. Trim fit and finish is excellent, with an unusually high degree of soft-touch and high quality surfacing for a small hatch.
Lots of the technology for a Fiesta rivalling hatch
Most impressive is how much tech the new Micra serves up. Tick the right options and you can specify emergency braking with pedestrian recognition (still unusual on big premium cars, let alone small hatches), an ‘around view’ 360deg monitor, lane departure prevention, high beam auto lights and an excellent Bose music surround-sound system that includes speakers built into the driver’s headrests. Many Micra features are segment firsts.
A seven-inch central display accesses the audio, satnav, mobile phone, numerous apps as well as Apple CarPlay, and various other distractions and diversions from the business of driving.
We see a range of small engines, optimising fuel efficiency. At launch there’s a choice of tuneful 0.9 litre turbo triple – good for 90hp – and a similarly powerful (and probably less desirable) 1.5 diesel four. A non-turbo 75hp 1.0 petrol comes later.
The modular platform is new and one step on from the latest Clio. Ride and handling target best-in-class Fiesta, though that’s a tall order.
Micra: from bold to bad and back
If, as Wilde said, consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative, then at least Nissan can’t be accused of lacking imagination. For the Micra nameplate has jumped from dull, to daring, and back with staggering unpredictability.
The first generation car was a dull looking little tin box – though commendably lightweight. The second (built in Sunderland UK and a former European Car of the Year) and third (also UK-made) iterations were both noble superminis, technically and stylistically avant garde. Now, with the fifth-gen Micra, bravery is back.
UK sales start in March and prices will be ranged against Fiesta and Polo, and likely to be up slightly on the old Micra. Fittingly for a car launched in Paris, European production comes from France at Renault’s Flins plant, where the Clio and Zoe are also made, and one of the sites where the great old Renault 4 was produced.
Click here for more news from the 2016 Paris motor show