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Nissan Micra test drive

The Nissan Micra has gained a couple of new petrol engines to help the supermini compete with its rivals

Nissan is at pains to point out that it has listened to the feedback from customers on the latest Micra. Although the car has only been around for two years, customers criticised the engines, calling them underpowered, and bemoaned the lack of an automatic gearbox.

So, this early-life upgrade addresses those complaints and gives the popular supermini a new edge – essential in such a crowded and talented marketplace, where best-sellers such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo dominate.

What’s new about this Nissan Micra?

This isn’t a facelift, and so 2019 Micras don’t look any different to their predecessors on the outside. The changes come under the bonnet, where Nissan’s fitted a pair of new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines to replace the ageing – and not particularly good – 0.9-litre unit. They offer 100hp and 118hp, and the former can be mated to an automatic gearbox, which is a first on this generation of Micra.

Nissan’s also introduced a new ‘sporty’ trim level. Called N-Sport, it’s available exclusively with the higher-powered engine and aims to take the fight to the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and Volkswagen Polo R-Line. Finally, there’s a new NissanConnect infotainment system – a vital upgrade.

How does it look?

There’s little news on this front – the only exterior changes for the 2019 Micra are some new trim combinations and the addition of LED front fog lights on certain grades.

2019 Nissan Micra N-Sport review - rear | The Car Expert

N-Sport models lower the ride and add niceties such as 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome exhaust tip and N-Sport badging – but the makeover is far milder than that of a Fiesta ST-Line. Perhaps that’s because the N-Sport doesn’t have a true halo hot hatch’s looks from which to draw inspiration, as Ford and VW do with the Fiesta ST and Polo GTI.

Overall though, the Micra remains a fairly handsome and sharply styled supermini – and it remains one of the most personalisable on the market, with customers able to choose trim finishes for various exterior elements including the wheels, mirror caps and side mouldings.

What’s the spec like?

The new N-Sport trim is based on the mid-spec Acenta, so rather than dazzling with lots of equipment it offers a sporty look and mid-range specification.

Still, sports seats, keyless entry, fog lights, carbon-fibre finishes for the door mirrors and alloy wheels plus rear privacy glass add to an already generous roster of climate control, cruise control, all-round electric windows and the aforementioned NissanConnect infotainment system.

Automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning are standard across the range, as are automatic headlights.

Continued on next page: Interior, drive experience and our verdict

Tom Wiltshire
Tom Wiltshire
Articles by Tom Wiltshire are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.
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