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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Nissan Micra Tekna IG-T100 CVT

Click to view picture gallery“Its a perky blinder! The latest
  Micra IG-T100 with its revised
100hp
 
turboed petrol engine is perky in
  performance plus the design of
  Nissan
s supermini-sized five-door
  hatch is now blindingly more eye-
  catching...”


PRICED FROM JUST 12,875 and topping out at 20,010, the Micra's competitors in the B-sector supermini hatchback class are numerous. First up is the best-selling Ford Fiesta, along with the MINI, the Yaris from Toyota, and VW's Polo; numerous other rivals include the Citroen C3, Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio, SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, Suzuki Swift, and the new and due-out-soon generation of the Peugeot 208, Vauxhall Corsa and Renault Clio ranges.

Compared to the first four generations, the latest Micra is hugely different with sharp sports styling; it's also larger, roomier and equipped with a wide range of safety, chassis control and driving support systems as standard, and boasts the expected SatNav and connectivity functions. In keeping with its competitors, there is also a wide range of extra-cost options and personalisation choices.

The Micra’s all changed!
And dramatically,
with really sharp styling
lines, sculptured body
panels, a rising waistline
giving it a wedge-shaped
side profile with
concealed rear door
handles in the window
frames and a rear
spoiler over the
tailgate of the five-door
body...”
Whilst earlier generation models were at best considered to be a safe and secure buy, much loved by driving schools, they could not be described as fun to drive or with much in the way of kerb appeal.

Now it's all changed — and dramatically — with really sharp styling lines, sculptured body panels, a rising waistline giving it a wedge-shaped side profile with concealed rear door handles in the window frames and a rear spoiler over the tailgate of the five-door body. It is similar in style to the current Renault Clio which is understandable due to the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance where platforms and components are being shared.

Regarding the new Micra, you can also see the new-generation family design evident with the latest Qashqai SUV and the soon-to-arrive new Juke SUV that looks like a scaled-up version of the Micra — at least in the pre-launch photographs I've seen of Nissan's new compact SUV.

With an overall length of 3,999mm, a width of 1,743mm, height of 1,455mm and a wheelbase of 2,525mm, it's compact, easy to park and the room inside at the front is good for a supermini; it's not so roomy in the rear for legroom though, making it less suitable for growing family use. However, the 300-litre boot is a reasonable size and if you fold down the rear seats this expands to 1,004 litres.

The interior styling is very modern with grained synthetic soft-touch leather coverings for most of the main trim areas. There is a nice clean-line fascia panel with its easy-to-use centrally-positioned touchscreen with separate heating and ventilation controls. Overall the interior matches the slick new exterior looks: much sharper, much more modern and blindingly much better than previous dowdy models.

But that's not all because the Micra's improvements and refinement are more than skin-deep: these features include Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Intelligent Ride Control, Intelligent Trace Control and Lane Departure Warning. AirCon and stop-start are standard on all but the base spec model with mid-range models and above having alloy wheels, smartphone connectivity, a seven-inch touchscreen and much more.

This new three-cylinder
engine delivers 98bhp
backed up by 106lb ft
of torque on tap from
2,000rpm and serves up
smooth, six-speed
stepped gearshifts while
providing enough
muscle to cope with
higher speed motorway
journeys without stress
and stay perky in the
cut-and-thrust of
in-town traffic...”
My test drive in the latest incarnation of the Nissan Micra was with the Tekna spec trim which weighed in at a hefty 20,585 including 575 for the Passion Red 'character metallic paint' finish as Nissan calls it. Occupying the engine bay of our Tekna press car was the new IG-T100 turboed petrol three-pot engine mated with the new CVT auto transmission.

Being the range-topper, the Tekna is comprehensively equipped — just to list a few elements of the spec provided, and which probably justifies the high-ish price-tag, you get Keyless Go, a rearview camera and a superb BOSE audio system designed specifically for the Micra, NissanConnect Navigation and Premium TomTom Traffic alert, cruise control, electric front and rear windows, powerfold heated door mirrors, 60:40-split folding rear seatbacks, three rear seat headrests, auto lights and wipers, privacy glass, and a set of 17-inch alloy wheels.

This new IG-T100 three-cylinder engine delivers 98bhp backed up with 106lb ft of torque on tap from 2,000rpm (the manual gearbox version is a bit more muscular than auto versions with 118lb ft but at a higher 2,750rpm). This lower torque allows for smoother six-speed stepped gearshifts from the Xtronic CVT auto transmission.

This engine/autobox transmission combo provides enough performance to cope with higher speed motorway journeys without stress but is more lively and perky dealing with the cut-and-thrust of in-town travel with the Xtronic making driving less stressful. Its just-squeeze-the-accelerator-and-go character makes the Micra relatively nimble helped by its precise well-weighted steering.

That said, it's not the quietest or smoothest three-pot petrol engine on the market today — it has a noticeable offbeat thrum to it on start-up, tickover and at low speeds, but once it spins up the revs its gets better. Mid-range acceleration is good but it takes a little longer to reach motorway cruising speeds and accelerating past slow traffic needs a bit more time and space than some of its competitors. Top speed is 114mph but the zero to 62mph acceleration calls for a lengthy 13 seconds (two seconds slower than the manual gearbox version).

its compact, easy to
park and the room inside
at the front is good for
a supermini.
Plus the 300-litre boot is
a reasonable size and
if you fold down the rear
seats this expands to a
handy 1,004 litres...”
Going by the new WLTP figures the official Combined Cycle fuel economy is 50.4mpg and my week of motoring, driving over most types of roads and traffic conditions (in some pretty awful weather) saw the three-pot record an overall average of 44.6mpg. The auto's CO2 emissions are 111g/km and the First Year road tax 170 for the auto and then 145 annually.

The handling is precise and sure-footed with the Trace Control providing predictable steering lines through corners. The ride is on the harsh side with a firm suspension set-up which transferred bumps from potholes and road noise into the cabin. The Micra just doesn't offer the ride comfort, handling finesse or agility of, say, the Ford Fiesta which is still the leader for such performance aspects in the supermini sector.

With its perky new turboed petrol engine and blindingly better styling inside and out, the latest Micra demands serious consideration. It's also well equipped with lots of 'large car' features and driving support systems, and is good for 45mpg. ~ David Miles
.
Nissan Micra Tekna IG-T100 CVT | 20,585
Maximum speed: 114mph | 0-62mph: 13 seconds | Test Average: 44.6mpg
Power: 98bhp | Torque: 106lb ft | CO2: 111g/km

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