Car Review: Nissan - Micra  Series 10 (3 stars)

The Nissan Micra has its charms, but feels cheap and doesn't drive as well as it should.

The Nissan Micra is arguably the Japanese company's most recognised and successful car, beloved by learner drivers, elderly couples and students alike. It has come to hold a secure place in the British heart - especially given the last two generations were built here in Nissan's Sunderland factory, one of the few remaining bastions of British automotive manufacturing.

Production has been shifted to India now though, as the Micra becomes a properly international model, sold in the same basic guise across the globe. It is one of the first high-profile world cars we have seen - manufacturers are increasingly heading in that direction with volume models to try and save money. Sunderland, meanwhile, has shifted to production of the Juke.

Whether it's this new-fangled global idea or merely jitters on Nissan's part, the Micra has lost a lot of its character. The inoffensive design does feel like a step backwards - and it's not as if the previous generation's distinctive frog face was specifically tailored for European tastes.

That said, the car is well-built with its customers in mind, displaying a lot of neat little touches that are often forgotten. Visibility out of the front of the car is good, thanks to slim A-pillars that minimise blind spots, there are parking sensors that will tell you whether the Micra will fit into a space and the wing mirrors will even fold away easily to allow you into spaces you might not ordinarily think about.

Practicality in the cabin is good, too, with seats folding flat to make an impressively large load space, and there are plenty of cubbies too for storage. Rear seat room is respectable thanks to this Micra being bigger than the last one. The dashboard and other materials inside aren't quite up to scratch though, and the Micra does feel like it has been built down to a price.

On the move it doesn't enjoy the same involving driving dynamics you'd get in a Ford Fiesta or a Suzuki Swift, the artificially light steering designed to be at its best in a dense urban environment. The one area where the Micra makes significant progress is engine downsizing - there's a new three-cylinder engine available which has excellent fuel economy and competitive emissions.

Despite showing promising flashes of greatness, the Micra doesn't feel progressive compared to previous generations, it is more a supermini-by-numbers, which is a missed opportunity.

Nissan Micra StatisticsCar Reviews

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