Conspiracy theories fly as Toyota's LMP1 cars swap places at the death...
You are here
The Top Gear car review:Nissan Micra
What is it like on the road?
Lots of small cars claim to be fun to drive, but not many of them are, really. The Micra, perhaps against the odds, is one of the good guys. The light, fast steering is obeyed by a keen front end that’s happy to be chucked into corners without catching the back end half asleep. It feels agile, light on its feet, and accurate. The ride is a well-judged compromise of halting roll and compliance, though on seriously rough back roads you’ll notice a clanging resonance as the suspension starts to reach the limits of its travel.
Or… you might not. Because to get up to the speeds where the suspension gets out of sorts, you’re going to need serious commitment in a Micra. The old engines suffered lethargic power delivery and poor driveability, and the new 114bhp triple is only just on the right side of adequate.
A warm hatchback in raw performance, it’s really not. Though the new engine has inherited anti-friction internals from the Nissan GT-R and electric turbo actuators that supposedly cut turbo lag, this isn’t as keen as the rival engines you’ll find in Ford, Seat or Kia competitors.
On the motorway, with the car settled into a cruise, there’s a fairly high amount of road noise compared to say, a Polo, but it’s not terrible for the class, and wind noise is handsomely suppressed. The gearchange feels a little cumbersome at first, as if the lever’s too long (or borrowed from a bus or lorry), but get used to that and you notice it places your hand closer to the steering wheel. So rattling off quick changes to keep the engine on the boil is easily at hand. The seats are comfy too, if a little small for the more wide of hip.
Overall, the Micra’s near the top of its class for handing, bettered only by the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2. However, its engines aren’t as flexible as the rivals, and in a class this competitive, that knocks its otherwise zesty on-road appeal.