Nissan Micra DIG-S
Diesel economy meets petrol refinement
Ignore what’s under the bonnet and all the Micra’s strengths are still in place. Visibility is truly excellent, the car is almost insultingly easy to drive, and standard levels of kit are generous for the segment. Without a tape measure I can’t prove that internal space is best in class, but I’m prepared to bet it’s close to it.
Got for the top-of-the-range Tekna model and not only do you get an excellent 5in touchscreen satnav and the Nissan Connect system with USB audio and Bluetooth, but also something called Parking Space Measurement.
Not quite as eco-friendly as a bike
PSM is a lite version of Ford’s Parking Assist, found on the new Focus. Find a parking spot, pull up along side, press the PSM button, and the system tells you if getting into the space will be OK, Difficult or Not Advised, depending on how much longer the space is than your car.
Sadly there’s no Twit! warning if you ask it to look at a space shorter than the Micra. No matter what the car’s verdict, getting it into the space is entirely down to the driver. That makes PSM the automotive equivalent of being given a reassuring pat on the back before going over the top and then being told you are on your own.
Despite my occasional misadventures, the handling isn't actually bad despite the chassis clearly being set up for comfort rather than speed through the bends, and the tyres being optimised for economy rather than absolute grip.
The problem is that cars like the Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500 have redefined how much driving pleasure you can expect from a basic little hatchback and the Micra hasn’t kept pace so I think I’ll wait until the folk at Nissan’s sister company, Renault, get hold of the DIG-S motor and stick it in the altogether more amusing Twingo. ®
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A rather dull supermini transformed by the installation of an excellent three-pot supercharged engine.
Suggested Price: From £11,150
More Info: Nissan's Micra page