Thirty five years on and the Nissan Micra has grown up with distinction The Micra – known as ‘March’ in its home market – is yet another modern that has outgrown its original market. A supermini design to replace the Cherry, the latest one is almost as big and certainly wider than a MG Montego and a far cry from the original brief as a city dweller that slotted into small parking spaces – and your garage!
Retrospective March Of Time
The first K10 design was designed actually as a replacement for the Fiat 127 before the Italian went with a Giugiaro penned boxy Uno instead. Early European Micras came with Datsun-Nissan badging before the Datsun name was killed off and were known for their lightness but often a resultant tinny feel, although it didn’t affect their excellent reliability and ruggedness. K11 saw the ’Ninja Turtle’ looking replacement, powered by new 16-valve 1-litre and 1.3-litre engines, that lasted until 2002 before the Renault-co developed (the result of the still on-going Nissan-Renault Alliance) K12 took over; we’re now on the fifth generation K14 now that uses Renault Clio powerplants on certain models.
Considering the simple but neat design of the original, the latest is all swoops and sharp edges and, like some of its rivals, is so large that five-door only bodies are offered with a choice of engines which, apart from the 1.5-litre diesel, reside around the 1-litre mark although rumours abound of a tuned Nismo version surfacing, perhaps using the Clio RS (1600cc) engine.
Ours was the most popular 1-litre 70bhp offering across five trim levels although the ‘performance’ offering is Clio-derived three-cylinder turbo kicking out just under 90bhp from 0.9-litres. As you’d expect, with such a large weighty body, performance isn’t the Micra’s strongest suit and it can struggle a bit out of town, largely when laden.
In any case, all-in-all, the latest Micra is a fine ‘little’ car possessing a not unexpected ‘big car’ feel which extends to its ride. Electronic trickery, pinched from the larger Qashqai, includes Active Ride and Active Trace Control; both of which are made to aid the chassis, with the latter even craftily, softly applying the brakes once understeer becomes excessive. You certainly won’t get into trouble with a Micra thanks to this built-in helping hand – and a comparative lack of power, of course. If you’ve grown up with Micras you’ll certainly enjoy this super stylish supermini even if ours did amount to a hardly mini price of some £16,000.