Nissan took the wraps off a bold new Micra at the Paris motor show, and doing so began a new chapter in the small car’s history. The new car, now in its fifth generation, will be built alongside the Clio at Renault’s factory in Flins, France and shares some of the car’s underpinnings. The latest Micra is more focussed towards European tastes compared to its lucklustre predecessor, that was built in India and had a low-rent feel to the cabin materials. Taking its styling cues from the Sway concept car from the 2015 Geneva motor show, the new Micra is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, delivering extra interior space for occupants, for which Nissan claims is best-in-class.
The rear door handles are hidden in the rear pillar, the roof line appears to be floating and incorporates a spoiler, while up front there’s a distinctive V-shaped grille. Extensive work has been carried out to reduce cabin noise, while aerodynamic efficiency is top-notch for a small car at just 0.29 Cd. Technology plays an important part, with lane departure prevention, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist for the headlights, and blind spot warning offered on all models.
There’s also an intelligent 360 degree camera system and a seven-inch colour display that gives access to functions like Apple CarPlay, downloadable apps and the navigation system. Nissan has teamed up with Bose for a new six-speaker sound system that uniquely incorporates a pair of Ultra Nearfield speakers that are integrated into the driver’s head rest. The engine range is brought bang up-to-date with a choice of an 89bhp 1.5-litre dCi turbo diesel unit or 89bhp 0.9-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, while a naturally aspirated 72bhp 1.0-litre powerplant will join the range soon after and will act as entry point for the new Micra line-up. The range will consist of five trim levels, kicking off with Visia, Visia+, Acenta, Acenta+ and flagship Tekna. A palette often colours will be on offer, including vibrant Energy Orange, with the option to colour co-ordinate the interior, too.
While it’s a little early to predict costs, a Nissan spokesman said that they will price the Micra in-line with its main rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo when it arrives in showrooms next March. That puts the cheapest diesel model at approximately £15,000 for a mid-range Acenta version. One casualty of the Micra’s increased size is the Note mini-MPV which is expected to be discontinued next year. Nissan’s Sunderland plant will continue to build the Juke B-segment crossover, as well as the Qashqai, which is set to get a facelift next summer, including the availability of autonomous driving technology.