• Ride/handling balance, tiny turning circle, easy to drive, good stereo, visibility
  • Fuel consumption, some road noise

OUR RATING
7 / 10



2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review

From a frog lookalike to something with a more universal appeal, the Nissan Micra has a come a long way since the last generation. Previously, we only had one trim level and one driveline available. Now, there are three grades and two engines and transmissions, enabling the Micra to take on a broader audience.

In ST-L trim, as tested, there’s a lot to like about Nissan’s light car. For starters, the price is not unreasonable.

At $14,990 (plus $395 for metallic paint) the Nissan Micra ST-L manual is exactly the same as the ST automatic. If you can drive a manual, and $15,000 is your budget, then leave the lethargic 1.2-litre powered ST off your shopping list and step up to the 1.5-litre four-cylinder found in the ST-L. The reason? Well, there’s a difference between the two, and it’s less obvious than you’d think.

Power is the most apparent difference. With the 1.2-litre producing just 56kW and 100Nm, and the 1.5-litre making 75kW and 136Nm, it’s fairly obvious which is the more pleasant drive. Another difference is how much the automatic affects the outcome.

As a manual, the 1.2-litre consumes 5.9L/100km and makes 138g/km of carbon-dioxide. Add an auto to it, and fuel consumption jumps by 0.6L/100km and CO2 climbs to 154g/km.

The 1.5-litre as a manual equals the 1.2-litre auto’s fuel consumption (6.5L/100km) and betters it for CO2 (153g/km). Add an auto to the 1.5-litre and fuel use only climbs by 0.1-litre and it produces just three grams/km more of CO2. The four-speed automatic certainly works better with the larger engine.

2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review

On test though, we had the manual, and it’s an easy shift, if a little long in the throw. Contrasting that, the clutch travel is quite short, though it offers good take-up feel. It’s easy to get from reverse to first and back again, as in a three-point-turn situation, and given its excellent turning circle (9m) which Nissan says is best-in-class, that’s a problem you shouldn’t have to worry about.

The Micra’s steering is excellent with good feel and weighting, though it does require a few turns from lock to lock, meaning a bit of wheel-work when pulling into tight parking spots, but again, the Micra slips easily into the smallest of spaces; it’s an exceptionally easy car to park.

For a light car, it also handles quite well. Corners can be taken fairly quickly without tyre scrub or too much body lean. It’s actually quite a fun car to punt around, yet the Micra’s ride never suffers as a result of the firmer suspension. Nissan has done a great job of tuning the car to strike an excellent balance between ride and handling, something which can’t be said of the Toyota Yaris, for example. The Micra’s dynamics, then, are above par.

There’s nothing wrong with its space, either. Front seat passengers won’t feel cramped, and even a rear seat passenger behind the driver won’t feel claustrophobic. That’s not because there’s heaps of legroom – in fact your knees will be touching the seat in front – but because the back of the seats have been cleverly designed.

2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review

While the back of the seats look like they’re solid, the stretchy fabric covers a big recess. Your knees sit inside the recess, making it a lot more comfortable. Clever packaging.

It also feels a lot more spacious because of its excellent visibility. There are no blind spots to speak of, so checking traffic in either your mirrors or with your head means you won’t be doing the chicken dance trying to move your head back and forth to avoid B- or C-pillars.

The whole redesign is easy on the eye, unlike the polarising last-gen Micra. The subtle creases in the bonnet give the new version a much classier look. If you look hard enough from the front, you’ll see a bit of an angry frown, too. There are two boomerang-like dips in the roof, which give the Micra a bit of a scowl. Makoto Yamane, Associate Product Chief Designer, explains why they’re there:

“The boomerang-shaped grooves on the roof aren’t just for looks either,” he says. “These roof-line grooves work to reduce resonance in the cabin making the car very comfortable at any speed.”

Open up the boot and you’ll find 251 litres of space, all in a very accessible format. Lay the back seats down and there’s a heap more.

Some of the interior inclusions are appreciated, too. Kudos to Nissan for including Bluetooth in a light car. It pairs up quickly and easily, though having the volume control separate from the stereo volume control can be a bit of a pain – you have to take your eyes off the road and reach forward and down to alter the volume, which is a little unsafe.

2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review
2013 Nissan Micra Review

The stereo, despite being a four-speaker setup, is actually very good. The air-con works well, automatic lights are good to have and at night, the headlights are certainly bright enough.

So what’s not to like? Well, despite the Micra’s ADR combined figure, our fuel use in just city driving was 8.0L/100km for the week. That said, it is better than the ADR city figure of 8.3L/100km, and certainly better than the 1.2-litre automatic in real-world use (we recorded 9.2L/100km in one last week). It would be nice to see a diesel in a light car like the Micra, though; the extra torque coupled with hybrid-like fuel use would certainly put the icing on the cake.

As a light car, however, the Micra is certainly competitive and a decent car to boot. It’s got more personality than a Yaris, it’s cheaper than a Kia Rio, better looking than a Hyundai Getz, and quicker than a Suzuki Alto or Holden Barina Spark.

As a cheap runabout, it’s definitely worth shortlisting.


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NISSAN MICRA BREAKDOWN

2013 Nissan Micra Review
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  • Frank

    Thanks for that, interesting to know the 1.5 in manual mode is the combo to have. Refinement is a tad lacking, but for what you get, it looks like a fair little car.

    • Phil

      Why is it interesting that the most powerful engine combined with the manual gearbox is the best combo?
      Are you aware of any cars where the best combo is the least powerful engine combined with a 4 speed auto?

      • D Is For Drive

        I think the best combo was in relation to the price being the same as the 1.2 Auto

  • Phil

    Not so sure about the facelift… It was awkward and polarising before, now it just looks bland and dated.

  • Mark

    Yo Phil it’s a complete new car not a facelift!!!

  • Dev

    those fuel consumption figures are extrememly high, especially for a car of this size.

    • fishman

      Note that it stated the test was 100% city driving – in that context these are reasonable figures, and actually bettered the ADR figures.

      It would have been nice to get the figures on what this does on highway driving.

      Nice little package

  • Sam 300TD

    I reckon its the best of the tiny cars around. Surely it has more over the Getz than just its looks. I think when you look at the overall package and what you get for the money, IMHO its probably the best value new car on the market.

  • Phil

    That 220km\h speed is a bit ambitious. I would estimate a top of 150km\h for the 1.2 Auto and about 170km\h for the 1.5 manual.

    • j

      If it spins at 3000rpm for 100km/h, >6000rpm redline should deliver a top speed > 200km/h

      • t39

        Not so, J.

        Wind resistance grows at a cubic rate as speed increases. You need several times the power to drive at 200km/h compared to 100km/h.

        Thus, top speed may well be below the redline of the engine in top gear.

      • Phil

        Using your logic j, they could just put in a super tall top gear – say 500rpm at 100km\h and whoolah! It can now break the sound barrier at 1200km\h @ 6000rpm!

        You truly are a idiot. Top speed depends on (in no particular order):

        1. Gearing
        2. Aerodynmaics
        3. Power output
        4. Weight.

        A conventional car with just 56/76KW power would never reach 200km\h.

        WHO THE BLOODY HELL IS GIVING J THE THUMBS UP?

        • James

          Almost,

          Top speed does not depend on weight.

        • Casseystonner

          Top speed is governed mostly by wind resistance and to a lesser extent by rolling resistance. On a flat weight is not a factor, though is will slow down acceleration to that top speed and may increase rolling resistance

    • smartbitch

      quite amusing…my 1.5 holden astra….i topped it out at 210km/h so how do you figure that this car with the same engine size cant do the same thing. u males are all the same stupid idiots pretending you think you know everything about cars

      • Tmc_focus

        WHY DID U LEAVE THE KITCHEN?!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • G20

    Good value, although I don’t like the European design, this car is obviously aimed at the European market..

    Why don’t we get the real Nissans here, like the Sentra? Where they are actually designed and made by the Japanese Nissan..

    • Phil

      oh you mean like the lovely Nissan Tiida?

  • JEKYL & HYDE

    i know more than a few people who have driven micra/getz/rio back to back,and no surprises the micra wins.nissans agressive drive away prices will be a winner for this car.if only they could chop out the stereo,and replace it with a double din unit with usb and ipod/bluetooth streamimg,and maybe a set of alloys,the package would be complete…

  • bart

    It looks dated and design seems to come out of Primary school student. Mazda2 looks much better.

    • Dan

      True the 2 does look like a better car, however the Micra has more features and standard saftey features that the Mazda doesn’t have for a better price. Having looked at the 2 and the Micra my wife and I decided to buy the Micra ST-L as it was easier for her to drive. It is also more fun to drive like the article states. Real world driving we can get around 600-700kms from a tank and the 1.5 has plenty of torque for the size of the car so it doesn’t really matter if you’re a gear too high it will still pull quite easily. Issues? The clutch is too sensitive but, it’s not as light as the 2. The digital fuel gauge is gimmicky at best, and not the easiest to read with polarised sunnies on. The speakers have an ok sound however, they are not loud enough when driving at 80-100kmh. We are really pleased with the car overall and the only reason we bought this over a Fiesta was that the value equation is alot better, as is visibility and comfort. Also the Micra is made in Japan unlike the Thailand made Fiesta which, despite all reports has gone down alot in quality from the “European” made model.

      • ryan bane

        Pretty sure australasia (and Japan) source their Micra’s from Thailand.
        Even so, agree it is screwed together better than the Fiesta (mind you even the european sourced Fiesta’s were far from perfect)

        However, the new Micra (although packed with equipment) feels ch so cheap inside – the plastics are horrid.

        To me, the new suzuki swift feels much more modern and that would be my choice in this class.

  • http://www.cheapestsuv.info Cheapest SUV

    I just test it last week. Top speeds in CVT is about 180 km/h. This 1.2 is very good engine high power, can be feeling like driving 1.5L car.
    Auto air condition is great for this car segment. Interior is normal style nothing exciting for me. Fuel consumption is in about 20km/l that is normal rate of 1.2 car.
    Summarize, very good if compare with this price, more option but low class material little bit.

    • Roger Ramjet

      This has a 4 speed auto! No Cvt! Would have been better with a CVT though!

  • nickdl

    It should do well. It will effectively be a replacement for the Hyundai Getz amongst fleets and rental cars. It’s a much better car than its competitors with all of the features and a more desirable badge to boot. Auto transmissions are pointless in any car of this size.

  • UMWHAT

    it looks like they tried to undo the frog styling, but stopped half way

  • G20

    For all you complaining this cost 12k lol, some want CVT, premium trim lol

  • http://www.roberts.com.ph Roberts

    My girlfriend LOVED IT. She said she is so buying one of these when she starts work. I also think that it is a nice car for a young girl/woman.

  • Blitzkrieg

    Shocking fuel consumption for such a small car,9.2l per 100km in the last week,what a joke.
    Why bother with such puny motors with no power for non exsistant fuel savings.

  • Mike

    Thank you for a great review. I am thinking of selling my Getz for one of these…

  • franz chong

    a great car.I pay less to fill my Micra which is a K12 2010 series than I did with my old Tiida.

  • Sandy

    Drove one last week for a couple of days.
    Automatic transmission
    Wistling wind noise coming from the side mirrors.
    Terrible finish , look under the bonnet no spraypaint.
    Underpowered and if you drive it a bit spirited I got
    9.6ltrs per 100km.
    Lots of roadnoise.
    Don’t get me started on the looks, the roof says it all?
    It does everything but nothing really well
    All up a very boring little car.

    Spend the extra money and get a Suzuki instead.

  • James

    Looks like the new Susuki Alto, I think Susuki modled it on this.

  • al

    Ugly headlights. What an ugly fashion in modern cars to have headlights going all over the bonnet. How much are these to replace? Bring back proper vertical headlights IN FRONT of the bonnet NOT ON TOP OF THE BONNET. And where are the bumper bars? Fuel economy is a shocker. A beetle of the sixties used less.

    • Casseystonner

      If this car wasn’t so damn ugly I’d have one. The old model looked cool. Try as I might, I just can’t see any beauty in the new shape. What a pity. Nice handling, nice spec, nice price, horrid looks.

Nissan Micra Specs

ST-L : 1.5L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 4 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 5D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
NISSAN
Model
MICRA
Variant
ST-L
Series
K13
Year
2012
Body Type
5D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.5L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
136Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
75kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
77.2W/kg
Bore & Stroke
78x78.4mm
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
4 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.081
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
41
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
972
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1525mm
Length
3780mm
Width
1665mm
Ground Clearance
116mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
9
Front Rim Size
5.5x15
Rear Rim Size
5.5x15
Front Tyres
175/60 R15
Rear Tyres
175/60 R15
Wheel Base
2435
Front Track
1465
Rear Track
1465
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DRUM
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Driver
Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Entertainment
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-I-8
Country of Origin
THAILAND