Nissan Micra is a stylish little city car that looks just right in the crowded cities all over the world. Mitsubishi is master at small cars and the Micra is one of the best it has ever penned.
There’s pretty good interior space for a car in this class. Rear seat legroom is acceptable to most adults, but the right-rear seat space will depend on how tall the driver is.
The sloping roof can cause hassles for taller passengers. It’s sold as a five-door hatch, in a market segment where many lower priced hatches only have three.
Cleverly, the rear seat slides back and forward to let you juggle passenger / luggage room.
Imports of the Nissan Micra ceased in 2016, we still see plenty of good ones in the used car market as they are well built and are standing up to the test of time.
October 2010 saw the introduction of an all-new Micra, styling took a similar theme to its ancestors. A major facelift in April 2015 saw everything forward of the Micra’s windscreen renewed. The door and seat trims were restyled, as were the instruments and central cluster.
The Micra is generally used as a city car but can cruise on the open road and motorways without really feeling out of place. Corrugated dirt road can trouble the little car, which is not really a criticism as they were never intended to to be used for that.
On-road dynamics are safe and competent but it would take a stretch of the imagination to call the Micra exciting to drive. A good set of tyres can give it a surprisingly good feel.
Nissan Micra is simple to drive thanks to excellent all-round visibility and a tight turning circle. The steering is light and responsive as the little Nissan is engineered to suit European drivers.
The 2007 Micra is powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine that drives through a four-speed automatic so performance is on the dull side. Fourth gear can be locked out if you are travelling on hilly and/or winding roads. There is no option of a manual gearbox in this Micra model.
The new model of late 2010 has a choice of a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine, or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder. A manual gearbox was offered for the first time, it has five forward ratios. However, the automatic transmission is dragging the chain and still only had four speeds.
The 1.2 engine works fine around town, but you’re probably better off with the 1.5 if you plan touring in the country.
Nissan has been well established in Australia since the early 1960s (back then it as called Datsun). There are plenty of dealers, including good representation in country areas due to Nissan’s strength in 4WDs in Oz.
You may not find less-common spare parts for the little Micra sitting on shelves of Nissan dealers in the bush, but these can generally be shipped out within a couple of working s.
Parts prices and servicing costs are reasonably low.
A good home mechanic can do routine work on a Nissan Micra and the underbonnet area isn’t overly crowded for this class. Have a workshop manual on hand. Please leave all safety related items to professional mechanics.
Long term service records from a Nissan dealership or an independent professional with Nissan experience may well add to the price of a used Micra, but many feel this is a worthwhile investment. Keeping them up to date will help resale value when it comes time for you to move on.
Insurance costs for the Nissan Micra are about average for this class of car and we haven’t seen big variations in premiums between the major insurers. Still, it might be worth shopping around for your individual quotes.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Look for damage to the wheels and tyres caused by clumsy parking, the front-left is usually the first to suffer.
Check for crash repairs by looking for paint colours that don’t quite match and small droplets of paint on non-painted surfaces or panels that aren’t as smooth as they should be.
Make sure the timing belt has been replaced according to the maintenance schedule as a slipping belt can cause major damage within the engine.
Be sure that the engine starts easily and settles into a steady idle within seconds of firing up.
Manual gearboxes with noisy changes and/or that baulk on fast downshifts may be in need of an overhaul. Or it could be a clutch problem – check before you buy.
Listen for a clicking sound from the front wheel hubs when the Micra is driven on full steering lock in either direction. This indicates worn universal joints. It’s best to do the test at very low speeds, quiet carparks are ideal.
Expect to pay from a 2007 to 2012 Nissan Micra; $4000 to $7000 for a 2013 ST; $5500 to $9000 for a 2015 Ti or a 2017 ST; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2016 Ti; and $8000 to $12,000 for a 2017 Ti.
CAR BUYING TIP
If checking a used car at a dealership look at other cars on the lot. This can give you an insight to the quality of vehicles in which the dealer specialises.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/