This is an updated review for my original review "An underrated pocket rocket". That review was written when I was still a little over excited when I first got the car.
Firstly the car was cheap, I picked it up for £2,500 less than its price brand new. At £7,500, the car was good value, but at its full price of £10,000, I would say the car was overpriced.
The interior of the car is good, maybe a bit too bright for some peoples tastes, but I like it. It has a red leather covered steering wheel, that looks good, albeit maybe a little too big for my liking, and silver center console, with the rest of the dash being red and a sort of dark blue/grey colour. It is attractive, well built, and doesn't rattle. However, the interior trim seems to damage easily, with marks appearing on the door sills due to rain, and the dash is easy to scuff. The seats are comfortable, but mark very easily, and when marked they do not look very good, they also aren't very supportive, which is slightly dissapointing in a car with a "Sport" badge. The car is at least as roomy as a Fiesta, despite its small dimensions.
Exterior wise, the car is probably the best looking Micra to date, with 14" 5-spoke alloy wheels, foglights, and full colour coding. However, it could do with being a bit lower, as standard the car looks as if it sits too high. A set of mudflaps would also help improve the looks of the car somewhat.
Performance wise, the car is good for its engine size. Although marketed as a 1.4-litre car, it is really a 1.3 litre. It produces 82bhp which is average, but the car is one of the lightest in its class, and so feels more than this. From 0-60, the car is very quick, it can actually reach 60 in 9.9 seconds. From 30-70, the car takes 9.7 seconds through the gears. In some respects though, the car does not feel that quick, but proof of its performance comes with humbling more exotic machinery at the lights.
On the road, under normal driving conditions, the car doesn't feel all that quick though, you will need to work the engine very hard to get serious pace, thanks to tall, widely spaced ratios, probably there for economy purposes. If you don't use the gears, this car won't feel any quicker than your average 1.2. The engine comes alive after 4,500rpm though, with a noticable kick up the jacksie. In first and second gears the car is quick, in third, it starts to lose the plot a bit, 4th is acceptable, and 5th makes for relaxed motorway cruising, registering 3,000rpm at 70mph.
However, if you are not frightened of giving the car some serious revs, then it will travel at a surprising rate: this car has out-accelerated 1.4 Corsa's and the like. However this is not a car to just leave it in gear and just expect it to pull, because thanks to its pint sized torque, it will not pull hard at low revs, even though its torque peaks at 2,800rpm, you will still need to rev to at least 4,000rpm in each gear to have a spirited pace. This means travelling up to 40mph in 2nd.
Ride and handling are far, far improved from previous incarnations of the Micra. Yes sure, there is understeer, although its not terminal as it is in earlier Micra's. Its quite capable of blatting down country lanes at speeds well in excess of 90mph. It feels nervous though, but all it needs is a bit of trust, this is a capable car. The steering offers excellent feedback, and lets you know exactly whats going on. You can provoke lift off oversteer if you want it, but you will have to be driving extremely aggressively to makes this happen.
Ride quality is pretty smooth actually for the size of the car, smoothing out bumps nicely, and unlike older Micra's, motorway stability is no longer a problem, the car feeling planted in all, but the most windy conditions.
Day to day this is an easy car to live with, offering good fuel economy if you can manage to drive it slowly (which I can't). It can offer 45mpg if driven gently, but have a heavy right foot, and watch this drop into the 20s!
Overall, despite its faults, and Nissan's incompetence, this car is a hoot to drive, just remember, as with all Jap sports cars, it needs revs, and lots of them.