If at first you don’t succeed

Nissan Micra
Nissan Micra

With slicker exterior styling, a much-improved interior, more equipment and better value for money, Nissan’s latest MK4 Micra supermini has turned over a new leaf.

Some would say that there was quite some scope for improvement and they wouldn’t be wrong, but the truth is that this vastly improved Micra has quietly morphed into a wholly respectable supermini contender.

Of all the aspects of the original version of this MK4 Micra, the one that probably needed the least work was the way it went down the road.

It was always good fun to drive and its light weight gave it some pretty nimble reflexes.

The latest model doesn’t change a whole lot here, instead tuning the details.

The big draw remains the DIG-S engine and this is really the model you need to be targeting. The heart of the Micra DIG-S is a direct injection engine teamed with a supercharger – hence the car’s name: Direct Injection Gasoline-Supercharger.

The Micra’s most obvious changes are to the exterior. The entire ‘face’ has changed with a redesigned grille reestablishing a stronger link to Nissan’s corporate look with the familiar circular badge ‘held’ within a chromed extended V-shaped motif. The bonnet, wings, headlamps and front bumper are also changed. And where fitted, the front fog lamps have been given a bit more prominence with chrome edging.

The rear features a resculpted bumper, LED tail lamps and a panel at the bottom of the tailgate.

The fresher look is complemented by different 15 and 16-inch alloy wheel designs.

The colour palette now includes pearl metallic Pacific Blue and metallic Platinum Sage. These join the eight existing colours.

The big question that hangs over this car is whether these changes are enough.

What this latest Micra does represent is a big step forward compared to its predecessor.

That was a car which was fun to drive, economical and reliable but which possessed next to no polish, no slickness and no reassurance that you’d bought a supermini able to duke it out with the class best.

A heavily revised interior helps in that regard and the exterior styling changes do much to reinforce the perception of quality.

The Micra’s chances aren’t going to be transformed overnight but this is now a car you could realistically recommend to somebody who doesn’t want to follow the crowd.

I think Nissan would call that a result.