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Nissan Micra engines, driving and performance

How does the Nissan Micra drive?

You're unlikely to step out of a Micra commending its entertaining handling. There's no feel and minimal weight to the steering, and little sense of the car feeling agile between corners. However, drive at a less frantic pace and you'll find the Micra is mostly easy and fuss-free on the road, with little guesswork required to predict how the car will respond to inputs.

It's fair to point out that the Micra feels like it's been set up for comfort, which it mostly achieves, but cars like the Peugeot 208 and Ford Fiesta demonstrate that it's possible to have a fairly athletic driving experience without compromising the overall ride quality.

Is the Nissan Micra comfortable?

For a short and affordable car, the Micra is commendably comfortable on the road. The suspension absorbs most road impacts before they get to the cabin, so you won't find yourself wincing over potholes or speed bumps.

It also has a good stab at ironing out the higher-frequency 'patter' you'll feel over less-than-smooth road surfaces – something many small cars struggle with. It won't isolate you like a true luxury car, but you'll be able to cover many miles in the Micra before needing a break – unless you're sat in the back seats.

The engine only makes itself known around town with the odd grumble as you're pulling away, before fading into the background at higher speeds. Wind noise and suspension noise are also fairly well contained, but tyre roar was noticeable over harsh road surfaces.

What’s the best Nissan Micra engine to get?

If you're shopping Micras from the last few years, you'll have just the 1.0-litre turbo petrol to choose from. That's no bad thing because the engine makes a decent slug of power when the turbo kicks in – comfortably powering the Micra all the way to fast motorway speeds without too much strain.

We did hear and feel the odd grumble when pootling about at urban speeds. That's not unheard of for little three-cylinder engines, but it was more noticeable in the Micra than in similar units from Ford and Peugeot. You learn to work around this behaviour by adjusting how you let the clutch out, but it's a slight duff note from an otherwise well-behaved engine.

Nissan Micra performance

This is no performance car and it's not trying to be. Nevertheless, the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine is quite gutsy once you get the turbo into its boost threshold. It feels more insistent than the 11-second on-paper 0-62mph time suggests, and punchier than the equivalent 100hp engine offered in the Ford Fiesta.

You do have to be mindful of the turbo boost threshold, however. If you let the engine revs fall below this point and then ask for a surge of power, there's very little acceleration to be had and you'll need to swap down to a lower gear to get the turbo spun up to speed again.

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