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Regaining market share in a sector where you once enjoyed a loyal and successful following is no easy feat and the latest, fifth-generation Nissan Micra has its work cut out.
Luckily, Nissan has a clear ambition for the new Micra; namely, that it should re-establish itself as one of the top ten sellers in the supermini segment, and compete head-to-head with the best and most popular rivals in the class - the likes of the Fiesta and Polo.
To do this, an impressive range of efficient engines was necessary and Nissan has recently added the 1.0-litre, 70hp three-cylinder entry level to the range, which it says has already accounted for a fifth of all new Micra sales since it went on sale. It joins the other two engines already offered in the range - a 0.9-litre, 90hp three-cylinder turbo petrol and the 1.5-litre, 90hp four-cylinder diesel.
The engine is mated with a five-speed manual transmission, resulting in a combined fuel economy of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 103g/km when running on 15 or 16in wheels, similar numbers to the Fiesta in the equivalent Style trim, which achieves 64.2mpg and 101g/km.
With more than half of all B-hatchback vehicles sold in the 61-100hp category, Nissan says the Micra is now perfectly positioned to meet the needs of small car consumers, and the 1.0-litre 71hp engine is available in three different grades, from entry level Visia to mid-range Acenta and top range Tekna.
The engine feels refined and is quiet enough at low revs. The fact it has three-cylinders becomes obvious when you push the revs past around 2500rpm though, meaning it's far more suited to that city driving superminis are often geared towards.
Although this new engine is predicted to take the majority of the sales, the 0.9-litre petrol offers better CO2 figures emitting 99g/km, however the newer engine is almost £1000 cheaper in P11D than the 0.9-litre which costs £14,940 in a like-for-like trim.
Key to the all-new Micra's appeal is the car's athletic and expressive exterior design, which moves the Micra name plate in a new direction. We took to the roads in Paris in the Acenta model and discovered that the contemporary look and premium feel continues inside, with a surprisingly high-quality cabin that boasts two-tone soft-touch materials as standard across the range.
The new model is wider and lower than ever before, with a wheelbase that's 75mm longer than its predecessor. It also features segment-leading interior space for front seat occupants, meanwhile boot space stands at 300 litres, ten litres more than the equivalent Fiesta.
Stable and responsive
On the road, the Micra feels stable in its handling, and nice and responsive when you put your foot down. It's not quite as comfortable as the Fiesta, or as engaging in terms of handling, but still proves itself to be an excellent all-rounder.
The new car boasts features that are not only new to Micra but also new to the segment, such as Intelligent Lane Intervention corrects unintentional lane drifting, while an Intelligent Around View Monitor camera system - as seen on the Qashqai and Juke crossovers - is also available on the Micra for the first time.
In terms of whole-life costs, the Micra holds a residual value of 34.6% compared with its Fiesta counterpart, which has lower residuals of 33.2%.
While it may not be top-of-the-class in terms of popularity, the Micra is a great new attempt from Nissan to get back on track and compete with its fierce supermini rivals. It's been on sale for a while now and has proved itself to be a genuine player - and we expect this new engine may increase its presence even more.
Nissan Micra 1.0-litre 70hp Acenta
P11D Price: £13,950
On sale: December 2017
Residual value: 34.6%
Service, maintenance & repair: £1,632
Fuel consumption: 61.4mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 103g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £44/£88
Boot space: 300-litres