Road Test: Nissan Micra (1998-2002)
Nissan Micra 1.4i Sport+
by Paul Birkett
I bought one of these a few months ago as I wanted a cheap and relatively sporty car, and have found that it is very underrated.
First, 82 bhp doesn't sound a lot, but then the Micra doesn't weigh very much, so its performance can be astonishing in the right circumstances. The claimed 0-60 time is 11.9 seconds, but it definitely feels quicker than that. I have regularly cracked it in just over 10 seconds, which surprises a lot of bigger, sportier cars at the traffic lights. Just give the engine a really hard thrashing - at least it's smooth.
It has long gearing which generally means you have to use the lowest gear available for acceleration, but the power is there if you are willing to give the engine some welly, and it can be hustled along quite quickly. At motorway speeds, however, the Micra begins to feel a little slow, and a downchange is required to make more rapid progress at these speeds.
Handling is fun, if not amazing, on account of its fairly skinny tyres. It will hold on surprisingly well if pushed, but understeer can prove a problem in the wet, even under only mild provocation.
The interior is about what you would expect on a car of its price: leather sports steering wheel, rev-counter, silver-finish dashboard, electric windows, twin airbags etc etc.Overall, I would conclude that this model is quite entertaining for a Micra, but could be improved - most notably with fatter tyres, which would improve grip tremendously. A bit more low-end pulling power wouldn't go amiss either, but it is noticeably better in this respect than the previous 1.3 model, which had a distinct lack of balls at low revs.However, given its group 4 insurance and 47 mpg economy, it certainly isn't a bad buy, especially if, like me, you pick up a six-month-old example for less than £7500.
pretty cool stumbling across that