Those that know me know that I’m a man of many passions. Yes, cars are one of them, but so is 1970s sci-fi, American Football, the adventures of Hercule Poirot and the search for the perfect crisp.
I also like birds. No, I’m not turning all blokey, I genuinely and quite literally like birds. The ones with the beaks. So much so that I am a member of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and regularly don my binoculars for a spot of twitching at my local wetlands centre in Washington.
So it was on a beautiful, spring day that I road tested the new Nissan Micra, deciding to take it to the centre on my lunch break. Any excuse. (As I say, I really like birds).
The journey incorporates a stretch of road that really allowed me to give the Micra an intense workout, with long, surprisingly empty motorways and roundabouts that allowed the car to really soar.
Much has been made of the shape of the new Micra and rightly so as it’s here that the revolution really begins, with the bodywork swapping rounded curves and previous VW Beetle –esque aesthetics for a spikier look and the kind of cheekbones that Cher clearly pays her surgeon a lot of money for.
After years of looking super cute but a little chunky, the Micra now wants to be taken seriously. It’s been away for a few years, worked out, got a spiritual slogan tattooed on its arm and is currently being papped on a beach somewhere with Taylor Swift. It’s Calvin Harris.
But how does it look inside? Well a quick gander revealed surprisingly convincing faux leather, colour-coded side panels and stylish seats. Those looking for a small car that punches above its weight in terms of style will find that the new Micra definitely fits the bill.
The version I took out was an automatic 0.9L petrol IG-T n-connecta model, which included a BOSE sound system, a built-in sat-nav, Siri voice control via Apple CarPlay and a DAB radio. It’s an impressive mix of standard equipment for this model and certainly not what I was expecting when I was told I’d be test driving a Micra.
While taller drivers may struggle (this is a small car after all), space certainly isn’t compromised for the rest of us. Yes, the back seats can prove a tad snug as a result of the new design and that sloping roofline, but for those looking to use the back seats to throw their shopping on or ferry around their young brood, the interior is very accommodating. The boot is also an adequate size at 3,000L, which is probably enough to accommodate say, a swan or, at a push, a Dalmatian pelican.
But how does it handle? Has the new Micra retained the supreme driveability and charismatic pluck that helped it make the super mini category such a competitive market place? Of course it has, and then some. The car had plenty of fizz on the motorway, thanks to a turbo-charged engine which went above and beyond what I expected from a 0.9L. However, it’s the city that provides the perfect habitat, with the Micra’s inch perfect steering and helpful parking technology making light work of any concrete jungle.
It’s also just bloody good fun to drive. The steering is responsive, it doesn’t get into a flap when you drive it at speed, everything is in the right place and there’s added luxury where you least expect it.
This is no dead duck.