The new Micra brings sporty styling inside and out, but little power to go with it

The Nissan Micra started life in the Japanese market in October of 1982 with the purpose of Competing against the Honda City and the Toyota Starlet. It was also a replacement for the ever-growing Nissan Cherry which has officially outgrown the supermini segment at the time. Over four generations, the Micra hadn’t changed much – it maintained a bubbly-like, somewhat boring appearance. But, for the 2016 Model year, Nissan ushered in a new generation. Debuting at the Paris Auto Show, the new Micra shared absolutely nothing with the previous models, except for its name. It comes complete with a new, modernized exterior and interior design, a handful of advanced safety technologies, and the option of two, 90-horsepower engines with a 73-horsepower gasoline engine available shortly after launch.

When Nissan pulled the covers off of the Micra in Paris, we here at TopSpeed were quite shocked at what Nissan had done to this bubbly little car. The days of round headlights and boring, lackluster design are long gone. Originally unable to compete with a lot of other vehicles in its segment, the Micra is now able to take on the likes of the Ford Fiesta and the Honda Jazz with pride, and it looks damn good doing it too. So, with that said, let’s take a look at Nissan’s revamped Micra and the newest threat to the supermini segment.

Updated 10/04/2016: We added all the official details and specs on the new generation Nissan Micra.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Nissan Micra.


2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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After the last couple rounds of spy shots, we knew the Micra was going to be a huge departure from the outgoing model, but there was so much padding and camo that we didn’t know how big of a departure. As it turns out, all that padding was there for good reason – Nissan was hiding a gem in the rough. To put it simply, everywhere you look there is something new or different. Up front, the Nissan V-motion grille is larger and more evident than ever. Instead of having a small grille up top and a large air dam below, the new Micra takes on a completely different look. The chrome V is much larger and wider. The plastic louvers in the upper grille also carry the flattened V shape. Down below there is still a large grille, but it is integrated into the insert that is positioned around the chrome V.

Instead of having a small grille up top and a large air dam below, the new Micra takes on a completely different look.

The hood still has those aggressive and muscular body lines that integrate into the fenders and side profile, but there are more pronounced than even and look a little mean. The headlights are also new, now shorter and wider, they integrate into the front fascia with style and feature integrated running lights on the inner corners. Down below, the fog lights are now more rectangular and are positioned a little farther inward than before. Aggressive styling at the bottom of the fascia below the fog lights rounds out the front end quite nicely.

Moving over to the side, it’s clear that the Micra is an all-new vehicle that is worthy of this generational evolution. Those aggressive lines on the hood curve steeply onto the fenders and the door before taking a sharp turn in the middle of the front door at which point it shoots straight back to the corner of the wraparound taillights. The side view mirrors are now mounted farther down on the door instead of at the corner of the front window. As such, there’s now a small stationary piece of glass ahead of the front window. The back doors are also completely different. The waistline below the glass curves upward steeply about midway back. The large stationary glass in the rear door is now much smaller, while the main door glass is now much larger. Instead of the rear door having a weird curvature in the rear, it’s now much straighter and very refreshing to look at. Down below, the body line above the side skirts has been refined and now as a 3D effect, adding even more fresh styling to the side profile.

As you move around to the rear of the car, it’s clear that Nissan is targeting the small, hot-hatch market – at least as far as looks go, anyway. The top of the hatch features a bold overhang that casts a shadow on the rear glass. The lower portion of the hatch now has commanding body lines that add a lot of character to the rear end. The taillights protrude from the body in 3D fashion and take the shape of a StarTrek combadge laid on its side. The reverse lights are integrated into the center of the lights. The upper body line on the rear fascia is integrated with the bottom lip of the rear hatch, effectively linking both together. The lower portion of the rear fascia now gets a wide black insert with a horizontal vent positioned just below it. A small reflector or low-mount brake light is positioned in the center of the lower fascia. All told, it’s an evolutionary design, and Nissan clearly pulled out all the stops when it came to redesigning the Micra.


2017 Nissan Micra Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Now that we’ve seen the most recent spy shots of the Micra, we asked our artist to work his magic to show us what might be under all that camo. As you can see, we expect the Micra to have that dominate Nissan grille with the large chrome outline. Furthermore, the front fascia will be rather aggressive with the fog lamps recessed into the fascia, and the headlights will be long, thinner units that feature a Z-shaped LED strip between the two bulb units.

On the sides, a smooth body line elevates from the front fascia until it turns toward the rear and curves ever so smoothly with the contour of the front wheel arch. That body line terminated just below the side view mirror, where another body line swoops downward and travels toward the rear, running parallel with most of the waistline. As with most of our renderings, we don’t have a view of the back, but our rendering does depict wraparound taillights – a cue inspired by the spy shots we have on file. All told, we’re looking forward to seeing how well our rendering compares to the Micra when it rolls out from underneath its sheet.

Side-by-Side comparison

2017 Nissan Micra
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2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Interior
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2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Interior
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Nissan didn’t focus on just the exterior, as the interior is also a huge departure from the outgoing model. The dashboard has evolved to include smaller, rectangular HVAC vents above the center stack. The dash itself now has an actual face, in this case, accented in orange to match the exterior of the car. A circular vent sits on each end of the dash, just like on the outgoing model, but there are now more pronounced and feature bright chrome surrounds. In the center of the dash sits a seven-inch display that provides access to the audio system, navigation, downloadable apps, and Siri voice control through Apple CarPlay connectivity. Audio output is handled by a new six-speaker Bose system that was developed specifically for the Micra. There is a tweeter in each A-pillar, Bose Super65 speakers in the front doors, and a pair of speakers built into the driver’s headrest. As is the usual case with Bose products, official specifications of the audio system aren’t available.

Nissan claims that the cars extended width and wheelbase leads to cabin space being “among the best in class.”

Down below that infotainment display sits the heater and A/C controls with a small digital display. Below that sits a small pocket just ahead of the gear shifter. The center console here is accented in orange as well, with the gear shifter surrounded by a silver insert that matches the inserts on the steering wheel spokes. Speaking of the steering wheel, it also has a flat bottom, further increase the sporty feel inside the cabin. Ahead of the steering wheel sits an all-new instrument cluster that brings the Micra into the modern ages of driver information. Instead of having a massive speedometer right in the middle, Nissan went with a more refined look that includes a tachometer on the left, speedo on the right, and a small vertically oriented TFT display screen in the center. The backlighting of the instrument cluster helps to give the interior a more modern look as well.

Nissan has yet to release images of the rear seats, but the front seats are definitely sporty in nature. Accented with orange on this example, the center of the seats are deep black while a perforated gray material makes up the bolsters. The backrests look to offer phenomenal support, while the seat cushions are rather flat. I expect the rear seats to fold down to offer increase cargo area, but we’ll learn more about that closer to the Micra’s official launch. For now, all we can tell you is that Nissan claims that the cars extended width and wheelbase leads to cabin space being “among the best in class.”

Outside of what we’ve already discussed, safety technology is major in the new Micra. While optional in most cases, the Micra still offers a fair amount of safety innovations like emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, which is a first for any Nissan vehicle in Europe. There’s also an intelligent around view camera, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist, and blind spot warning.

Side-by-Side comparison

2017 Nissan Micra
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2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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Nissan hasn’t said a whole lot about what really motivates the new Micra, but at launch, there will be a 0.9-liter, gasoline-powered three-cylinder and a 1.5-liter, diesel-powered mill. Both deliver 90 horsepower. After launch, a 1.0-liter, naturally aspirated, gasoline engine will join the lineup with a whopping 73 horsepower. Nissan claims that the new Micra will stand out in the crowd with agile performance, but it’s hard to imagine even a small hatchback with less than 100 horsepower offering a very thrilling experience. The look of the interior and exterior makes up for it a bit, but you could really sum it up as “all look and no go.”

At launch, there will be a 0.9-liter, gasoline-powered three-cylinder and a 1.5-liter, diesel-powered mill.

As far as performance is concerned, Nissan has yet to reveal any relevant numbers. I wouldn’t expect to see very much in terms of a 0-60 mph sprint, and top speed will probably be around 100 mph at best. The car does include active ride control for “enhanced ride comfort” and active trace control which Nissan claims to “combine driver enjoyment and reassurance.” Again, we’re talking about a car with less than 100 horsepower, so I can’t imagine that understeer or sharp handling is really on the mind of anyone who wanders into a Nissan dealership and gets behind the wheel. These two features were, however, only available on the Nissan Qashqai and the X-Trail up to this point, so the Micra has that going for it. Greater steering feel and response can be afforded by the available electric power steering system.


2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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Nissan has yet to release pricing for the new Micra, but we should hear more about that closer to its launch. It will be built in Renaults Europe plant in Flins, and will hit dealerships in Europe starting in March of 2017. Stay tuned for pricing closer to the car’s official launch.


Ford Fiesta

2014 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior
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The Ford Fiesta will be one of the primary competitors of the new Micra, and comes with a range of engines including a 1.0-liter EcoBoost, a 1.5-liter TDCi diesel, and a 1.6-liter TDCi diesel. Power output ranges anywhere between 79 horsepower and 123 horsepower, with the 1.5-liter diesel offering 74 horsepower and the 1.6-liter diesel offering 94 horsepower. The performance-oriented ST trim offers a 1.6-liter with 198 horsepower for those who really want the little car to go. Pricing ranges from £10,145 for the base model up to £19,545 for the ST-3 model. At current exchange rates the Fiesta ranges between $14,600 and $28,130.

Read our full review on the Ford Fiesta here.

Honda Jazz

2015 Honda Fit High Resolution Exterior
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The Honda Jazz is known as the Honda Fit here in the U.S. and Japan, and has only been around since 2001. The newest iteration came to be in 2013 when Honda debuted a heavily revised model with new styling and a new interior. In most European markets, the Fit is only available with a 1.3-liter four-cylinder that produces 101 horsepower and 91 pound-feet of torque. At the time of this writing, the car can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed semi-auto. Pricing starts out around $19,400, which puts it in line with where the higher trim levels of the of the Micra will sit. With that price point, however, the Fit comes standard with features that you won’t find in the lower trim levels of the Micra, including cruise control, idle stop, and a rear view camera.

Read our full review on the Honda Jazz here.


2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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The interior and exterior design of the Micra is rather impressive considering what the outgoing model brings to the table. There’s lots of new technology, and the car itself is much sportier and more inviting than ever. The Micra will make a perfect economy or city car, however, the extreme looks of the interior and exterior could mislead you to believe there is something powerful lurking under the hood. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Even for a small car such as this, 90 horsepower isn’t anything to write home about and getting on the highway will be excessively boring. I’ll file this one under the “all looks and no go category” but at least you can look and feel good while going slow. If we could just convince Nissan to give this car some extra go – maybe to the tune of 150 horsepower – the Micra might be the perfect mini hatch.

  • Leave it
    • Still too small for my taste
    • All looks but no go
    • No high-performance variant

Update History

Updated 07/21/2016: The upcoming Nissan Micra was caught testing one more time, this time wearing less camouflage than in the past. Its getting even more obvious that the new generation will get a revolutionary design when compared to the current Micra.

Update 5/20/2016: Based on the recent spy shots and input from our team, we tapped into our resident artist to create a rendering of what the upcoming Micra might look like without camo. Check the exterior section for the details.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
About the author

Press Release

Photo Credit: Nissan

Nissan’s Micra Gen5, unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, is a complete redefinition of what Micra means… and is as audacious as it is revolutionary.

Targeted for Europe, the world’s largest hatchback market, the Micra Gen5 is styled to turn heads, with a dramatic body length-defining character line. It is lower, wider and longer than its predecessors and has more interior space. It also has advanced new downsized turbo drivetrains, an agile chassis and a full complement of innovative safety features.

“When the first Micra appeared more than 30 years ago, it marked a revolution in the small hatchback segment and opened a new chapter for Nissan. The fifth generation Micra is just as revolutionary, and will raise expectations for what a hatchback can, and should, deliver to its customers,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Nissan Motor Company, “Following in the wheel tracks of distinctive cars like Qashqai and Juke, the latest Micra reinforces Nissan’s position as a leader in automotive design. It also shows our intent to compete right at the top of Europe’s B-segment market – the largest and most competitive B-segment market in the world.”

2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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Remaining faithful to the Sway Concept unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Micra Gen5 fully embodies Nissan’s latest design language with signature design cues and emotional body sculpting. Design cues include the distinctive V-motion grille, from where the sharp-edged character line runs through to the rear end, boomerang-shaped lights, and the floating roof - another Nissan design signature - that creates an airy feeling. Other features include rear door handles hidden in the C-pillars and an extended roofline that incorporates a spoiler, benefiting the car’s aerodynamic performance and aesthetics.

The dramatic looks are matched by a selection of 10 sophisticated and vivid exterior colours, including Energy Orange. Additional exterior and interior personalisation options allow for the creation of 125 different variations, enabling owners to stamp their own style on their new Micra.

Much attention has been paid to driver comfort, with a lower driving position for a more secure driving feel. It’s easy for all drivers to achieve the perfect driving position thanks to greater seat adjustment, the fully adjustable steering wheel and the optimal positioning of the pedals and shift lever. The car’s extended width and wheelbase means cabin space is among the best in class. The gliding-wing shaped dashboard gives the cabin a light, sleek and spacious impression.

2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Interior
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Technology on board

This Micra Gen5 is the first in Nissan’s B-segment line-up to offer such an extensive set of advanced safety features, available across all grades, bringing Nissan Intelligent Driving to life. Usually found in larger cars, available technologies include Lane Departure Prevention, a segment first. Intelligent Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition, a first for Nissan vehicles in Europe, as well as Intelligent Around View Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist and Blind Spot Warning. Together, these advanced safety features are the building blocks for Autonomous Driving and are an integral part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

An exclusive feature of Micra Gen5 is the all-new six-speaker Bose® Personal® sound system, developed through close collaboration with Nissan. This first-of-its-kind sound system is optimised for the driver, with two Bose UltraNearfield™ speakers, combined with Bose PersonalSpace™ Virtual Audio Technology, built into the driver seat headrest for a remarkably immersive listening experience. Additional passengers benefit from new Bose Super65 speakers in each of the front doors, producing powerful low-note performance, and tweeters in each A-pillar for sonic clarity.

Micra Gen5 comes with a 7-inch full colour central display, providing access to the audio system, satellite navigation, mobile phone, downloadable apps and Siri voice control via Apple CarPlay.

2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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Chassis and drivetrain

Micra Gen5 features include Active Ride Control for enhanced ride comfort, and Active Trace Control for reduced understeer and sharper handling – combining driver enjoyment and reassurance – innovations only available on Nissan’s Qashqai and X-Trail until now. A new brushless electric power steering system – for greater steering feel and response - is also available.

Much attention has been paid to reducing noise in the cabin. Improvements include outstanding noise insulation and optimisation of the car’s aerodynamic performance. Exceptional aero efficiency has been achieved thanks to the combined roof and side spoiler. As a result, the new Micra has achieved a Cd of 0.29 – top level for a hatchback.

Engine efficiency has also been a key objective in the development of the Micra Gen5. At launch, the car will offer the choice of a 0.9-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel, both developing 90hp.The range will be joined soon after by a naturally aspirated 73hp 1.0-litre petrol engine. These engines, together with efficient aerodynamics, mark another step forward in Nissan Intelligent Power.

2017 Nissan Micra High Resolution Exterior
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The Micra Gen5 will revolutionise customer expectations in the B-segment by introducing a unique blend of striking design, new, intuitive technology and confident, agile performance. Its striking design and bold colour options will make it stand out from the crowd, while its interior roominess and advanced features will appeal to buyers looking for more from their B-segment hatchback, or to those downsizing.

The new Nissan Micra will be built in Europe at the Renault plant in Flins, France, as part of the Renault Nissan Alliance. Sales will start in Europe from March 2017.

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