Written on: 04/04/2001 by Richard M.
Lovely 1 litre engine, gearbox, reliability, fuel economy. Just does everything so well overall - no real faults, painless to own. Plain image - not favoured by boy racer types - does not attract attention
Slightly "cheap" looking plasticy interior, occasional squeek or rattle, but nothing of any real concern anywhere. Paintwork quality OK but not up to VW standards.
If you're considering the current British built Micra, then go for the 1 litre - it performs remarkably well and is more economical and cheaper to insure than the 1.3. Has the best small 16-Valve engine available which pulls well and revs sweetly and is matched to a super-smooth 5 speed gearbox. Good torque for a small engined car and you notice it on the road. Nice to drive with safe, confident handling - brakes are very efficient. Easy to park in tight spaces. Upright interior is spacious and makes good use of the compact dimensions. Reasonably sized boot too. Excellent driving position, but not too keen on the offset pedal arrangement. Fuel consumption is a real plus point - mine does low to mid 50's mpg on shortish runs! Other running costs are about as low as you will achieve with any vehicle nowadays, and group 3 insurance is welcome.
Spot-on for reliability, as all surveys will prove. I've had no problems so far, leaking rear wheel cylinder apart (not unreasonable on a 5 year old car). Just remember to change oil every 3000 miles (fairly simple on these) and use a good semi-synthetic 10w-40. Remember, these units have a timing chain - far superior to a belt but it is vital you maintain it with a fresh supply of oil.
If you buy a Micra you are getting a good, well enginered product which comes with the reassurance of great reliability thrown in. It may not have head-turning looks, but then if you value image and appearance over substance then that's your problem. What you get with these is a competant vehicle that will serve you well. Second hand prices are keen now. Buy a good 'un and look after it - it wont let you down.