Micra has always had 16-valve units – quite a achievement for a small car in 1993. The 1.0, 1.3 and the more recent 1.4 offer outstanding fuel economy, reasonable refinement and all-round flexibility. 1.3 and 1.4 are better for a mixture of town and motorway driving and are brisker than the 1.0. Their durability shows up in service records: six-figure mileages are normal with proper care.
And as there is a timing chain rather than a cam belt, there's no worry about belt breakage or replacement.
The gear change is slick and handling is safe, but pre-1996 models suffer from body roll; anti-roll bars from 1996 onwards cured this. Steering can lack feel, especially on models with power assistance. Although nippy, and agile around town, the 1.0-litre Micra is a limited motorway performer, and the fairly tall body is affected by crosswinds.
The curvily compact body contains plenty of head- and legroom, and is comfortable for tall drivers and adult rear passengers – at least on shorter journeys. The roomy, light cabin has supportive seats and a spacious load area. Trim and layout look dated now, although everything is superbly screwed together for a budget car.