This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Nissan Micra Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

There's a wide range of engines in the Micra, starting with the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol. It offers good fuel economy of 48mpg but with just 64bhp it can feel out of its depth away from town and in Summer 2005 it was dropped from the line-up. The 1.2-litre with 78bhp suits the Micra better and is capable of short motorway jaunts as well as city driving and from late 2007 a more economical (but less powerful) 65bhp version was added to the range.

The 1.4-litre with 86bhp is a good option if you intend to cover longer distances as it doesn't need to be worked as hard as the two smaller engines and isn't as noisy at speed. However it's the 1.5 diesel unit that is the star of the line-up. Available in two outputs of either 65bhp or 82bhp, both offer serious economy of more than 60mpg along with punchy performance - the more powerful version is especially good and will happily eat up motorway miles with minimal fuss.

From Summer 2005, Nissan added a bit of spice to the Micra range with the launch of the 160SR but despite the name it doesn't actually have 160bhp - instead it uses a 1.6-litre engine with a more modest 110bhp which delivers warm rather than hot hatch performance. It's still enjoyable to drive though and it's easy to exploit the power for maximum fun.

The Micra is ideal for someone who has just passed their test or is learning to drive and it's easy to manoeuvre nature makes it a favourite with more mature owners too (although this hasn't done too many favours for its image). The light steering makes it a doddle to park while a snappy gearchange and responsive controls mean it can be good fun too.

Push it hard and there's understandable body roll through corners - the Micra is set up to be comfortable rather than for sporty performance. Town drivers will appreciate the tight turning circle though, while the excellent ride smoothes out road imperfections with ease.