‘A revolution’ is how Nissan’s top brass describe the fifth generation of the Micra, a model which, in its 34 years of history, has sold over seven million units – half of which in Europe. The goals were clear: to break into the European B segment top ten by focusing on style, quality, dynamics and connectivity.

The style project of the car (which is built in Flins, France) looked to Italy in particular for guidelines, where the B segment accounts for over 36% of the market.

While the Micra has grown in length and width (3.99 and 1.74 metres respectively), maximum height is actually lower (1.45 m). Accentuating the new proportions is a very expressive style with sculpted volumes and clear-cut lines. The whole look has taken a sportier turn and this will undoubtedly attract more male customers to a model which, traditionally, has always been more popular among women. Character-defining touches include the ‘open V’ grille, the short bonnet and the sloping roofline contrasted by a beltline that rises towards the tail.

The more grown-up character of the new generation is also evident in an interior designed to offer space (the luggage compartment is also bigger, at 300 litres), quality and a more pleasant on-board experience for both driver and occupants. The interior meets all of these goals in full, as we saw for ourselves in a test drive which also revealed it to be extraordinarily quiet. Only a 5 door body style is offered, in a choice of five spec levels: Visia, Visia+, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna. The equipment offered includes the Nissan Connect infotainment system with 7” screen as standard on N-Connecta and Tekna variants. High-tech safety features include lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, a 360° camera and Intelligent Ride Control and Intelligent Trace Control to keep vehicle dynamics in check. The sophisticated Bose hi-fi audio system (with speakers integrated in the headrests) is a first for this segment. The three engines on offer – a 90 bhp 0.9 litre 3 cylinder turbo petrol, a 73 bhp 1.0 litre petrol and a 90 bhp 1.5 litre turbodiesel – are all mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox.