Nissan AD 16 16v

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Keywords: car reviews, car review, car, nissan micra car review, new car reviews, car tests reviews, car safety review, car security
Description: Nissan Micra C+C 1.6 16v Essenza car review from the AA. Overall car review rating: 8 out 10. Value for money: 8 out 10.

    Folding roof mechanism is unobtrusive and powered action is quick and convenient Micra feels nimble around town but no less assured on the motorway Good levels of standard equipment across the C+C range Boot size is more akin to something from the next class up
    Cabin headroom is modest thanks to bulky roof mouldings Steering is very light and doesn't inspire confidence at speed With roof folded, access to the items in the boot is restricted Rear seats are for effect only - legroom is almost non-existent

Until only a few years ago, the concept of a convertible with a metal folding roof was the preserve of models that inhabited the prestige market. Now there are all manner of cars sporting such features - right down to the humble supermini. Peugeot and its 206 CC might be the most memorable example, but Nissan's attractive Micra C+C moves the game on significantly.

A company once famed for its worthy but dull vehicles, Nissan is no longer content with churning out faceless cars. If you need convincing, look no further than its selection of off-roaders. However, the same can be said about its Micra supermini - it's far from conventional.

More outgoing in the looks department than anything else on the market, the Micra is something you either like or you don't. That said, it's difficult to find someone who doesn't like the concept of a convertible car. In an aspirational context, it's always the model that attracts the most attention.

With the Micra C+C, Nissan has succeeded in dragging the spotlight away from some equally impressive rivals. A little bit longer and lower than the donor hatch, the C+C boasts the now expected metal folding roof. The three-section canopy folds neatly into the car's boot under electric power, affording occupants a refined, hood-down driving experience.

Another plus-point is the car's styling. Unlike earlier attempts by competitors, the Micra was always designed with a convertible in mind. As such, its boot doesn't look ungainly or over-large despite the need to accommodate the folded roof and electric mechanism.

Yes the Micra C+C has been designed and marketed with the fairer sex in mind but, even when taken in isolation, the car is fun to drive, practical and good value. Much of this praise should be directed at the donor supermini, which is a fundamentally good car in its own right. Factor in Nissan's attention to detail and the ease at which the C+C's roof can be raised or lowered, and you've got an impressive package.

For a car offering so much over the base hatchback, the convertible Micra C+C is good value for money. This is apparent not only in the car's level of standard equipment but also the modest running costs. Nissan products are usually very reliable and economical, and the Micra should be no different in the long run.

Starting at the rear, the Micra's boot is a generous size and easily swallows a considerable amount of shopping or soft travel bags. This space is reduced to approximately a third of that when the roof is retracted - you must pull across a retractable cover to ensure nothing is above the maximum load height. Sadly, with the roof down, the loading aperture is much smaller. In the cabin, the usual Micra cubbyholes are present, including one under the front passenger seat cushion. The rear seats serve as a useful storage shelf, as they're not much use for sitting on.

Twin front and side airbags are the order of the day in the Micra C+C. Rollover protection is key with any convertible, and this Micra gains a pair of rear protection hoops. Active systems run to the predictable anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution, with the top Essenza model getting an electronic stability programme (ESP).

For a car designed more for its visual impact, the Micra C+C acquits itself well to most situations. It's no driver's car, although such revelation is unlikely to deter buyers. The Micra works best when ambling around town. Its easy-going nature is evident from the moment you pull away. Considering the car's added bulk, neither engine feels strained. The 1.6 is a better if you regularly use motorways though, thanks to its more relaxed cruising abilities.

Nissan has never struggled in the quality department, but it's only in the last few years that its products have become more desirable. The firm's decision to focus on lifestyle off-roaders has raised its profile enormously. The same is true of the Micra C+C; the appeal of the compact convertible has risen of late, and cars with metal folding roofs are seen to be the most attractive.

With only two doors, this Micra offers good access for front seat occupants. The doors open nice and wide, while the roof height is no obstacle for people of average height. Rear seat access (and the seats themselves) would appear to be largely ornamental thanks to a distinct lack of legroom. At the rear, the car's boot is a generous size, but with the roof folded access to any luggage is restricted to a much smaller load aperture.

Standard fit is a combined radio and single CD player. The unit itself is easy to operate and boasts a clear display. Sound quality is also good - even with the roof down. The flagship Essenza model gets an in-dash CD changer.

You can go from a rather sober black to much brighter, lighter exterior colours - the choice is yours. Either way the Micra C+C looks good, although the pale metallic blue is a smart compromise. Inside, light plastics abound. While not good for keeping clean, the overall ambience is welcoming.



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