Nissan Micra: Thirty-seven years and counting

Jonathan Brown

22 May 2019, Blog Post

In 1982 along came a revolutionary new car called the Datsun Micra (K10). It was the replacement for the very popular Datsun Cherry.

The Micra was a small car introduced to compete with the Toyota Starlet and Daihatsu Charade. It launched in the UK a year later than in Japan in 1983. Soon after launch, the Datsun name disappeared in favour of Nissan and interestingly just one Datsun badged Micra K10 remains registered in the UK. It sported a 1.0-litre engine producing just 50hp and unusually for a supermini of that time, had a five-speed manual gearbox or four speed automatic.

A modern car by 1983 standards; it was small and economical, and quickly became a popular selling model in the UK. In part, the economy was due to the Micra having a very low body weight and high gearing, although some of the weight saving was attributed to minimum amounts of insulation; this meant that early cars were rather noisy rides. Competitor cars also launched in 1983 were the Vauxhall Nova, Peugeot 205, Fiat Uno and the second generation Ford Fiesta.

In 1985 and again in 1987 Micra had minor face-lifts and the addition of a 1.2-litre power unit, however visually very little changed and it was almost impossible to see the changes brought about by those two updates.

In 1992, the square look gave way to the much more rounded K11 Micra. The second generation was fitted with a higher power output 1.0-litre (54hp) engine or a 1.3-litre (74hp), and a 1.5-litre diesel variant. It won European car of the year in 1993 with some models even having power steering!

The Micra K11 had two face-lifts in 1996 and again in 1998 by which time all models finally had power steering. Although the overall look had changed very little, the most obvious change was the introduction of body coloured bumpers and door mirrors and updated lights and front grille.

In the early 2000’s The K11 looked outdated and the third generation (K12) launched in 2002. Just two years later came the first facelift; most notable was the change in front indicators, to clear lamps.

In 2007, Nissan introduced more changes with the introduction of the K12C Micra. The most notable change was the revised front Grille that no longer incorporated indicators.

The Fourth Generation (K13) model introduced in 2010 came with huge styling changes. Launched with a choice of petrol engines, 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre, 79hp and 98hp engines, it also received supercharger treatment with a 1.2-litre engine giving 98hp, and a 1.6, 106hp. The fourth generation ran until 2017, with a face-lift in 2014, which again focussed on a revision of the grille and lights and of course, some interior trim changes and upgrades. The Fourth Generation model sold well around the world; however, UK sales were less favourable than previous generations. 

The Fifth generation (K14) launched in 2017. Although it shares the platform from K13 Micra, that is the only similarity. Offered with a 900cc turbo charged 90hp or a 1.0-litre 71hp and a 1.5-litre diesel 90hp unit, it received huge styling changes with an all-new more angular shape and specification improvements. Micra residual values (RVs) have been reasonably stable over the past twelve month as can be seen in the following chart showing RVs expressed as a percentage of original cost new price.

Nissan Micra RVs

The Micra has transformed some might say, from caterpillar to butterfly. A fitting design to take Micra into its fourth decade of production.

About the author

Jonathan Brown

Jonathan BrownUK Car Editor

Originating from Farnham in Surrey, Jonathan was educated at the Guildford and Farnborough Tech Colleges before he acquired his expertise in manufacturer and dealer network liaison. Jonathan is one of many who has built a colourful and lengthy career with Glass’s having joined the company back in 1989.