Another shift slots home like a vertical missile firing across the tight gate of the transmission. In the next nanosecond my left foot flies upwards like a loafer-clad leopard to cause clutch plates to collide like so many distant meteors and drive once more pulses and paws its way through the very heart of the car as we continue in our ball-out quest to make it to Kettering on time.
The mission may be massive but the car is not, as evinced by the faux metal moniker affixed to its short and shapely rump: Micra. Yes, this is the brand new version of Nissan’s bulbous baby, re-tooled and re-mixed for 21st Century v2.0 and assembled not by the stottie scoffing stalwarts of Sunderland but built by the bhaji boys of India. Question is, have they got curried away?
First impressions are of a beige trimmed passenger zone as airy as a spacious summer meadow. From wheel to a/c, all controls are exactly where you’d expect them, finding the driver’s focus and firing it forwards over that bug faced bonnet. But interior ergonomics are not what concerns us here. This micro Micra might have the style to seduce but can it put its hands down your pants when the blacktop starts to buck and bend?
That’s the question I am now barking straight into the Micra’s easy going ears as yet another gear change slots across the gate like a rifle bolt, creamy as a Devonian teatime. This control is nothing without power and the nubile Nissan’s thrumbly three pot does not disappoint, signalling its perky pedalings with a crispy whirr and the urgent arcing of its tiny tacho needle. So its pace is as cute as its face, but when Mr Corner comes a-calling will the little Nissan pretend to be out?
A micron turn of the Micra’s steering sends it spearing smoothly into a meeting with Mr Apex as the slick chassis soaks up bumps like metallic kitchen paper and the tiny tyres grip like a ketamine-crazed kitten on your curtains. On the hard entry to a particularly nuggety switchback I really upped the ante to ten-tenths by slamming shut the thirsty throttle. All at once the titchy tail stepped wide, I caught it with a dab of oppo and I was away.
The Nissan Micra 1.2 Tekna is a bitch. And I spanked it.
Troy Queef is Executive Associate Editor-At-Large for DAB OF OPPO magazine