There is a highly addictive game lurking in the electronics of the new Nissan Micra.

A touch of the ‘info’ button on the dashboard brings up a touchscreen display offering access to smartphone apps, latest traffic messages and the enticing Eco Score that measures how smoothly you accelerate, cruise and brake, then awards marks out of 100.

The ‘eco game’ is a small indication of the technology that is now crammed into the fifth-generation supermini that shares nothing in common with its predecessors apart from the badge on the back.

Longer, wider and lower than the former model, the new car has strong exterior styling and a classy, high-quality interior with large, comfortable front seats, air-conditioning standard on all but the entry-level model and plenty of storage spaces.

But more important than its sleek design and upmarket ambience is its confident handling and agile drive.

This is a dynamic supermini with genuine personality and a serious upgrade in technology.

Every new Micra comes with intelligent lane intervention that guides the car gently back into the correct lane if needed, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, traffic sign recognition and high beam assist.

Electronic safety systems include electronic stability program, anti-lock brakes, and hill start assist. A speed limiter, automatic headlight sensor, automatic hazard lights and a tyre pressure monitoring system are also fitted to every Micra. 

The car driven here in the top Tekna specification had no fewer than 15 electronic safety systems built in. Nissan’s around view monitor camera system – as seen on the Qashqai and Juke crossovers – is also available.

For music fans there is a classy Bose personal audio system which uses four speakers fitted in the doors and A-pillars and a further pair built into the driver’s head rest.

Build quality is excellent and noise is limited to some rush from the tyres, not helped on the test car by whopping 17-inch alloy wheels shod with a set of Bridgestone Turanza tyres. Smaller wheels might well make life a little quieter and more comfortable.

The car is available with three engines – two petrol and one diesel – all linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. The 900cc, three-cylinder model driven here develops 90 horsepower which is plenty to ensure nippy acceleration and swift A-road cruising, though you need to work the gearbox hard to get the most out of it.

Nissan recognises there is a growing desire for supermini buyers to be able to customise their car to match their personality and design tastes and the Micra is available with a wide range of personalisation options, modifying both the exterior and interior.

More than seven million Micras have been sold worldwide since the name first appeared in 1983, with more than 3.5 million of those in Europe.

Nissan has set its sights high with the newcomer aiming to position the car in the top ten sellers of an ultra-competitive segment of the European car market.

Built in a plant west of Paris run by Nissan’s partner Renault, the new Micra is built on the same production line as Renault’s Clio and Zoe models.

As for the eco driving display, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t top my best score of 85, but that gave me fuel consumption, according to the car’s computer, of 61.7mpg so it’s a game that is worth playing.

Auto facts

Model: Nissan Micra Tekna IG-T 90

Price: £19,860 as tested

Insurance group: Six (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 61.4mpg

Top speed: 109mph

Length: 399cm/157in

Width: 174.3cm/68.6in

Luggage capacity: 10.6 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: Nine gallons/41 litres

CO2 emissions: 104 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles