Nissan Micra N-Sport vs SEAT Ibiza FR Sport vs Suzuki Swift Sport

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Superminis have been topping gross sales charts in Britain for many years, and with good motive: they provide an excellent steadiness between a very powerful options consumers search for in a brand new mannequin at this worth level.

They have to be reasonably priced, but most have room for a household and are low-cost to run as properly. There’s one more reason that they’re so standard, although; due to their mild kerbweights, these small automobiles will be nice enjoyable to drive, too.

The new hatch is the last word model of the trendy supermini, and our present favorite is the Ford Fiesta ST. However fashions like which can be costlier to purchase, run and insure – to not point out rather more hardcore to drive – so some producers provide warmed-up variations to raised swimsuit the vast majority of prospects.

Nissan is the most recent to do that, hoping to enchantment to eager drivers by boosting its up to date Micra vary with an N-Sport mannequin that includes a brand new 115bhp engine. However the automotive faces stiff competitors from SEAT’s Ibiza FR, one in all our favorite decisions on this class.

Then there’s the Suzuki Swift Sport, which has an much more potent 1.4-litre engine and a chassis tweaked for enjoyable, giving additional fanatic enchantment. The Swift can also be cheaper. However which is the one to go for?

Nissan Micra N-Sport

Nissan Micra DIG-T 117 N-Sport
Worth: £19,010
Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl petrol, 115bhp
0-60mph: 10.Three seconds
Check financial system: 47.0mpg/10.3mpl
CO2: 114g/km
Annual highway tax: £140

Nissan’s up to date Micra was launched earlier within the 12 months, and the vary now contains this barely fruitier N-Sport mannequin, powered by a 115bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It prices £19,010.

Design & engineering

The Japanese model has labored on enhancing areas that have been missing within the pre-facelift Micra, beginning with the engine. This new 1.0-litre motor replaces the earlier 0.9-litre unit, which left rather a lot to be desired, and within the N-Sport the engine produces a aggressive 115bhp.

As well as, the corporate has fitted a contemporary NissanConnect infotainment system, and automobiles with the most recent motor function 10mm decrease suspension and revised steering as well. Nevertheless, the Micra hasn’t undergone a elementary change. The fundamental suspension format is similar, with MacPherson struts on the entrance and a torsion-beam format on the rear. Nonetheless, N-Sport fashions do profit from a firmer set-up that’s meant to enhance the automotive’s dealing with.

The inside hasn’t acquired too many adjustments, both, and the design is fairly much like its predecessor’s, regardless of the up to date tech. There are soft-touch plastics utilized in a smattering of areas, however largely materials high quality is common and it feels plasticky, even when all the things appears solidly constructed. It’s a far cry from Micras of previous, however the Ibiza nonetheless feels extra upmarket with its classier look. There’s much less cheap-looking plastic on show than within the Swift, although.

Normal gear on the high-spec N-Sport mannequin contains 17-inch alloy wheels, the brand new infotainment system that options Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a rear-view digicam, tinted home windows, keyless go and part-Alcantara seats.

Driving

Regardless of its exterior styling, this warmed-up Micra doesn’t have the chunk to again up its barely stronger bark. The principle drawback is grip; this is likely one of the issues that’s missing subsequent to its rivals.

Push right into a nook onerous and the Nissan begins to understeer fairly closely and before its rivals, but for those who again off it will get unsettled on the rear. It additionally doesn’t talk to the motive force what’s going on; the steering is just too numb, so the Micra can’t compete with the precision of the SEAT and Suzuki. But it’s not completely with out benefit, as a result of the physique management permits sufficient motion however not an excessive amount of.

These automobiles aren’t all about entertaining their driver, as a result of in addition they have to be comfy sufficient for use each day. Whereas the Micra rides easily, it is just about on par with the rather more fun-to-drive Swift Sport, whereas the Ibiza beats each of them for consolation.

Regardless of its bigger engine than earlier than, the Nissan nonetheless feels underpowered, as a result of its energy supply is all within the mid-range. At low revs it feels very sluggish if you put your foot down and it struggles so as to add pace, whereas on the high finish it’s lifeless, so there’s no enjoyable available there, both. Additionally, the spongy gearchange isn’t as good as both of its rivals’.

Each the Micra and Ibiza fell a way behind the extra highly effective Swift Sport in our efficiency assessments, but the Nissan was additionally gradual subsequent to the SEAT. It took 10.Three seconds to go from 0-60mph, whereas the Ibiza clocked 9.2 seconds. The Swift stormed away with a 7.7-second time. In high gear from 50-70mph, the Micra was three seconds slower than the Spanish mannequin, whereas the Suzuki was practically twice as fast because the Nissan. The brand new engine is actually higher than the previous 0.9, but it surely nonetheless can’t match the Ibiza’s 1.Zero TSI for smoothness, efficiency or leisure.

Practicality

A 300-litre boot places the Micra in between its rivals right here. The SEAT has 355 litres, inserting it among the many extra spacious automobiles on this class, whereas the Suzuki’s 265 litres is smaller than common. Nonetheless, for day-to-day duties the Nissan ought to have sufficient room for most individuals; solely lengthy weekends away will actually take a look at it.

It’s the same story in terms of legroom, as a result of the Micra has a median quantity of house within the again, sufficient for all however tall adults to take a seat fairly comfortably. Nonetheless, its Japanese rival is nearer right here, as a result of although the Swift is a bit more compact, there may be nonetheless a suitable stage of room for passengers.

Possession

Nissan completed fourth within the makers’ chart of our Driver Energy 2018 satisfaction survey, whereas SEAT was 14th and Suzuki 11th. Within the seller ballot, Nissan and SEAT got here 25th and 23rd respectively, which wasn’t nice. Suzuki ranked fourth.

Security gear is a powerful level on the Micra, although, with all fashions within the vary that includes autonomous braking and lane-keep help. You can too improve with the £600 Imaginative and prescient+ Pack, which provides a 360-degree digicam with transferring object detection and blind spot warning.

Working prices

The Micra managed 47.0mpg on take a look at, which beat the Ibiza’s 44.4mpg and the Swift’s 42.8mpg outcomes. That works out at £1,413 in annual gasoline prices for the Nissan (over 12,000 miles), whereas the SEAT works out at £1,495 on the pumps and the Suzuki slightly extra, at £1,551.

Many individuals will purchase these heat hatches because of the excessive insurance coverage payments of a full-on sizzling hatch, and the Ibiza is the winner in that case. It is going to set our instance driver again £385 a 12 months, whereas the Micra and Swift will price £390 and £478 respectively. Given the sturdy efficiency of the Suzuki – and the other within the Micra – the Nissan’s insurance coverage premium appears slightly excessive, however general the automotive is fairly low-cost to run.

Testers’ notes

“The Nissan’s driving place feels awkward. Its ergonomics aren’t nice; the opposite automobiles really feel extra pure on this respect. We discovered it tougher to get comfy and the wheel place is just too low.”

SEAT Ibiza FR Sport

SEAT Ibiza 1.Zero TSI 115 FR Sport
Worth: £19,320
Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl petrol, 113bhp
0-60mph: 9.2 seconds
Check financial system: 44.4mpg/9.8mpl
CO2: 108g/km
Annual highway tax: £140

The SEAT Ibiza is likely one of the greatest superminis round and this 113bhp model is a best choice inside the vary, providing an excellent mixture of efficiency and financial system. In FR Sport trim (the automotive in our footage is an FR) it prices from £19,320.

Design & engineering

SEAT has constructed the Ibiza on the VW Group’s versatile MQB A0 platform, which makes use of intelligent packaging to maximise inside house, whereas offering an achieved base chassis for the model’s engineers to work from.

It has MacPherson-strut entrance suspension and a torsion beam on the rear, similar to the Micra, and as with the Nissan, the FR Sport additionally has a stiffer set-up than different Ibiza fashions. This makes much less distinction to the journey and dealing with than you may think, nevertheless. The bigger alloy wheels fitted to this model have extra of an affect on the best way the automotive drives in contrast with lesser Ibiza trim ranges.

The 18-inch rims are commonplace, together with suede seats, sportier exterior styling, LED headlights, local weather and cruise management, sat-nav and even a digital instrument cluster, which is superb for this class. It’s a disgrace that parking sensors are a £225 choice on the Ibiza, regardless of being commonplace on the Micra (the Swift doesn’t have them, but it surely does function a reversing digicam, which isn’t accessible on the SEAT).

Of the three automobiles on take a look at, the Ibiza has one of the best inside, due to its plush and cozy seats, a clear sprint design and soft-touch supplies in the appropriate locations so as to add perceived high quality. It additionally helps that the infotainment system appears extra fashionable and is less complicated to make use of than both of its rivals’ set-ups.

Driving

Like different MQB-based superminis, the Ibiza could be very grown-up. There are just a few causes for this, the principle one being how good it’s on the motorway. Many superminis can really feel out of their depth right here, as a result of they’re constructed with cost-cutting in thoughts, leading to diminished soundproofing, whereas their engines are small. However the SEAT is quiet at excessive pace.

The opposite automobiles are good in a technique or one other; the Micra’s engine could be very quiet and the Swift has supportive seats that assistance on lengthy journeys, however the Ibiza is extra refined and extra comfy than its rivals. Whereas its comparatively massive alloy wheels can crash into potholes, which is disagreeable, on the entire it rides easily, with the harsher suspension actions higher damped than in both of its rivals.

It additionally has the motive force enchantment we’re searching for on this take a look at. Whereas it won’t have the ability to compete with the Swift’s astonishing tempo, the 1.0-litre engine is nice. It has a extra even unfold of energy than the Micra’s motor, and the handbook shift is slicker, too, though the Suzuki’s is extra satisfying nonetheless.

The Ibiza was greater than a second sooner from 0-60mph than the Micra in our acceleration assessments, and whereas it was 0.6 seconds slower from 30-50mph in fourth gear than the Nissan, it was 0.1 seconds faster in the identical train in third gear, although the 2 automobiles produce the identical 200Nm of torque.

Each have been left trailing by the Swift Sport in each take a look at. Its 230Nm output helped it go from 50-70mph in sixth in 6.6 seconds. The Ibiza clocked 11.Zero seconds and the Micra took 14.Zero seconds on this job.

The Ibiza’s steering might do with extra life, however not less than it’s correct, and the chassis is extra constant than the Micra’s, which provides confidence. SEAT’s hatch has loads of grip as properly. All of those elements add to the grown-up really feel. The one small weak spot was its efficiency for the worth, as a result of the Swift Sport put it to disgrace in each straight-line take a look at.

Practicality

Nevertheless, the Ibiza is rather more sensible, and the roomy cabin provides to its costly really feel. The SEAT’s 355-litre boot is the primary indication of this, as a result of it’s 55 litres up on the Micra’s and 90 litres bigger than the Swift’s load capability.

There’s sufficient room within the again seats for adults, though taller passengers may complain slightly about legroom behind a lofty driver. It’s the identical case in all three fashions, although, and for the reason that Ibiza has such an enormous boot as properly, it’s simply essentially the most versatile of those hatches. There’s a big central cubby in your cellphone and good-sized door bins, too.

Possession

SEAT ranked 14th within the makers’ chart of our Driver Energy 2018 survey, which was 10 locations behind Nissan and three behind Suzuki; the Japanese automobiles have the benefit for proprietor satisfaction. Nevertheless, a lot of the Ibiza’s make-up can also be used elsewhere within the SEAT vary, the place it’s thought-about confirmed know-how.

Security gear contains six airbags and autonomous emergency braking, however the Ibiza is lacking lane-keep help, which is commonplace on each of its rival superminis right here.

Working prices

Low CO2 emissions of 108g/km imply the Ibiza sits within the 25 per cent Profit-in-Sort (BiK) tax bracket for firm automotive drivers and can price a lower-rate earner £956 a 12 months in tax. Emissions of 114g/km place the Micra within the 26 per cent bracket and provides a £977 annual firm automotive tax invoice. The Swift’s 29 per cent score makes it the most costly enterprise selection right here, with £1,060 annual BiK contributions.

The Ibiza sat in between its rivals for gasoline financial system, returning 44.4mpg throughout our take a look at. All three fashions achieved respectable figures, although, as a result of mid-40s is about what you need to anticipate from a petroleum supermini, or a bit larger for those who do extra motorway miles.

Testers’ notes

“The Ibiza has very mild controls; the clutch pedal, gearshift and steering are all designed for ease of use. Nevertheless, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyable, as a result of it’s quick and correct sufficient to drive.”

Suzuki Swift Sport

Suzuki Swift Sport
Worth: £17,499
Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl petrol, 138bhp
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds
Check financial system: 42.8mpg/9.4mpl
CO2: 125g/km
Annual highway tax: £140

The Swift Sport is a little bit of an outsider on this take a look at as a result of it has additional energy and a extra centered chassis than its rivals. However due to a £1,000 low cost presently on provide from Suzuki, it prices simply £17,499. The Sport is its personal mannequin with no different trim ranges.

Design & Engineering

Whereas many superminis share platforms with different manufacturers, the Swift stands alone, though its sister automotive, the Baleno, additionally makes use of Suzuki’s ‘Heartect’ structure. This platform has an enormous give attention to retaining weight down, and the automobiles that use it are constantly among the many lightest fashions of their class – and it’s the identical story right here.

The Swift Sport differs from the usual automotive and its rivals right here in just a few key methods, the principle one being a bigger 1.4-litre BoosterJet turbo petrol engine. With 138bhp, it’s essentially the most highly effective mannequin right here by an enormous margin, and the Swift can also be the lightest of the trio, at simply 975kg; the others are greater than 1,100kg. Which means a excessive power-to-weight ratio and wonderful efficiency, though we’ll focus on that extra under.

Suzuki has additionally tweaked the suspension to scale back physique roll in corners and enhance agility, in addition to becoming bigger wheels, a bodykit and sports activities seats. The lurid Championship Yellow paint is an attention grabbing choice just for the Sport, too. It’s a no-cost additional, however many purchasers shall be relieved that there are some subtler colors accessible as properly.

The seats are joined by just a few sporty styling add-ons on the usual gear checklist, together with sat-nav, smartphone connectivity, adaptive cruise management, AEB and keyless go.

The Swift feels properly constructed, however materials high quality is poor, particularly in contrast with the SEAT. Onerous plastics function all over the place inside and although the seats are supportive and fairly comfy, they give the impression of being drab. A minimum of Suzuki has added some visible aptitude to the dashboard for the Sport model with crimson and black detailing.

Driving

What the Swift lacks in maturity subsequent to the grown-up Ibiza particularly, it makes up for by being good enjoyable to drive. Essentially the most instantly spectacular facet of the Swift Sport is its engine, which is extremely sturdy and feels extra highly effective than its modest 138bhp determine suggests. In our efficiency assessments it managed a 0-60mph time of seven.7 seconds, which was properly forward of each rivals. It was equally sturdy in gear, and was properly over a second sooner than each rivals in all of our assessments.

It’s only a disgrace that the Suzuki’s engine isn’t extra characterful, although. A minimum of the transmission provides some persona, as a result of you may get pleasure from going by way of the gears due to the slick, mechanical-feeling six-speed handbook, which is one of the best field right here.

The Swift is enjoyable in corners, too, as a result of it has plenty of grip and is mild on its ft, which implies it’s aware of inputs. The steering is a bit heavy and there’s not a number of really feel, though none of those fashions has a very participating steering set-up.

That low kerbweight additionally has advantages for the standard of the journey, as a result of regardless of its massive wheels, the Swift is fairly comfy. It offers with potholes higher than the Micra and the Ibiza, though roads which can be constantly tough do begin to upset the Suzuki’s composure. Regardless of just a few flaws, the Swift is way nearer to being a correct sizzling hatch than its rivals, so it stays the fanatic’s selection on this take a look at.

Practicality

A part of why the Swift is so mild is that it’s fairly a bit smaller than most different superminis, at 3,890mm lengthy by 1,735mm extensive. The Micra and Ibiza are 3,999mm and 4,059mm lengthy respectively, to provide a way of scale. Whereas which means the Suzuki is simple to park, it does restrict inside house and there’s much less leg and headroom right here than in each rivals.

Equally, the boot is smaller than the others’ at 265 litres, and it’s a much less helpful form as properly. Whereas it’s sufficiently big for some procuring, it’s finally fairly small and dampens the automotive’s on a regular basis enchantment.

Possession

Suzuki completed in a median 11th in our Driver Energy 2018 makers’ desk,however the Japanese model does have an excellent popularity for constructing dependable fashions, so there’s no trigger for concern with the Swift. A seller rating of fourth is nice information as properly.

Normal security package is one of the best on this take a look at, with autonomous braking, adaptive cruise, high-beam help and lane-keep help all included as commonplace.

So although the Swift scored decrease than each of its rivals in its Euro NCAP crash take a look at, at 4 stars, for those who look nearer on the scores, the rationale for this was that lower-spec fashions in Europe miss out on essential package that’s all current on the Sport. So in observe, the Suzuki needs to be simply as protected.

Working prices

Depreciation isn’t a powerful level for any of those fashions, however our consultants predict that the Suzuki will lose the least worth over three years, at £10,688.

Nevertheless, as a result of it’s the most cost effective automotive to purchase, it gained’t be value as a lot because the SEAT; the Swift has an estimated residual of £6,811, or 38.9 per cent, however the Ibiza is about to carry on to 40 per cent of its checklist worth, dropping £11,594, so will probably be value £7,726. The Micra loses £12,533 at 34.1 per cent, with a worth of £6,477.

Given the efficiency on provide, the Swift’s 42.8mpg return is fairly cheap and never that far behind its smaller-engined rivals’, however remember that it’s going to additionally price fairly a bit extra to insure (practically £100 a 12 months extra for our instance driver).

Testers’ notes

“We want the Swift Sport have been livelier in corners. The earlier mannequin was extra enjoyable, regardless of being much less highly effective. However the chassis is succesful and the gearchange candy, even when the engine may very well be higher.”

Verdict

First place: Seat Ibiza FR Sport

The Ibiza makes essentially the most convincing case right here. It’s an outstanding all-rounder and your best option for many consumers. For a begin, it’s essentially the most sensible automotive, but it surely’s additionally stuffed with hi-tech gear and is reasonable to run. The engine is punchy and entertaining, and the grippy chassis and exact steering imply it’s additionally worthy of the FR Sport trim’s efficiency aspirations, regardless of not being a full sizzling hatch. The Ibiza delivers an honest stage of consolation, too

Second place: Suzuki Swift Sport

If you happen to’re searching for a warmer supermini on a price range, the Swift Sport should be in your shortlist. It actually makes essentially the most of its modest 138bhp, due to its low kerbweight, which additionally means the Suzuki is agile with out being too unforgiving. It doesn’t have the extensive enchantment of the Ibiza, as a result of it’s restricted on practicality and isn’t as low-cost to run, but it surely’s extra enjoyable than each of its rivals and has an enthralling character.

Third place: Nissan Micra N-Sport

Don’t let the N-Sport branding idiot you, as a result of the Micra’s 1.0-litre engine is a disappointment. It’s higher than the earlier 0.9, however remains to be gradual and never a lot enjoyable to take advantage of. The Nissan isn’t as pleasurable as both rival, nor as properly geared up. It additionally trails the Ibiza for practicality and, regardless of good gasoline financial system, it’ll price extra to run, too. Whereas it’s an enchancment, the Micra nonetheless lags behind its rivals.

Additionally take into account…

New: MINI Cooper

Mannequin: MINI Cooper Traditional five-door
Worth: £18,330
Engine: 1.5-litre 3cyl, 136bhp

The MINI is among the many most pleasurable superminis to drive and has loads of efficiency, but is available in inside price range subsequent to its rivals on this take a look at. You’ll have so as to add elective extras to match them on package, however no matter you spend, the MINI is sensible enjoyable.

Used: Ford Fiesta ST (2018)

Mannequin: Ford Fiesta ST 
Worth: £19,500  
Engine: 1.5-litre 3cyl, 197bhp

Purchase used and a Ford Fiesta ST is inside attain, even in top-spec ST-Three type. We discovered one from final 12 months with simply 2,600 miles for £19,500. That’s low-cost for the most effective sizzling hatches ever. It’s fast and handles properly, however the journey could be very agency.

Figures

SEAT Ibiza
1.Zero TSI 115 FR Sport
Suzuki Swift Sport Nissan Micra
DIG-T 117 N-Sport
On the highway worth/whole as examined £19,320/£19,320 £17,499/£17,499 £19,010/£19,010
Residual worth (after 3yrs/36,000) £7,726/40.0% £6,811/38.9% £6,477/34.1%
Depreciation £11,594 £10,688 £12,533
Annual tax legal responsibility std/larger fee £956/£1,912 £1,060/£2,120 £977/£1,954
Annual gasoline price (12ok/20ok miles) £1,495/£2,492 £1,551/£2,585 £1,413/£2,354
Insurance coverage group/quote/highway tax price 14/£385/£140 35/£478/£140 11/£390/£140
Value of 1st/2nd/third service £324 (2yrs) £970 (3yrs) £199/£269/£199
Size/wheelbase 4,059/2,564mm 3,890/2,450mm 3,999/2,525mm
Peak/width 1,444/1,780mm 1,495/1,735mm 1,455/1,743mm
Engine 3cyl in-line/999cc 4cyl in-line/1,373cc 3cyl in-line/999cc
Peak energy/revs  113/5,000 bhp/rpm 138/5,500 bhp/rpm 115/5,250 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs  200/2,000 Nm/rpm 230/2,500 Nm/rpm 200/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission  6-speed man/fwd 6-speed man/fwd 6-speed man/fwd
Gasoline tank capability/spare wheel 40 litres/restore package 37 litres/restore package 41 litres/restore package
Boot capability (seats up/down) 355/823 litres 265/947 litres 300/1,004 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,149/511/1,200kg 975/470kg/N/A 1,100/460/1,200kg
Turning circle 10.6 metres 10.2 metres 10 metres
Fundamental guarantee (miles)/restoration 3yrs (60,000)/2yrs 3yrs (60,000)/1yr 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Driver Energy producer/seller pos. 14th/23rd 11th/4th 4th/25th
NCAP: Grownup/baby/ped./help/stars 95/77/76/60/5 (2017) 88/75/69/44/4 (2017) 91/79/79/72/5 (2017)
0-60/30-70mph 9.2/9.2 secs 7.7/6.1 secs 10.3/9.Four secs
30-50mph in third/4th 4.3/6.Four secs 3.1/4.Four secs 4.4/5.Eight secs
50-70mph in fifth/sixth 8.1/11.Zero secs 5.5/6.6 secs 7.9/14.Zero secs
Prime pace/rpm at 70mph  121mph/2,300rpm 130mph/2,500rpm 121mph/2,200rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph  50.3/36.7/9.2 metres 50.6/36.7/9.5 metres 51.0/38.6/9.9 metres
Noise outdoors/idle/30/70mph 71/43/65/75dB 62/46/69/77dB 72/43/66/76dB
Auto Categorical econ. (mpg/mpl)/vary 44.4/9.8/391 miles 42.8/9.4/348 miles 47.0/10.3/424 miles
WLTP mixed mpg 46.3-50.4mpg 47.1-47.1mpg 47.9-47.9mpg
WLTP mixed mpl 10.2-11.1mpl 10.4-10.4mpl 10.5-10.5mpl
Precise/claimed CO2/tax bracket 147/108g/km/25% 152/125g/km/29% 139/114g/km/26%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/digicam Six/sure/£225/no Six/sure/no/sure Six/sure/sure/sure
Auto field/lane-keep/blind spot/AEB  £1,100/no/no/sure No/sure/no/sure No/sure/no/sure
Clim/cruise ctrl/leather-based/heated seats Sure/sure/suede/no Sure/adaptive/no/no A/C/sure/artificial/no
Met paint/LEDs/keyless/energy tailgate Sure/sure/no/no Sure/sure/sure/no £575/no/sure/no
Nav/digital sprint/DAB/related apps Sure/sure/sure/sure Sure/no/sure/no No/no/sure/no
Wi-fi cost/CarPlay/Android Auto No/sure/sure No/sure/sure No/sure/sure 

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