Hard-top Nissan Micra C+C a little softie

Iain Dooley checks out Nissan's pleasingly cute but practical little drop-top Micra.

Engines – No diesel to choose from here, just a pair of 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol motors. If you can stretch to it, the latter offers that bit more grunt even if you plan on making only occasional out of town excursions. Both are refined in use but the 1.4 might struggle when pushed hard.

Exterior – Unsurprisingly the C+C looks instantly recognisable from the front. Although a Micra at heart, it's only when you cast your eyes towards the rear do you notice any changes. All credit to the car's designers, the convertible conversion is an aesthetically pleasing one – there's no awkward-looking hump or boxy boot to accommodate the folding metal roof.

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Interior – Save for the absence of the Micra's conventional roof, it's business as usual in the car's cabin. Chunky controls, supportive seats and good forward visibility all make this an easy and enjoyable car to occupy. Oddment space is plentiful and there's also room in the back if you're small enough.

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Driving – You don't buy a Micra to race round B-roads in and the C+C variant is no different. In fact, the extra bulk of the roof mechanism means that the drop-top Nissan is best suited to a more relaxed pace of driving. The engines offer just enough power that, in real terms, means there's little to be gained from pushing hard. Conversely, the little Micra is easy to drive around town thanks to its light steering, good visibility and slick manual gearshift.

Ownership – If you're looking for a compact, affordable convertible car your choice is limited. The Micra offers buyers the attractive combination of the practicality of a supermini with those drop-top, wind-in-the-air qualities. Despite the tin-top roof conversion boot space is still pretty reasonable, while roof-down refinement is also good. And raising and lowering that roof couldn't be easier thanks to electric assistance.

What to look for – Used by many as a town car, it's wise to fully inspect your chosen model for parking dents and the usual urban battle scars. Kerbed wheels could be hiding more serious unseen damage, which makes the need to take a test-drive all the more important for added peace of mind. And with something this new a full service history is doubly important, along with a close inspection of that roof mechanism.

Model history – 2005, Nissan introduces the Micra C+C, a convertible version of its popular supermini. 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines are offered along with a high level of standard equipment, plus a powered metal folding roof and optional automatic gearbox.

Reasons to buy – Competent, easy to live with, powered roof, practical.

Reasons to beware – Not a driver's car, modestly powerful, reduced boot space.

Pick of the range – Micra C+C 1.6 Sport.

What to pay – 2005 55 �4,925; 2006 06 3�5,275; 2007 56 �5,750L 2007 07 ��5,925; 2008 57 �6,500. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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