When a car is heading for the 10 million mark then you know that must have been a winner.

Stand up Nissan Micra because you are right on target for that mark and next year you will be celebrating your 40th birthday.

It has certainly come a long way with sales now in 160 countries around the world and was even built in Britain in Sunderland for 18 years. But chances if you are driving one at the moment it’s probably it will have been built in France after a deal a few years ago between Nissan and Renault – Japanese know how and French skill!

There have been five generations of this hatchback – each one getting better than the last and while the last model arrived in 2017 there was a refreshed number in 2019 which has kept it up to date.

The first generation hit the Japanese market in 1982 with the European market getting their share in 1983. Since then every country on every continent sees a Nissan Micra running down its roads.

The car is brilliant to drive with a dynamic performance which is a balance of power, security and excellent handling.

Nissan decided back along it needed a new car to take on Honda, Suzuki and Toyota and it was intended to replace the Nissan Cherry on the supermini market. It was also at a time when the Datsun name was being phased out and just keep the Nissan name. In Europe the car was named as the Datsun-Nissan Micra for a couple of years before the Datsun name completely disappeared.

Britain liked the Micra when it arrived taking on the Peugeot 205, the Vauxhall Nova and the Ford Fiesta and after a couple of years it sold around 50,000 making it one of the most popular imported cars in the UK.

Why it has been so popular because it has appealed to the younger generation, it is easy to drive and not too expensive.

It was a little scruffy in the early days but now it has gone upmarket – sportier and smarter – and it has become the car of choice for people who are looking for a smaller vehicle.

The new model is longer, wider and a little lower than its predecessor and there are now four different versions with prices ranging from £14,350 to almost £21,000. There are now two petrol engines with either a five or six-speed manual, or CVT automatic gearbox. The automatic is a delight to drive especially around town. The range starts with the 71bhp naturally aspirated 1.0-litre petrol engine followed by the 89bhp turbocharged 0.9-litre motor. There is a three year warranty and your miles per gallon is around the 50 mark.

But what is most surprisingly about the Micra is the space is available inside the car.

Three of us drove up to London with three suitcases and didn’t feel at all hemmed in. Four on board might have made it a little tight but a couple of hours driving wouldn’t have been a problem.

Generally the whole cabin is roomier with plenty of cupboards and storage areas. The Micra boot alone takes on 300 litres and there is a large well underneath the luggage compartment which can take a full-size or emergency spare wheel.

All but basic Visia and Visia+ cars come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard and every Micra has an impressive list of standard safety equipment that includes front, side and window airbags, a lane departure warning system and an auto emergency braking system that should stop you from running into pedestrians, cyclists or another vehicle.

Even the basic model has Stop/Start Technology, DAB Radio, USB port with iPOD connection, Intelligent Automatic Headlights and rain sensing wipers plus a hill start assist.

There is a general high quality about everything in the Micra like the BOSE Personal audio system, which features speakers built into the driver’s head rest for an exceptional 360° sound experience.  There is a wide range of personalisation options, modifying the exterior and interior with premium components in a variety of stylish and contemporary colours.

There will be a new Micra coming along shortly and Nissan can be proud of one of their top products.