emdeplam - how did you get a Micra rental in WA? And a manual shift rental?? Maybe you're in Europe...
I've also driven the Micra - I've spent about 3 weeks total trying various trims & both transmissions since it became available in Canada in 2014.
It's definitely the car you would choose if you were a typical "enthusiast" driver. The Canadian motoring press loves it.
Notable: Canada is the only country where the Micra gets both front & rear stabilizer bars as standard equipment. I don't think it's a coincidence they made that decision, after seeing what the North American press consistently had to say about the 2014 Mirage's handling.
Also notable: the Canadian Micra has the exact same engine & manual trans as the Versa. But the automatic is an old school 4-speed slushbox instead of CVT.
It's not nearly as efficient as a Mirage (especially if you get the automatic), but most buyers say they're happy to pay more for fuel as a trade-off for the fun-factor (acceleration/handling/steering) that the Mirage lacks.