The newcomer in the entry level sedan segment has a few aces up its sleeves.
The new car was first unveiled in China, as the Sunny. Slated to be sold in 170 countries worldwide under different vehicle brand names, it has already been introduced in China, America, Mexico, as well as India.
Built on the V-platform, which is designed to deliver excellent fuel efficiency through a light and rigid body that uses fewer components and weighs around 68kg less than the previous B-platform which was used in the Latio. This new sedan is the second product based on this platform, following the Nissan March.
Replacing the Latio locally, the new car features a sleeker body - the front end blends smoothly into the cabin, with design elements such as the shape of the boot lid helps to achieve a low coefficient drag of just 0.31.
Power comes from the 1.5L aluminium HR15DE engine. It's slightly less powerful than the Latio (109 ps vs 99 ps and 148 Nm vs 134 Nm), but it boasts a fuel consumption figure of 6.9L/100km.
The Almera offers new advanced features such as Intelligent Key, push-start ignition, and new stylish Fine Vision tachometer. Nissan claims a quiet cabin through the design of the roofline, which comes with an indented line that helps reduce the amplitude of the vibrations without the use of reinforcement devices called “mass bumpers”.
The cabin is a surprise to us, for it has more rear legroom than some mid-sized sedans. With a rear knee-space of 636mm and a 2,590mm long wheelbase with high headroom, big adults in the rear will feel comfortable even when there are two big adults in the front.
The trunk too features lots of usable space, with a nice below-waist loading lip and a design which extends deeply, resulting in a large trunk volume of 490L (VDA). The rear seats can't be folded down for extra space.
The Almera is avaliable in 3 trim levels: MT, Comfort and Premium. The $91,300 manual transmission option has the most basic creature comforts, while the 4-speed automatic $95,300 Comfort trim adds leather seats with dual airbags. The $98,300 Premium spec comes with 16-inch wheels, leather steering wheel and remote boot lid release. Prices indicated are pre-launch prices.
Tan Chong Motor is offering customers who book the Amera now with a $1,000 special pre-launch discount with expected deliveries from February 2012. Existing Nissan owners get to enjoy an additional $1,000 discount during this pre-launch period. The public will be able to preview the Almera at Nissan showrooms from next month onwards.