The 2020 Nissan Almera, which was revealed in Thailand in November 2019, has made its Malaysian debut! According to the automaker’s franchise holder in the country, Edaran Tan Chong Motor, the car will be available in CKD form and comes in three variants – VL, VLP and VLT – once it goes on sale.
Smaller, Boosted Engine
Downsizing engines and making up for the lost performance with the aid of a turbocharger or supercharger (or both) is a trend that has been around for a while. We have the Volkswagen ‘twincharged’ TSI models, or the current Honda range toppers using the 1.5L VTEC turbo engines as examples. The idea is simple; eke out as much power as possible from a smaller displacement powerplant and rake in some benefits, notably in the weight-saving department and, in countries like Malaysia, lower road tax.
Hence it wouldn’t be too surprising to learn that the latest iteration of the Almera features an engine that’s only two-thirds the size of the outgoing version. Most cars in the B-segment offer a naturally aspirated (NA) engine around the 1.5L mark in capacity, as did the Almera. The motor residing in Almeras that are on their way to Malaysian Nissan showrooms is substantially smaller at 1.OL, but comes with a turbo, an electronic wastegate and even Mirror Bore Coating Technology (à la the Nissan GT-R!).
The old 1.5L NA engines pumped out 102PS at 6,000 RPM and 139Nm at 4,000 RPM, while the 1.0L Turbo slightly betters those figures with 100PS at 5,000 RPM and 152Nm from 2,400 to 4,000 RPM. The turbo engine is fitted to all new Almeras regardless of specifications, and puts out a claimed fuel efficiency figure of up to 18.4km/L. The transmission is an X-Tronic CVT unit with D-Step Logic and Sport Mode.
Fresh, Alluring Exterior
The engine is not the only change the new model brings, as the exterior of the car has been reworked with updated styling based on the automaker’s “Emotional Geometry” design language. On the front, Nissan’s signature V-motion front grille is sandwiched by boomerang-inspired LED headlights.
Creases define the side profile, with a particularly strong line running from the front wheel arch to meet both door handles before terminating at the LED tail light, which is now horizontal as opposed to the more vertically styled rear cluster of the outgoing model. The higher spec variants receive 205/55R16 two-tone alloys, while the VL gets 15-inch silver alloys.
One of the strengths of the preceding Almera is its clever use of dimensions with plenty of room for occupants and luggage, and its successor builds on that. Overall, the new car is longer, wider and lower than the one it replaces – It’s actually 70mm longer, 45mm wider and 40mm lower, while adding 20mm to the wheelbase. Such size specifications puts the new Almera on the outer fringes of the B-segment size territory.
New Almera Turbo
Clean, Modernised Interior
As you open the door of the new Almera to gaze into the cabin, several details catch the eye. The three-spoke steering wheel is flat-bottomed for a sporty feel, and behind it is what Nissan calls a “Gliding Wing” instrument panel which gives an effect of greater space through a “light and sleek wingspan.” Soft-padded double-stitching leather wraps the dashboard, which along with the two-tone design, adds a premium feel to the interior.
The instrument cluster itself now features a full colour 7-inch semi-digital display that feeds the driver a multitude of information. Meanwhile, the star of the infotainment system is an 8-inch touchscreen unit with Apple CarPlay and three USB ports.
Elsewhere in the cabin are touches of chrome, piano black and carbon-fibre, and at the front are “Zero Gravity”-inspired semi bucket seats that are said to support the lumbar, mid-back and shoulder regions for reduced fatigue on longer drives. The rear seats are of the 60:40 split variety, and further back is a trunk whose volume is an impressive 482L (VDA). For context, that is enough space to swallow four golf bags. It’s easier to load it up as well thanks to the lower and wider opening.
Reassuring, Advanced Safety
As part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) package, the new Almera is available with a suite of advanced safety features. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (IFCW) with Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking (IFEB) is standard on all variants, while the two higher variants come with Intelligent Around View Monitor (IAVM) with Moving Object Detection (IMOD). The top-spec VLT is also fitted with Blind Spot Warning System (BSW) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
Other safety measures comes courtesy of two (VL) or six airbags (VLP and VLT), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) & Brake Assist (BA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control (TC), and two ISOFIX with top tether mounting points.
Colours, And Pricing
Buyers can choose from six colours, Brilliant White, Diamond Black and Tungsten Silver, Radiant Red, Monarch Orange and Dark Metal Grey. The former three are carried over from the outgoing model, while the latter are brand-new Nissan hues.
The car is currently being previewed and booking has been opened earlier this month, but the official sale launch is expected to occur next month. Prices are said to start at RM8X,XXX, so if you’re in the market for a flashy new B-segment sedan, best talk to your preferred Nissan dealer for further details, or simply visit the official website!