Yesterday, we were greeted with a scoop that the 2020 Nissan Almera in Malaysia will be getting the same 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine as Thailand. Now, before you get all excited with the prospects of cheap road tax and better looks, Edaran Tan Chong Motors (ETCM) still hasn’t announced a launch date for the popular but deeply-flawed sedan’s due replacement.
Our Thai friends at Autofun however, has just published a review on the 2020 Almera. The Almera in Thailand is available in 5 trim variants, all of which are powered by the 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder which makes 100 PS and 152 Nm. All variants are mated to a CVT automatic transmission.
The Nissan Almera is under Thailand’s Eco Car category which consists of cars with an engine size of 1.3-litres and below. What’s impressive among all the variants is the top-of-the-line VL which features a whole host of safety suite and technology. But does the new look and tech make the Almera impressive in real life?
Exterior – Sharper, distinctive, and stylish
Even Autofun agrees that the current Almera is better-looking than the previous Almera. The sleek and modern design belies the fact that the Almera is marketed as an affordable car in Thailand. The V-shaped grille helps to correspond the sleek look at the front and complements the slim headlights.
Autofun also praises the side profile which looks modern. The black trim that flows from the rear window pillar to the rear windscreen gives a floating roof style. The rear isn’t awkward like the previous generation and gives a very sporty look thanks to the design of the taillights looking sharper.
Top-of-the-line Almera variants come with 15-inch alloy wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres as standard along with LED headlights and LED rear combination lights. Autofun also digs the roof design which has no antenna which is embedded in the rear windscreen.
Interior – Simple but elegant
Autofun is amazed by the changes in the interior too. Nissan kept the Almera’s spaciousness which was its selling point for the previous generation but improved on the materials and equipment. With a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel and a large touchscreen in the middle of the Almera's cabin, it definitely looks more modern.
The cabin is decorated in contrasting black and beige colours and the dashboard is fitted with soft leather trims, elevating its luxurious looks. Top-of-the-line variants get two-toned black and grey fabric seats and automatic climate control.
As comfort and spaciousness are the key highlights of the previous Almera, Autofun notes that Nissan isn’t losing these out in the new Almera thankfully with enough comfort on the front seats and rear legroom is plenty.
Equipment – Adequately better
As the newest Almera is made to appeal to younger buyers, it makes sense for Nissan to equip it with enough gizmos to keep them attracted. The 8-inch Nissan Connect infotainment system has Apple CarPlay support and also doubles as a 360° camera display.
Bluetooth, USB, and AUX are also available along with 6 speakers that provide a clear and crisp sound. There are 12-volt and USB charging ports in the front and back as well as steering wheel buttons to control the audio.
Engine and powertrain – All-new and improved
As mentioned earlier, the Almera qualifies under the Thai Eco Car category which had just entered its second phase. Phase Two Eco Cars undergo stricter regulations on fuel economy and emissions like passing the minimum Euro 5 emission standards.
For the Almera, Nissan used the HRA0 engine with a maximum power of 100 PS at 5,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 152 Nm at 2,400-4,000 rpm.
As for the transmission, the Almera uses an Xtronic CVT that routes power to the front wheels. In urban driving conditions, the Almera brings about a seamless and enjoyable driving experience according to Autofun.
Safety – Plentiful, for the top-spec model
Standard across all variants of the Almera are anti-lock brakes, stability control, dual front airbags, and hill-start assist.
However, in the top VL variant, you can get a full suite of ADAS which includes blind-spot monitors, frontal collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and moving object detection. Even the airbag count bumps up to 6.
Autofun’s Verdict – Better driving and outstanding safety features
Looks like the 2020 Almera gets Autofun’s approval with a beautiful-looking car that has a spacious interior and generous equipment. The turbocharged 1.0-litre is perfect for city driving and provides good acceleration.
The top-of-the-line Almera also deserves some praises for putting in so many safety equipments at such a low and affordable price. Not even its competitors in the price range can boast that many safety features.
Autofun concludes that it wouldn’t be surprising to see the latest Almera filling up Thai roads. The newest Almera definitely gives good value for a decent driving experience loaded with an impressive array of safety features.
With that verdict, it will be interesting to see how ETCM will spec up the new Almera. I have my own opinions to the current Almera and based on this review, this new model is already starting to change that, for the better.