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Nissan Almera a practical runaround


THE NISSAN Almera nameplate has not been offered in South Africa for quite some time. Instead, Nissan chose to replace this moniker with the Tiida, which became a popular option for many a motorist looking for a spacious runaround.

But now Nissan has put the Tiida badge on the back-burner and reintroduced the Almera to our local shores.

This all-new sedan is built on the same platform as the petite Micra, the lastest of which was brought to our market two years ago. This stretched-out sedan makes good use of the small Micra’s platform, with a wheelbase that measures in at 2 600mm, meaning occupants get to enjoy a whole lot of room both up front and at the rear.

At first sight, the design and styling won’t agree with everyone, as its stretched profile looks like a lanky teenager still trying to adjust to his recent growth spurt. And it won’t win any beauty awards, that’s for sure. But that’s not what the Almera’s about and if you want something that will grab people’s attention, buy a Juke. However, if you want a practical car that best utilises its space, then the Almera is the right option.

The spacious interior and mammoth 490-litre boot can easily transport four large adults and enough luggage for each of them. In fact, the rear knee space measures in at 636 mm and I could almost stretch my legs out completely while sitting comfy in the back. But Nissan didn’t stop there and loaded the cabin with storage units everywhere.

While you are reading this, you’re probably mumbling, “He sure is mentioning the roominess a lot.” Oh, did I mention it also has four cup holders? The reason why I’m harping on about the space is because other than being expansive, the Almera is a rather dull car. The upholstery is finished in a durable black and grey cloth combination and while the instrument cluster provides all the vitals of the vehicle, it’s all exceptionally plain.

The only niceties you will find is air conditioning, a CD/MP3 radio with auxiliary input and steering-wheel audio controls. There are no USB or rain sensors or daytime running lights, which are found in a certain Korean competitor. But wait, the Almera does have a dedicated rear fan for the rear occupants. We were specifically told that it doesn’t act as an air con, but rather helps to circulate the front air to the rear.

Driving the Almera, you start to understand its life’s purpose. It’s supposed to be a salesman’s car or purchased in large quantities by fleet companies, where it will no doubt spend a lot of its life‘s on the road. Hence operating cost is important and Nissan’s done a good job in keeping the cost per kilometre low.

Powered by the same 1.5-litre petrol engine found in the Micra, this unit might be showing its age, but it is tried and trusted. The 1 498cc unit produces a healthy 73kW of power 134Nm of torque. Nissan claims a combined fuel consumption of 6.3 litres/100km for the manual derivative, while the four-speed automatic variant achieves 7.2 litres/100km. Carbon emissions are 149g/km and 171g/km respectively.
On the safety front, the Almera houses ABS with EBD and BAS, with backup in the form of two airbags. Other safety equipment includes ISOFIX child-seat anchor points, a third brake light and an immobiliser.

Only one spec level is available, the 1.5-litre Acenta, which will be offered in manual for a retail price of R165 000 and in automatic guise for R175 500.

The all-new Nissan Almera range comes as standard with a 3-year/60 000 km service plan and Nissan’s 3-year/100 000 km warranty.

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