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  • Rear-seat legroom and cabin comfort; boot space; quiet engine; decent ride and steering precision; standard safety kit
  • Four-speed auto; engine only capable; no cruise control, USB, audio streaming or folding rear seats; basic cabin materials

OUR RATING
6 / 10



Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review

The Nissan Almera is officially categorised as a ‘light sedan’, but you quickly appreciate there’s nothing pint-sized about the latest Micra-based addition to Nissan Australia’s resurgent passenger car line-up when you see it in the flesh.

The new Almera is the longest car in its class – bigger than the Honda City, and sedan versions of the Holden Barina, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and the Toyota Yaris – and with an overall length of 4425mm, is shorter than the original Holden Commodore by less than the width of your computer screen (280mm to be exact).

The Nissan Almera makes good use of its segment-straddling dimensions, too, boasting more rear-seat legroom than any other city car as well as a massive 490-litre boot, which, remarkably, is just three milk bottles short of the boot of the current Commodore.

Unfortunately, the Almera misses out on the 60:40 split folding rear seat of its above competitors, instead forcing owners to make do with a fixed backrest, which limits your ability to transport longer items.

Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review

It’s a sign of cost cutting, and one of list of things you have to accept with the budget-conscious Almera, which is attractively priced from $16,990 before on-road costs.

Cruise control is not available, neither is a USB input to connect you phone or Bluetooth audio streaming to play you tunes wirelessly (although an auxiliary jack and Bluetooth phone connectivity are standard across the range). The steering wheel also adjusts only for rake, not reach.

There are some other little niggles, like the trip computer, which displays your fuel consumption in kilometres per litre rather than Australia’s standard litres per 100km unit, and some larger ones, like the overall quality and feel of the cabin, which falls short of the standard set by the Accent and the Rio.

Soft-touch plastics are nowhere to be found, with the Almera’s cabin instead presenting an abundance of harder-wearing, scratchy surfaces and basic materials across the seats and headliner – not unusual for this segment, but an ever-present reminder of its entry-level status.

The cabin layout is basic but user-friendly, and looks classier in the high-grade Ti trim level, which trades the base model ST’s manual air conditioner dials and switches for automatic climate control, and scores chrome door handles, a rear-seat centre armrest, a smart proximity key and an engine start button.

Other benefits of the $20,990 Almera Ti, which is $2000 more than the mechanically identical Almera ST auto, include 15-inch alloy wheels (a full-size steel spare is standard across the range), front foglights, rear park assist and rear spoiler, intermittent windscreen wiper function, ambient temperature display, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and adjustable rear headrests.

Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review

You sit on the driver’s seat rather than in it, although despite a lack of support it remains adequately comfortable over longer trips. The relatively high seating position and small pillars at the front and rear mean visibility is one of the Almera’s strong points.

Acres of rear legroom make the Nissan Almera feel more like a medium car from the second row, although taller adults will still be pushed for headroom and the middle seat remains only one for children or short trips.

Despite the feeling of spaciousness, stowage spots like the glove box and door bins are quite tight, and you also need to be conscious of the gooseneck hinges in the boot, which can impede your use of the space.

Under the bonnet sits a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 75kW of power (at 6000rpm) and 139Nm of torque (at 4000rpm). The Almera ST comes with the option of a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic, while the Almera Ti is an auto-only prospect.

The manual uses 6.3L/100km of standard unleaded on the combined cycle, while the auto is slightly thirstier at 6.7L/100km. After an extended drive in the Almera Ti across a variety of roads, the trip computer was showing 13.1km/L… which a quick calculation revealed to be bang on the official claim.

One of the most satisfying characteristics of the Almera’s powertrain is how quiet it is. The sound of the engine is almost imperceptible at idle, and remains hushed around city streets and even when you stretch its legs on the highway.

Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review

That sense of refinement goes out the window as the revs climb, however, with the engine developing a bit of a whistle and a thrashy sound as it’s forced to work hard up hills and when you sink the boot in to speed up and overtake. This is easier to contain with the manual, which has an extra gear ratio for added flexibility, but leads to mild bursts of aural discomfort in the auto, which is often forced to kick back one or two gears to maintain momentum and is screaming out for an extra ratio or two.

The engine itself is capable but little better, taking its time to accelerate up to speed and offering the driver minimal satisfaction in the process. The jiggle in the manual’s shift lever feels more akin to a second-hand car than a brand new one, and while the clutch has a light feel, there’s an obvious grab point that makes driving it smoothly fairly instinctive.

The Almera feels solid on the road for a car of its stature. It glides over smooth surfaces and is effective at ironing out coarser roads that can create vibrations and road noise in some of its competitors. Potholes and surface joins send more of a jolt through the cabin, but the suspension does a reasonable job overall of maintaining a refined and planted feel.

The steering is a touch light at suburban speed, although there’s more weight to the wheel at higher speeds, creating a more confidence-inspiring feel.

While feedback is almost non-existent across the full speed range, there’s an encouraging precision and directness about the way the Almera reacts to your steering inputs too, as well as a reasonable consistency.

Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review
Nissan Almera Review

Decent on-road dynamics are backed up by a strong standard safety package, which includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) and electronic stability control. While it’s yet to be rated by ANCAP, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US named the Almera one of its Top Safety Picks for 2012 following a series of crash tests.

Like all new Nissan passenger vehicles, the Almera is backed by a three-year/100,000km warranty, three years of 24-hour roadside assistance, and a six-year/120,000km capped-price servicing program.

The Nissan Almera offers impressive spaciousness and comfort for its entry-level pricing, although its lack of some key features and only adequate powertrain mean it trails the class leaders in Australia’s light sedan segment.

Nissan Almera manufacturer’s list prices:

  • ST manual – $16,990
  • ST automatic – $18,990
  • Ti automatic – $20,990


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NISSAN ALMERA BREAKDOWN

Nissan Almera Review
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  • F1

    I find it hard to believe that the same guys who make the GTR & 370Z make this POS

    This is a resualt of teaming up with a euro-trash brand!

    • JamesB

      Well, Nissan should be making those two cars only, well, maybe the Leaf but low range is no go for me. I can’t believe things can get uglier than the Tiida.

    • Yolex

       Euro-trash like RS265??

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=737660467 Kit Ho

      Ironic to call Renault eurotrash when your screen name is F1…

  • Sumpguard

        Don’t be so hard on it F1.

            A set of 18″ low profiles ,full spoiler kit  ,new interior ,new exterior panels, new engine ,new auto and split folding rear seats  and a new design team and it will be a good car!

  • Sumpguard

       Don’t be so tough on it F1 .

       With a spoiler kit , 18″ low profiles, a new interior ,new panels, new auto, new engine , split folding rear seats and a new design team it will be a good car.

    • Sinng

      Agree. Hideous

    • F1

      The Accent & Rio will eat this.. What’s Nissan thinking??

  • Morpheus

    Thats what you get when set out to be the cheeepest. You will never find one of these on my shopping list. I’d rather pay more and have the accessories that they have left out of this thing. But it’s all a matter of choice and we are all different. Some one will buy one.

  • Esti

    Another crap japanese design. Korea is killing them

  • Michael Lock

    It’s like the body comes from a larger platform car and has been stuck onto the Micra platform, it just doesn’t look right. 

  • Bailianhua

    F1 calls Renault a euro-trash brand…. gosh, change your name to V8 forden or Nascar….  as Renault has more pedigree/history than Nissan …  
    Back to the subject…   4speed auto for this stretched Micra might not be the best but a that price… Not everyone has the money to buy a GTR.

    • Hehe

      erm. how many cult cars did Renault come up with compared to Nissan? 
      Nissan did make history, just not with this one

  • Rick

    My eyes, my eyes !! Please make it stop ……..

  • Zaccy16

    Its Hideous! it is out of proportion at every angle! How low can nissan go? 4 Speed Auto 2012?Born to be rented, corrola sedan might have some competion!

  • peddy.d

    this car really is really trying to beat the ssangyong stavic at being the ugliest car of them all. I’m not going to scroll up after righting this, clicking on ‘back’ straight away.

  • Henry Toussaint

     That stupid rear Overhang! if they moved the rear wheels back at least 10-15cm back, it would improve the look of this already boring and ugly car…

  • Maximark2601

    This will be very sad if it will be the replacement of the Maxima.

    • Ccm

      Maxima is a big V6.. Totally different

  • Chinie

    I would easily choose this over the Veloster and GT-86. At least this has a euro quality to it and jap reliability unlike the GT-86 cheap Korean car

    • Henry Toussaint

       the 86 is japanese, and you must have a boring life to choose one of these over an 86 or veloster, unless you had to commute 5 people everyday…

  • Opelman

    Fugly… I have no other words

  • Holdencaulfield

    Shoddy effort, well-aligned with the vehicle. One wonders if you have heard of the notion of real journalists, or indeed sub-editors, after perusing such rubbish. Typical Car Advice.

  • TVR

    Chinie-The GT-86 is from Japan!  Get off your mums computer!

  • Captain Nemo®™

    Turn the clock back 25 to 35 years and all small sedans looked good regardless of make.  Escorts Geminis Colts Corollas Pulsars you name it they all had good proportions for their size.    Even the Lancers & Lasers of just a decade ago which are probably smaller than this is now looked good in sedan form.  So why can’t manufactures get the styling right with the light class of sedan today?

    • Crummydore

      I think we are all in agreement that we are just plain confused as to Nissan’s thinking here.

      I mean allowing such a badly designed car to get green lit – it just does not make sense.

      I keep thinking of the Homer, maybe the boss has a long lost brother….

  • Driver

    For a TI auto you can get a auto Ambiente Focus for $1000 more……… why take this junk? OR Lancer, Cruze, Corolla etc. Or Top line Fiesta’s, Polo’s etc

  • Norm

    Dash looks simple and functional – exterior looks simply awful. What up Nissan?

  • sam123

    It looks like a first generation Prius.  (Which is not a very good thing.)

    • Zaccy16

      It does actually! a used focus sedan/mazda 3 sedan would be a much better alternative!

  • Guest

    Oh my god…WTF?

  • Jeffreyblackney

    I don’t mind the grille and headlights but the rest of it is repulsive.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FFLU42DZJ4E23NZKHN3UXJU44Q Aazz

    Ha Ha!

  • Thomas

    This car should be born in 2002….BUT now is 2012!!!

    • Andywcustom

      Suddenly corolla looks super hot lol!

  • Gatas

    Way too much Sake for the design team!!!!

  • Gatas

    I do not know how a car with this design reached production stage at Nissan. Actually the design was probably from smoking Hot Ex Japanese female porn star and she slept with all the top execs at Nissan to push this car to production.

    I had to check my calendar again and yup its 2012 and Nissan is releasing a car that looks like this in the market?

    Please please car advice keep us up to date with the Almera sales figures. For those who do purchase this car, I highly recommend you visit OPSM or Specsavers. 

  • F1orce

    Wow Nissan?

    This is garbage

  • Nemi

    First glance without looking at a badge, I thought I’m looking at early 2000′s hyundai. Only God knows what happened to Nissan. Japanese car makers lost their plots. Playing too safe.

  • Snoopy54000

     It does sound good but where to find a Mazda 3 or Focus for around 20k used?The Prices I have seen are still too close to new.Try find a 2009 to 2011 on the used car lots they are hard to come by.

Nissan Almera Specs

ST : 1.5L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 4 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
NISSAN
Model
ALMERA
Variant
ST
Series
N17
Year
2012
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.5L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
139Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
75kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
73.2W/kg
Bore & Stroke
78x78.4mm
Compression Ratio
10.0
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
4 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.072
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
41
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.7L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1024
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1505mm
Length
4425mm
Width
1695mm
Ground Clearance
120mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
10.6
Front Rim Size
5.5x15
Rear Rim Size
5.5x15
Front Tyres
185/65 R15
Rear Tyres
185/65 R15
Wheel Base
2590
Front Track
1480
Rear Track
1480
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DRUM
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Driver
Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Entertainment
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-I-9
Country of Origin
THAILAND