Even with a certain Proton standing in their way, Nissan has earned a solid pat on the back with the new Almera Turbo. It has exceeded all our expectations and is much more than the old Almera could ever dream of being.
Aside from its new good looks, the Nissan Almera’s biggest selling point now also includes a turbocharged 1.0-litre engine and the offering of autonomous emergency braking in all three variants; starting from RM79k.
The makeover in the cabin is as drastic as the exterior. There’s now an 8-inch touchscreen display with a decent 6-speaker sound system and the convenience of Apple CarPlay.
The only shortcoming in this area is the clarity of the display. It’s a seemingly common failing in cars of this segment, as it’s also seen in the new Mitsubishi Xpander and surprisingly, in the new Proton X50 as well. It’s also got a surround-view monitor with bird’s eye view, contributed by a camera mounted on each of the side mirrors.
There are also improvements on the Almera Turbo that’s beyond the naked eye. Cabin insulation has improved leaps and bounds, especially when driving in urban areas, with additional insulation in the A-pillar section and the use of thicker glass for the front windows.
Cabin space is still in abundance and despite the car being four centimetres lower, headroom has not been compromised when compared with the older model which we had concurrently for comparisons.
The adoption of a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine with 100 hp and 152 Nm, in favour of the former 1.5-litre 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine, paired to a CVT gearbox has allowed power delivery to be far smoother and responsive than before but that’s not all.
It’s now actually fun to drive. It feels nimble with far more assurance and composure while you’re at higher speeds. When you’re driving on less than ideal road conditions though, the knocks and vibrations from underneath the car won’t go unnoticed.
The new Nissan Almera Turbo is no longer just the entry point to a “first Japanese car” this new Almera, but with crossovers and SUVs taking over, let’s hope Nissan’s not too late.