If there was an award for the most improved product, it definitely has to be the Nissan Almera Turbo. The new sedan is leaps and bounds better in every aspect than the outgoing model that was often criticised not only for looking unattractive but also lacking in updated features.
The all-new Nissan Almera Turbo comes in three variants (VL, VLP and VLT) to cover a wider budget range and also user preference. Prices range from RM79,906 to RM91,310.
But being an automobile with so many parts, some items are still carried over from the 2012 Nissan Almera into this new generation. Let’s find out what they are.
This is the first highlight of the new Nissan Almera Turbo. Out goes the simple naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine and in comes a turbocharged unit. The Almera Turbo is also the first Japanese make to feature a turbocharged petrol engine in the B segment.
Rather than outright high outputs seen in the Ford Fiesta Ecoboost and Volkswagen Vento TSI engines, the Nissan unit, which is co-developed with Renault and comes with Nissan GT-R technology, emphasises on fuel economy and daily driveability.
All variants of the Almera Turbo are installed with the same 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with the transmission being only an Xtronic CVT automatic unit. Peak power output is better than the outgoing naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, with the new engine delivering 100 hp at 5,000 rpm versus 6,000 rpm with a higher and wider torque band of 152 Nm at 2,400 to 4,000 rpm versus just 139 Nm at 4,000 rpm.
What does all this mean? It means the Almera Turbo, together with its infinitely variable transmission can access the full torque and majority of the horsepower outputs at lower engine speeds to move the car, and as such, it accelerates more effortlessly and refined compared to its predecessor.
Fuel consumption has also improved tremendously, with a reading of 18.4 km/l or as much as 20% reduction seen in the standardised NEDC test cycle (ECE R101).
The next single biggest change for the all-new Almera is the exterior design. As always, looks and styling are a subjective matter, but consensus on the previous generation is the disproportionate design. It was tall, narrow and needed the Black Series treatment to bring its look to be more acceptable.
Styling influence for the new Almera actually dates back to 2014. Nissan introduced the Sport Sedan Concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show as their key design language and theme for future sedan models. The new Almera is the second most recent sedan to receive the design language that must have the signatures of V-Motion front aspect, “floating roof” and boomerang-shaped lamps.
As a result, the new Almera Turbo looks unmissable, distinctive and well, sporty, thanks to the core ideas and signatures from the Sport Sedan Concept.
In terms of dimensions, the all-new Almera Turbo is 45 mm wider (1,740 mm) with the all-important roofline 50 mm lowered to a height of 1,460 mm, the lowest in the segment. The wheelbase has been increased by 20 mm to measure 2,620 mm on the ruler.
The styling by Nissan is spot on, that no body kit is necessary for the Almera Turbo. A subtle boot lid spoiler is used as a variant differentiator for the top-spec VLT rather than as a serious styling enhancement.
Wheels are also designed to be larger in diameter at 632mm, the largest for a currently on sale B segment sedan with the VLT and VLP using 16-inch dual-tone machined rims and running on 205/55R16 tyres. The base VL rides with 15-inch single-coloured rims and 195/65R15 tyres, just a notch wider compared to the outgoing Almera.
The Almera Turbo VLT variant also sees a hefty price increase versus the predecessor, and as such, the exterior wears it proudly. You get LED lighting for the headlamps, boomerang DRL, front and rear fog lamps as well as the boomerang signature lighting at the rear.
The VL and VLP variants have halogen headlamps, front foglamps and bulb-type DRLs at the front. LED-type indicators on the vertical-standing side mirrors are standard across the range.
There was no shark fin antenna seen in the Sport Sedan Concept, so the Almera Turbo does not have that and radio reception is accomplished by the antenna embedded in the rear windscreen.
The degree of change in the cabin matched the outlook of the new Almera Turbo. Gone is the basic and functional all-black dashboard, replaced with a padded two-tone design containing two digital full-colour display screens embellished with high-quality looking switchgear.
Even the lower console feels sporty, thanks to its raised placement of the start-stop button and the short shift lever.
The seven-inch driver’s multi-information display certainly displays a lot more information than the simple LCD in the outgoing Almera. It also displays the operation status of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) advanced driver assistance features which we will cover in the Safety section.
Nissan also promised even more comfort for the front occupants with the Zero Gravity Inspired seats, where the shape and cushioning of the seat alleviates fatigue. The added telescopic adjustment for the steering column further improves the driver’s comfort levels.
The rear seatback can now fold down in a 60:40 split, enable users to carry long and bulky items from their favourite furniture store. The old car actually had a “V-brace” in placed for structural stiffness, hence the rear seatback was fixed.
Occupants will also notice a quieter cabin thanks to added insulation and sound cancelling materials. This is further enhanced by a stronger bodyshell and fitment of higher range Continental UC6 tyres. All these advancements also have a trickling effect which is better driving dynamics. We have covered this aspect more in detail here.
So, what have they not changed? The steering wheel is the common flat-bottom design that is currently used in the X-trail, Serena and part of the improvements in the final edition of the 2020 Black Series Almera.
The Nissan “Intelligent Key” key fob, first seen in the Nissan Latio model, is still the same item in the new Almera Turbo. Even the mighty Nissan GT-R and all-new 2021 Nissan Rogue still use this oblong-oval shaped key fob with no replacement in sight.
And of course, the famous astonishing legroom space is still here in the new Almera Turbo. A USB charging port is also available for rear occupants.
Safety has also taken a significant step up in features, but that is only because the previous sedan was lacking in many aspects. Nevertheless, the Nissan Almera Turbo remains to be the lowest priced non-national sedan to have standard fitment of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking (IFEB) in Nissan lingo.
The full NIM suite that includes the 360-degree Around View Monitor (IAVM) parking camera system and factory-fitted blind-spot monitoring (BSM) with rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) are only available in the VLT variant. Critics also have a lot fewer bullets to attack the Nissan Almera Turbo, as it now comes standard electronic stability control and hill start assist with two airbags on the base VL variant.
Six airbags are available in the VLP and VLT variants and all these are matching current levels of safety features available in the Honda City petrol-only variants and Toyota Vios.
The all-new Nissan Almera Turbo is priced at RM79,906 for the base VL, RM85,715 for the VLP and RM91,310 for the top-spec VLT. All are on the road prices, without insurance, and inclusive of the sales tax exemptions.
Compared to the previously listed pricing of the outgoing Almera with Black Series package, the new models are significantly more expensive, entering into the over-RM80,000 region which is dominated by the Toyota Vios and Honda City mid-range variants.
However, if we were to compare both generations of Almera VL variants, the new Turbo VL offers greater value thanks to fitment like the AEB, ESC, a better powertrain and more comfortable seats for the same under-RM80,000 price tag.
So there you have it, the Nissan Almera Turbo has changed so much from one generation to another with only two items that are carried over- the key fob and the flat-bottom steering wheel.