Published on November 11th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Nissan Almera VLT 1.0 Turbo Test Drive Review
It was the best value sedan for years after its launch
Some eight years ago in October 2012, Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) launched a ‘bread and butter’ offering to Malaysians. It was called Almera and it promised sensible and affordable motoring for the average Malaysia. At a time when Proton was delivering questionable quality and unimpressive after sales, budget conscious Malaysian car buyers needed a better option, a much better option and so the 1.5-liter Almera priced from RM66,800 for the base manual driven version was a great alternative to buying a Proton.
The high specification Almera VL automatic was priced at RM79,800 and with a 9-year loan, it sold better than expected and many of its buyers were happy to ignore the Proton Gen.2 which was priced at RM52,888 for the manual and RM55,888 for the automatic.
Almera’s popularity grew very fast and over the next few years a few variants were introduced and also a few rivals arrived in the segment to take away its sales lead.
Now for 2020 comes a brand new Nissan Almera. This Nissan Almera 1.0L Turbo uses a 999cc 3-cylinder engine that delivers 100hp @ 5,000rpm and 152Nm of torque at 2,400-4,000rpm. The CVT gearbox is standard. This Nissan will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 11 seconds and a top speed of 180km/h is achievable. This latest Nissan Almera measures up at 4,495 long and 1,460mm in height.
This new Almera comes with Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (IFCW) & Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking (IFEB). It also comes with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Hill Start Assist and ISOFIX with Top Tether (x2).
The base Almera VL variant gets only 2 front SRS airbags. The Almera VLP gets 4 SRS airbags. The top model Almera VLT gets 6 SRS airbags and added safety features like the Intelligent Moving Object Detection (IMOD), Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
The NissanConnect multi-infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen Color Display Audio (AIVI) also keeps customers happy by bringing infotainment, navigation, safety, security and more under a single platform, with seamless connection via smartphone.
Sporting sleek styling cues, the mid-size sedan looks good from every angle. It’s got a sporty front accented with a new Nissan flattened logo, sleekish headlamps and a tasteful looking silhouette. The side profile is even better as it cuts a crisp and sharp aerodynamic silhouette which is further complimented by smart 17-inch alloys, whilst the rear gets capped with the eye-catching LED rear combination lamps. Overall in terms of design alone, this new Almera will turn heads without even trying. And if you think the outside looks good, the inside reveals even more surprises.
To ensure that it’s a formidable option in the competitive C-segment market, Nissan has kitted this Almera with some pretty decent refinements. Leather seats greet you on the inside while the dash and interior trimmings boast a mix of soft touch finishing, adequate quality plastics and hints of faux carbon-fibre trim on the door grab handles. The dash is thoughtfully laid out with controls within easy reach, the meter cluster, which is equipped with a LCD screen is good-looking and effective and the all-important steering is also complimented with a host of essential controls for driving ease and comfort.
For its asking price, this Almera also comes with a ‘gravity free’ driver seat with a rear view camera display and USB access and push start ignition.
In terms of drive, this Almera is powered by a brand new Nissan 1.0-Litre Turbocharged Engine matted to a CVT (transmission) capable of 100 PS and 152 Nm of torque. It is nippy and certainly not left wanting to get on the jump at the traffic lights and it has got ample legs too on long straight runs. Yes, the 3-cylinder engine is not the most spirited from standstill but its designed to save fuel and keep up with city commuting. On the open highway it gets up to 110km/h easily and then the in-line 3-cylinder engine can be heard working to move you up to illegal speeds. The CVT swaps gears with ease and without any fuss when you step hard on the accelerator.
This Almera now has a strong rival in its segment, the 2020 Honda City which was launched just weeks ago. Buyers in this segment now have to make a decision which sedan suits their needs and what long term values they need to look at. The new Almera comes with a 5-year unlimited mileage vehicle warranty with free 5 times alternating maintenance service (parts and labour included) within 5 years.
This all-new Nissan Almera comes in comes in six dynamic colours, 3 all-new, which is the Radiant Red, Monarch Orange and Dark Metal Grey and the ever popular Brilliant White, Diamond Black and Tungsten Silver are also available.
So, take a test drive of both cars on the same morning and then over lunch decide which tickles your interest more in terms of design, features and dynamics.
Have fun. Stay safe. Keep Covid-19 away!
Nissan Almera VLT Specifications
Engine: 3-cylinder turbocharged
Max power: 100bhp @ 5,000rpm
Max torque: 152Nm @ 2,400-4,000rpm
Top Speed: 180km/h
0-100km/h: 11 seconds