Big on car, small on price: Nissan ALMERA returns
The all-new Nissan ALMERA is now available in South Africa, bringing stylish design and exceptional value together in one complete package. Derived from the Spanish term for a large diamond – “almendra” – the new Nissan ALMERA is a global car for Nissan which exudes a youthful image and Mediterranean atmosphere. A smartly-packaged, brand new sedan which boasts affordability, top-class comfort and space with eco-friendliness and clever engineering.
With its roots stretching back to 1995, the Nissan ALMERA found favour with South Africans initially in its second generation both as a hatchback and sedan in 2001. The all-new ALMERA is built in Chennai, India and fully imported. The South African market forms part of the 170 global markets where the new ALMERA is marketed. Already on sale in key markets like the USA, Thailand and China, the new ALMERA has racked up global sales in excess of 500 000 units to date.
“The all-new Nissan ALMERA is an extremely important new car for Nissan in South Africa, where the B-segment is the largest and fastest-growing segment in the market,” says Janico Dannhauser, Product Manager for Passenger Vehicles at Nissan South Africa.
“With its bold new design, ultimately efficient packaging, extremely spacious interior, large boot and sound powertrain we expect the new ALMERA to prove even more popular than before, where in South Africa the ALMERA name had a strong following at the beginning of this century. With the new ALMERA, Nissan will certainly continue its reputation for providing an affordable, reliable vehicle with the brand’s ethos of ‘Innovation that Excites’ coming through strongly.”
Designed to punch above its weight
Large exterior dimensions, a spacious interior and a big boot – three key design points which dictated the development of the new ALMERA. Keeping with the tradition of offering a global vehicle with C-segment sedan proportions at an affordable, sub-compact or B-segment price also forms part of the ALMERA philosophy and with this new model, Nissan again offers exceptional value to South African consumers. A well-designed vehicle inside and out, with class-leading rear legroom and luggage capacity in particular, as well as a functional cabin – all at an exceptionally affordable price.
With design keywords like ‘energetic’ and ‘sleek’ forming part of the design brief, the new Nissan ALMERA features sculptural design elements with muscular overtones, while maintaining a smooth form with curvaceous nuances. The strongly-focused, sporty headlamps introduce the vehicle and are flanked by a powerful, large, chromed grille which adds both presence and might. The sporty side profile includes attractive 15-inch alloy wheels, a coupe-like window profile and smooth surfaces. A pronounced design crease which runs from front- to rear bumper also expresses character and spirit, forming a high waist line.
The rear of the new ALMERA features distinctively large tail lights which wrap around into the flanks. The smooth-edged rear bumper is neat and fuss-free, framing the rear with a smart look. All design elements have been implemented with aerodynamic efficiency built in as well – from body panels to door mirrors, the boot lid with integrated spoiler and even under-chassis elements like the fuel tank and rear suspension – to ensure the new ALMERA is geared to reducing fuel consumption in every aspect – its drag coefficient is class-leading at 0.318.
The attractive, modular interior design is ergonomically sound with high perceived quality and textured surfaces geared to creating a relaxing and comfortable driving environment. Dashboard surfaces have been manufactured with an evolved texture design which is geared to reduce glare from sunlight into the driver’s eyes as well as windscreen reflections.
Interior space has been maximised thanks to a long wheelbase – 2 600 mm – which makes its boldest statement in rear legroom, another class-leading ALMERA attribute. Excellent all-round visibility for both driver and passengers also contributes to the spacious feeling, a generous 636 mm of total rear knee space also featuring which, when coupled to the class-leading arm rest for rear passengers, contributes to ALMERA’s ticking of all the right boxes. Upholstery is a durable black and grey cloth combination, with interior panels finished in black as well for a classy, practical look and feel.
The smart, premium-looking instrument cluster features a fuss-free design with polished detailing, decorative illumination and clear lettering, the two analogue dials flanking a central LCD trip information display screen. Silver design highlights also feature on the centre console, facia and around the air vents – of which there are an extra two for rear seat passengers with a dedicated, independent fan speed control – further expressing the upscale design of the new Nissan ALMERA.
The new ALMERA has also been designed with practicality in mind, the interior featuring no less than three major storage cubby holes. There are also a total of four cup or bottle holders. Of course, the boot is its biggest feature, the new ALMERA featuring a massive, class-leading 490 litres of luggage space. With a deep loading area, a low loading sill and smooth surfacing inside, the boot appeals on all levels, no matter what the intended purpose of the new ALMERA.
Eco-friendliness with clever engineering
The new Nissan ALMERA is available with a 1.5-litre petrol engine. The 1 498 cc unit produces a healthy 73 kW of power at 6 000 rpm and 134 Nm of torque at 4 000 rpm. The low-emission and efficient engine allows the five-speed manual version of the new Nissan ALMERA to achieve average combined cycle fuel economy of 6.3-litres per 100 km, the four-speed automatic variant achieving 7.2. Carbon emissions for both models are 149 g/km and 171 g/km respectively.
The already compact engine has been redesigned and repackaged for the new ALMERA, various components including the air filter, fuel hose and intake manifold being adapted to suit the compact nature of the ALMERA’s engine bay – which has been designed around minimal proportions in order to maximise interior space. The automatic gearbox in particular has seen comprehensive design enhancements which contribute to its light weight, compact nature. Changes include flattening of the torque converter, a reduction in the total number of gearbox components by 12%, relocation of the gear layout and a more compact direct control linear solenoid – all of which results in a total length reduction of 43 mm and weight saving of 10 kg, inherent benefits including a reduction in fuel consumption, improved shift performance and better driveability.
Contributing further to driving enjoyment, handling and NVH, torsional stiffness of the new ALMERA has been heightened thanks to reinforcement particularly towards the rear where the parcel shelf, the rear seat cross member and seat-back V-brace make significant differences. So too do the crease lines on the roof of the new ALMERA, which contribute to a significant reduction in booming noise while driving – low frequency sounds and vibrations which worsen NVH levels. The ‘roof beads’ also contribute to better fuel consumption thanks to cleaner aerodynamics. The chassis also contributes to enhanced efficiency as a result of an innovative redesign of key elements which impact on the vehicle’s weight and under-body aerodynamics. New materials and improved machining processes also underwrite a lighter, more rigid and more aerodynamic undercarriage. Suspension is by Macpherson strut with coil-over dampers up front, with an H-type torsion beam arrangement at the rear. Several design improvements have weight-loss effects as well, the benefactors being fuel economy and ride quality, where a 15% increase in suspension stroke at the front is particularly significant. The weight-saving continues in other aspects of the new ALMERA including the rear brake drums and indeed the interior, where a parts reduction in dashboard construction results in a weight saving of 3.4 kg alone.
Safety equipment creates Safety Shield
Made up of a collection of active and passive safety systems, the new Nissan ALMERA features a Safety Shield, Nissan’s concept of ‘the vehicle that helps protect people’. Safety equipment comprises ABS with EBD and BAS, with backup in the form of two airbags, five three-point seat belts and a zoned body structure whereby the passenger compartment features high-strength construction. Specific attention has been paid to the seatbelts, which now feature a reduction in pull-out force of approximately 10% and softer webbing for increased comfort during use.
Other safety equipment includes ISOFIX child seat anchor points, a third brake light and an immobiliser.
Loaded with kit
Complementing the standard safety equipment, the new Nissan ALMERA is geared to appeal on all levels thanks to a broad level of standard equipment. Available in one model grade, the new ALMERA 1.5 Acenta manual and automatic models feature remote central locking, full colour coding, chrome exterior detailing, 15-inch alloy wheels, electric door mirrors, manual air conditioning with dedicated rear vents and independent fan speed control, a radio/CD/MP3 audio system with aux input port, four speakers, steering wheel audio controls, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, tilt adjustment for the steering wheel, remote central locking with speed-sensitive auto-locking doors and a comprehensive trip computer with two trip meters, instant and average fuel economy readouts, tank range and service information.
New Nissan ALMERA Retail price including VAT
ALMERA 1.5 Acenta Manual R165 000
ALMERA 1.5 Acenta Automatic R175 500
The all-new Nissan ALMERA range is available as standard with a 3-year/60 000 km service plan and Nissan’s 3-year/ 100 000 km warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 km.