Here's your first challenger in the subcompact car arena for the next decade. It's the all-new Nissan Almera, and it has quite a surprise under the hood.
But before we get to that, let's take a look at the car first. We know what the Almera looks like already. Just take a look at the US-Spec Versa. However, there are minor exterior changes for the ASEAN market. Most obvious are the wheels, riding on smaller 15-inch alloys instead of 16's over in North America. A more subtle difference is the deletion of the amber corner lights (a US regulation) as they've been replaced by clear lights.
As for the rest of the car, it's miles away from the soon to be outgoing model. The new-generation subcompact sedan now apes its much bigger stablemate, the Altima. Slim, upswept headlights and the signature ‘V-Motion’ grill dominates the front end. Speaking of which, high-specification variants are available with LED headlights.
There’s a more rakish roofline as it slopes more towards the rear and there are more defined fenders flares on each corner. Like the Altima, tail lights are of the slim, wraparound variety, and the trunk lid kicks up for a bit of visual flair.
The interior on the other hand is largely similar to the US-spec model. Aside from the cluster, which reads in kilometers instead of miles, and a different touchscreen audio system, it's difficult to spot the differences between the ASEAN model and the one sold in the States. You can also get up to six speakers inside the 2020 Almera, and you'll be pleased to know that some variants will come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We hope that we'll get the same set-up for the Philippine-spec Almera.
The Thai-spec Almera also benefits from Nissan's Intelligent Mobility safety suite. That means it's available with automatic emergency braking, front collision warning, and even 360-degree cameras. Stability control is also included in select variants. Plus, top-spec models there get six airbags standard.
On to the engine, and it's a 1.0-liter, three cylinder mill. Now, don't think that it's going to be slow because the three-pot engine is turbocharged. Compared to the 1.5-liter engine we have at the moment, the 1.0 turbo has much more power and torque. From 99 PS, it now rises to 120 PS and torque is now rated at 152 Nm. It then shifts via a continuously variable transmission.
Will we be getting the 1.0-liter turbo then? We might although it might be reserved for the top of the line model. There is a real possibility that we'll still be using the same 1.5-liter engine, although we hope that it ditches the antiquated four-speed automatic for a CVT.
Now that it's out in Thailand, it's only a matter of time before we get it. As to when exactly, nobody knows just yet. However, the Philippine International Auto Show is coming next year, and Nissan Philippines might just be there to launch it. Fingers crossed.