Last week, the 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo officially surfaced in Malaysia, the media had the chance to preview as well as test-drive it and we came away impressed.
Until when you, our captive readers get the chance to test-drive it for yourselves, we thought we would make a comparison of the old 2012 Nissan Almera against the 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo. Current Almera owners have been asking us whether there are significant changes to the car that would prompt them to upgrade their vehicle, and the short and sweet answer is, Yes!
The difference between these two cars is night and day, but that is what we get when manufacturers don't update a model for eight years. Every part except for the key is new. Although we expected the new generation Almera to have a bigger interior space, better build quality and a more efficient drivetrain, nobody expected it to come with so many safety features as a standard, but we will get to that later.
Space: 2012 Nissan Almera 0-1 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo
Longer, lower and broader than ever before, the Almera Turbo is now generally a bigger car. It doesn't feel like it on the inside or the outside, but when you put it next to the previous generation Almera, it does have a bigger footprint. The rear roofline is slightly lower too, but this was done without sacrificing interior space that the Almera is primarily known for. For those who like numbers, the Nissan Almera Turbo is 70mm longer, 40mm lower and 45mm wider compared to the first generation Almera. Even the wheelbase has been lengthened by 20mm.
Exterior and Interior: 2012 Nissan Almera 0-2 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo
Based on the European Nissan Micra, you could say that the Almera Turbo has this touch of European-ness. Whereas the previous generation Almera looks and feels like a car that came out of Asia, the Almera Turbo's design was clearly made to cater to European taste. The interior is a serious departure from the previous generation with two-tone soft synthetic materials used to create a chic looking dashboard.
Performance: 2012 Nissan Almera 0-3 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo
The biggest headline for the new Almera is obviously the Turbocharged engine. True to its moniker, Nissan really wanted to make sure that people knew about the turbine living in the engine bay and they have every right to be proud of it too because it is a peach. Although it is missing a cylinder compared to the sixth generation's four-cylinder engine, the Nissan Almera Turbo can still push out more performance, having 10Nm more torque. 10Nm doesn't seem like much, but when the torque kicks in at lowly 2,000rpm instead of the sixth generation's 4,000 rpm it does make a huge difference. The CVT in the seventh generation Almera is excellent too and does feel like a conventional automatic gearbox.
Safety: 2012 Nissan Almera 0-4 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo
The sixth generation Almera's safety system as standard only included the likes of ABS, EBD and BA but the Nissan Almera Turbo's standard safety equipment consists of all of the above the ones and is topped up with Traction Control System, Intelligent Forward Collision, Warning (IFCW) and Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking as well as Vehicle Dynamic Control. If you go for the top-spec, it also comes with blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, but the standard safety features on all cars are pretty impressive.
So there you have it, a clear and resounding win for the 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo over its predecessor.
It's obvious to us that the Nissan Almera has gone upmarket as it should especially looking at its competition in the B-segment. Gone are the days when you'd buy an Almera because it was the only Japanese car you could afford or you wanted a more comfortable car to do Grab with. Today you would buy one because you wanted one. Well done Nissan, well done!