There is a new obsession with crossovers in the global market among car buyers and manufacturers, so much so that many companies are shifting their interest away from sedans and hatchbacks. It has come to the point where some manufacturers operating in Bangladesh do not even have a new sedan to offer anymore.
In a world where all car models are being converted into big crossovers, one cannot forget about the benefits of the compact car; cars that are easy to maintain and, most importantly, fuel efficient, especially in this time of rising fuel prices.
This is where the Nissan Almera comes in. Introduced in Bangladesh by Pacific Motors earlier this year, this compact sedan seems to tick all the right boxes.
The Nissan Almera is a compact 5-seater sedan designed for city commuters and is reminiscent of the larger sedans offered by Nissan in the past. The front features the new, much larger, emblem right at the centre of Nissan's iconic trapezium shaped chrome grill. Aligned with the grill are the bulges on the hood and 'Boomerang-shaped' LED headlamps. Overall, the car has a very playful look.
The sides are quite simple, featuring a coupe-esque lowered roof and 15-inch alloy wheels. The rims would have looked even more sleek had they come painted in black straight from the factory, especially in the red unit that was lent to us for the review.
The rear is where the car looks its best. The futuristic LED taillights with 'Gloss Black Surround' and the body coloured sport diffuser, and black finishes in the rear bumper, gives it a sporty, yet premium look.
Despite the car's incommodious look from the outside, stepping inside the passenger seat, you will be surprised how spacious the interior is. The fabric rear seats could comfortably seat two average sized adults – there was ample leg and headroom – and had enough space for a third adult passenger. The sedan, however, does not have rear arm rests or rear AC vents.
The front seats, also made of fabric, come in dual tone matched with the colour of the dash.
The centre of the dash features an 8-inch infotainment system. Unlike Nissans from the reconditioned market, the Almera comes with the infotainment's language set to English as standard. It supports wired Apple CarPlay but no Android Auto, although it will allow you to stream music from Spotify or Apple Music. The sound system features six factory fitted speakers.
A second display is included on the gauge cluster right behind the sporty flat bottom steering wheel. It can either display the tachometer or other necessary vehicle information.
Powering the Nissan Almera is a 1,000cc 3-cylinder turbocharged engine, paired to a reliable continuously variable transmission (CVT). The engine might seem tiny compared to other compact sedans, but it manages to produce 99 bhp and a whopping 152 Nm of torque, which can be felt the moment you start playing around with the throttle.
There is indeed a delay before the torque builds up, as with all turbocharged cars, but the Almera falls under the class of some of the quickest to deliver power.
With five passengers on board, including me driving the Almera, it never felt underpowered during our city drives. In fact, it was rather fun to floor the throttle every now and then thanks to the high low-end torque.
When on reverse, the 8-inch infotainment system displays the dimensions of the car with the help of the segment first 360 camera, which isn't something usually seen in entry level sedans from Japanese manufacturers. This will surely come handy in a densely populated country like Bangladesh or Thailand (where the Almeras are being imported from).
The Almera also comes with blind spot monitoring, collision warning, emergency braking, brake assists and vehicle dynamic control, and many other safety features.
In most cars extra features are often just gimmicks. The Almera's features, however, enhance the driving experience when commuting in cities, exactly what the car was designed for.
The Nissan Almera has been designed to be a compact city commuter, and it serves its purpose brilliantly. It comes with a native combustion engine that's reliable and cheap to maintain; the fuel mileage is on par with many hybrid models available in the market today; and includes non-gimmicky features that come in handy when manoeuvring around the city, especially the 360 camera and the blind spot monitoring system.
It also offers somewhat of a sporty exterior, especially the rear, and a functional interior that can comfortably fit five average sized adult passengers, including the driver.
The Almera is currently available brand new in six colours for a limited time 25% discount at Tk 30 lakhs (excluding registration cost) with 3 years or 40,000 km warranty, and four free after sales service.
Engine 1000cc 3 cylinder turbo
Transmission Xtronic CVT
Power 99 bhp
Torque 152 Nm
Price: Tk 30 Lakh