The Nissan Sunny, like the Toyota Corolla, has been a ‘bread and butter’ family sedan since the mid-60s – at least two generations of Singaporeans have grown up with memories of having one of these vehicles around, if not learning how to drive in one, or at least having an uncle or aunt that had one.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or have been in deep hibernation for the last decade or so, you’ll know that things just can’t remain the same – things are more complicated now, and a basic family sedan just does not exist anymore, at least one from Japan. And would you really want to be driving a model that your father or uncle was driving? If your answer is ‘no’, then Nissan have played their cards right with the new Almera.
This accounts for Nissan brushing off the Almera badge for their latest 1.5-litre family car, and also helps us to understand the car’s unusual lines and proportions.
The first Almera was in the 90s, a 5-door hatchback model that Nissan produced in the United Kingdom. It looked like a tidied-up Fiat Tipo, but its mechanicals were largely borrowed from the Sunny 1.6. It was only sold in limited numbers in Singapore, as back then most Singaporeans preferred sedans such as the Sunny.
As for the new Almera’s styling, it is definitely a case of ‘form follows function’. This means that you will only appreciate the Almera’s funky, unconventional lines only after you take a look at the amount of legroom the rear passengers get, and into the huge, almost 500 litre boot. To put things into perspective, the Almera has probably more rear legroom and a larger boot than a full-sized executive saloon such as a Mercedes-Benz E-class!
In order to achieve this remarkable feat of space-efficiency, the designers have had to alter the proportions of the Almera from that of a conventional mid-sized family sedan. Firstly, the Almera shares its platform with the new Nissan March, albeit with its wheelbase stretched by 110mm. While this is not the first time Nissan has done this - the Latio and previous March also shared a platform - but this time it is more obvious. Park the Almera next to another sedan, for example, you will notice that the entire passenger cabin assumes a tall, hatchback-like profile, which draws attention to steeply raked bonnet and windscreen.
At the rear, aft of the sloping roofline, the Almera stretches its boot further back than other cars in its class - allowing it to have such a commodious almost 500 litre boot. Stylistically, the cues are taken from the Nissan Teana, but this does little to disguise the Almera’s unusual proportions.