Latest Stories

Little big car is Nissan’s B-segment bet


The interior is modern and airy. PHOTO BY JASON K. ANG

The sweet spot of the Philippine car market has moved to a smaller class of vehicle—the B-segment is currently where demand is strongest. Nissan, which had occasion to lord it over the C and D classes of the car market in the recent past, is now launching a completely new vehicle to compete in this hotly contested category.

Its weapon of choice: the larger, roomier Nissan Almera sedan. The Almera is slotting into the B category, but it contains features and conveniences normally reserved for vehicles a class or two above it.

To begin with, the Almera may have the same footprint as other subcompacts, but it has been able to maximize the passenger space within that. Nissan stretched the Almera’s wheelbase to 2600 mm, the longest in its class and matching that of some cars in the class above, notably the Toyota Corolla Altis. Nissan has favorably compared the rear-seat kneeroom to that of C- and even D-segment sedans. The roofline is tall and boxy, to give more headroom to both front and rear passengers. The sedan measures 4425 mm long and 1695 mm wide.

Chrome Front Lower Grille Finisher

For those wondering if the passenger space has been expanded at the cost of luggage room, don’t fret—the Almera packs a large trunk as well. It’s capable of swallowing 490 liters of cargo. Several large suitcases would fit into the deep and long space.

The visibly larger Almera follows the current jellybean shape favored by Japanese subcompacts: a bulbous silhouette with large headlamps and tail lamps. Standard features for the Mid-AT variant are the rear spoiler and fog lamps. Available enhancements will be leather seats and various chromed bodywork bits.

The interior is modern and airy, with large door openings and a light beige color scheme. The gauges are straightforward indicators, with the higher spec models getting luminescent dials and needles. One feature unique to this class is the Almera’s rear comfort fan, a system complete with its own control.

Rear comfort fan

With the wheels pushed out to the corners, the Almera enjoys another benefit: improvement in handling. The Almera may not be the type of vehicle that one would think of enjoying on a twisty road, but Nissan also made an effort to give the Almera decent handling. Bumps and potholes are handily absorbed by the MacPherson strut front/torsion beam rear suspension. Steering is light and effortless, thanks to the electric power steering. The system is designed to further enhance fuel economy as well as give the proper level of steering assist, whether during parking maneuvers or when the car is at speed.

With all that space, the Almera needs a suitably powerful engine, and Nissan obliges with a 1.5-liter inline-four gasoline unit. The double-overhead cam, 16-valve unit generates 99 HP and 134 Nm, enough for the 1000-kg car to accelerate and effectively overtake city traffic. The engine mates to a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic.

Nissan Motor Philippines has made the noteworthy decision to assemble the Almera at its Sta. Rosa, Laguna, plant, potentially creating new jobs and market opportunity for local

Nissan’s HR-15 1.5-liter engine with Continuously VariableValve Timing Control (CVTC)


The Almera is an entry in Thailand’s eco-car category, where it will be a rival to the likes of the Mitsubishi Mirage. Nissan tweaked that formula, installing a bigger 1.5-liter engine and including more standard features. Nissan’s strategy will be to compete with a larger car within the class, which will, by designation, be mostly subcompact. By making their offering bigger on the inside, with the expected Nissan attention to detail and quality, the Almera is a strong contender in what is now the largest segment of the market.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Almera , auto , Motoring , Nissan , Philippines

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist hostage
  • UN heads say Syria aid needs ‘largely unanswered’
  • Captain who left doomed ferry had 40 years at sea
  • UK woman held for murder after children’s bodies found
  • Washington calls S. Sudan violence an ‘abomination’
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Summer movie preview: Bay reboots ‘Transformers’
  • Business

  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • $103M Vista Land bonds tendered for redemption
  • Oil slips to $102 as US crude supplies seen rising
  • Technology

  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • New York police Twitter campaign backfires badly
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Cha cha train to follow Obama visit?
  • No word yet on inking of US-PH defense pact during Obama visit
  • Marketplace