Sneak peek: Little big car


11:31 PM November 20th, 2012

By: Jason K. Ang, November 20th, 2012 11:31 PM

NISSAN’s new Almera

What is it: Nissan’s new Almera subcompact hatchback

Nissan has used the Almera nameplate for the European version of its Sentra?Sunny compact sedan and hatchback. Now, the Japanese company is using the model name for its new generation of subcompact sedan. Indeed, the car will be known as the Sunny in other markets.

Positioning: 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’s strategy will be to compete with a larger car within the class, which will by designation be mostly subcompacts.

Design: The Almera is rather large, at about 4425 mm long and 1695 mm wide, with a large 2600-mm wheelbase. This enables a larger interior, with what Nissan claims is kneeroom comparable to that of D-segment sedans. Trunk space will also rival that of the City, at 490 liters.

The Almera follows the current jellybean shape favored by Japanese subcompacts: a bulbous silhouette with large headlamps and taillamps. Available enhancements will be a rear spoiler, fog lamps, and various chromed bodywork bits.

Engine and transmission: Almera will run a 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine-again, just like the Mirage. Projected power is 77 hp and 106 Nm. The engine will be mated to Nissan’s CVT gearbox or a 5-speed manual. Nissan claims fuel mileage upwards of 20 km/liter. A 1.5-liter 4-cylinder may also be offered.

Chassis: The classic formula of McPherson struts up front and a torsion beam rear, for compact packaging as well as for economic reasons. The Almera will feature electric power steering, 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. The Nissan March shares a platform with the Almera.

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