After months of teasing and speculation, the Nissan Almera was officially previewed by Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) this morning to the media. We’ve had quite a “long history” with this car, reporting live from its global unveiling in China, before showing you spyshots of the car from across the country. There was even an ad from an ETCM outlet last month which threw out some prices.

Well, no more guessing, because here’s the real deal. The Almera name has been chosen for Malaysia over ‘Sunny’ and this big B-segment sedan is receiving the baton from Nissan’s previous effort, the Latio. That roomy car was awkwardly shaped with sharp edges, but the Almera carries a smooth, curvy shape.

The footprint of the new car isn’t much different from the Latio – the 1,695 mm width is unchanged while the Almera’s 4,426 mm length is up by 11 mm. Wheelbase remains at 2,600 mm, which is a good 50 mm longer than that of the Toyota Vios. The Latio was the Peter Crouch in its class; the Almera is less lanky by 21 mm, but still dwarfs over classmates Vios and Honda City.

The Almera’s generous dimensions allows ETCM to claim best-in-class cabin space and highlight the car’s 636 mm rear legroom as USPs. Boot volume is a generous 490 litres. Shoppers in this segment who put space as priority will love the Almera, no matter what some “enthusiasts” say.

Sitting on Nissan’s V platform that also underpins the March hatchback, the Almera is par for the class under the skin. Front MacPherson struts, a rear torsion beam, ventilated discs up front and rear drum brakes are entirely expected for this application. The Almera rides on 185/65 R15 tyres.

We already know that unlike the Thai Ecocar spec Almera (1.2L three-cylinder, 79 PS/106 Nm), our Almera will be powered by Nissan’s HR15DE 1.5 litre engine.

In Malaysia, this DOHC and VTC equipped four-pot makes 102 PS and 139 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, and is mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Not class leading on paper, but it would be foolish to equate headline figures with real world drivability – they do not always walk hand-in-hand. Nissan’s internal tests say that the Almera is capable of 14.9 km/l combined.

Equipment-wise, top-spec Almeras get some pretty cool kit such as Intelligent Key with push-start button, which means your key fob never needs to leave your pocket or bag. Not to be scoffed at, since some cars costing over RM400k don’t have this feature. The car’s boot can also be opened remotely via the key fob.

Automatic climate control and steering wheel audio controls are also available; the latter is quite a novelty in an affordable Nissan. The Almera also has what Nissan calls Fine Vision Meter (self illuminated, also found in Infinitis) with multi information display.

Five colours are available – Brilliant White, Tungsten Silver, Twilight Grey, Sapphire Black, Bronze Gold. Prices are not yet finalised, but expect to pay between RM70k to RM85k. ETCM is not revealing the trim levels yet, but some of the highlighted kit will only appear on higher grades, naturally.

You can register your interest now (either online or at the showcase locations below), but deliveries will begin in the fourth quarter at the latest.

The Almera will be on display at Pavilion KL and Dataran Pahlawan (Melaka) this weekend, before heading to Queensbay Mall Penang from August 16 to 21, Paradigm Mall PJ from August 23 to 26, Juru Autocity Penang from August 30 to September 2 and East Coast Mall Kuantan from August 31 to September 2.

 

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