On January 16, Nissan Motor Philippines will officially launch the all-new Almera subcompact sedan to formally commence the latter's battle with the likes of the Toyota Vios, the Honda City and the Hyundai Accent, among others. A week before the introduction, we've already gotten hold of the official spec sheet as well as the final prices of the Japanese carmaker's locally assembled small car.
The Philippine-market Almera will have only one engine--1.5-liter in-line-four gasoline rated at 98hp and 134Nm--but three variants: Base MT, Base AT and Mid AT. Two transmissions are available: five-speed manual and four-speed automatic.
If you're wondering why the top variant is called "Mid," that's because a higher version with a 1.6-liter engine is available in other markets but we won't get it here. "There is a higher variant but its pricing will already cross over to the C segment, and that won't be aligned with our strategy of delivering C-segment features for B-segment pricing," explains NMPI marketing vice president Lee Junia. "The Mid variant is actually the top variant already for the 1.5-liter units."
NMPI says that the three main selling points of the Almera are: (1) affordability, (2) upscale design and (3) comfort. The carmaker points out that the Almera has class-leading cabin space, thanks to a wheelbase (2,600mm) that's apparently the same as that of the Toyota Altis, which is one class higher than the new Nissan.
The new Almera will have disc brakes in front and drum brakes at the rear. All variants will also be equipped with standard 15-inch alloy wheels and 185/65 tires. Headlamps are halogen, with the Mid variant having additional fog lamps. Inside, the seat material is fabric across all variants, and the audio head unit is a 2DIN four-speaker CD player with MP3 function and iPod connectivity. The safety features are also shared by the Base and Mid variants: dual front airbags as well as antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Remote keyless entry is also standard.
The main features of the Mid variant not found in the Base versions are:
* Steering-wheel audio controls;
* Fog lamps;
* Rear spoiler;
* Adjustable headrests and lift adjustment for the driver's seat;
* Rear center armrest with two cupholders;
* Service interval info for the computer display;
* "Fine-vision" instrument meters;
* Silver finishers in the cabin; and
* Rear "comfort fan"
And now, for the most important piece of information: pricing. The Base MT costs P710,000, the Base AT goes for P760,000, and the Mid AT is priced at P830,000.
Given the specs and the pricing, do you think the all-new Nissan Almera has what it takes to compete in a cutthroat subcompact segment?