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Nissan Almera ST Auto review

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    The Almera ST has a fairly standard small car feel to the ride with a degree of sportiness.

Peter Barnwell road tests and review the Nissan Almera ST Auto, with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

Nissan's Almera ain't pretty with a dated, upright look only a mother could love.

Nissan needs to lose the pancake boot, slab sides and kooky face and head hunt a decent designer to give (most of) their cars a lift. This one is like a booted Micra and is a size up on most competitors in the light car segment. That's a positive.

VALUE

We got hold of the $18,990 Almera ST auto and there wasn't a rush to get hold of the keys. The Almera ST is also available in manual for $16,990. Goodies include Bluetooth phone and a multi function trip computer with the reset button in the middle of the instrument pod. The audio is acceptable and there are some wheel controls for audio and phone.

TECHNOLOGY

It runs the same powertrain as high spec' Micra; a twin cam, 1.5-litre, petrol four cylinder with 75kW/139Nm output. The auto is a four-speeder. Go for the manual and you get one extra cog, something the auto desperately needs.

Why? Because it hunts (flicks between gears) between third and fourth incessantly on the highway and particularly on hills unless you push the overdrive off button locking it in third cog. On a short stretch of hilly highway, we left it in D and counted 18 "hunts" from the bottom of the hill to the top -- about eight kilometres further along.

This has the effect of increasing fuel consumption alarmingly which was difficult to ascertain because fuel info' is given in kilometres per litre instead of litres per 100km. Nissan says it uses 6.3-litres/100km average. A possibility we think. Engine performance is OK and once you're up and running on the flat, it's relatively smooth and quiet.

DESIGN

Then you only have to put up with the totally hard interior bereft of any soft surfaces except for the seats and carpet. The dash has a bulging passenger side for some reason and a control panel cluster in the middle which is easy to use. On the plus side is generous kit (to a point), impressive room particularly in the rear seat and headroom areas. The boot is large and there's a full size spare.

SAFETY

You get six airbags and seeing as the Micra scores four stars from ANCAP so Almera should be the same...

DRIVING

It has a fairly standard small car feel to the ride with a degree of sportiness. But the drum rear brakes are out of the ark. It's comfortable and composed through turns but don't bother pushing it as you might with a Ford Fiesta. The suspension is a strut front/torsion beam rear which is simple and effective.

VERDICT

The price is steep for what you get. Performance is adequate, the auto is outdated and the hard unyielding interior is not a pretty place to spend your driving time.

Price: from $18,990 (auto)
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Resale:  50 per cent (Source: Glass's Guide)
Service interval: 10,000km/6 months
Safety rating: not tested
Spare: Full-size
Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cyl, 75kW/139Nm
Transmission: 4-speed auto; FWD
Body: 4.4m (L); 2.5m (w); 1.5m (h)
Weight: 1008kg
Thirst: 6.7L/100km, 159g/km CO2

RIVALS

Toyota Yaris
Price: from $14,990
Engine: 1.3 litre four-cylinder, 67kW/121Nm; 1.5 litre four cylinder, 80kW/141Nm
Transmission: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Thirst: 5.7L/100Km

 

 

Toyota Yaris - see other Toyota Yaris verdicts

 

 

Honda Jazz VTi-S
Price: from $20,990
Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 88kW/145Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, front drive
Thirst: 6.7L/100km, CO2 159g/km

 

 

Honda Jazz - see other Honda Jazz verdicts

 

 

Hyundai Accent Premium
Price: $22,990
Engine: 1.6-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 91kW/156Nm
Transmission: 4-speed auto, front drive
Thirst: 6.4L/100km, CO2 151g/km

 

 

Hyundai Accent - see other Hyundai Accent verdicts

 

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 2 of 2 comments

  • We just purchased Jan 2013 ST Almera, We are very impressed with the road holding, fuel efficiency, large leg room in rear and large boot. @ $15,990 drive away great value.

    Mr & Mrs MJ McGuire of Adelaide Posted on 14 April 2013 10:36am
  • I drove one of these today as a loaner while my car was being serviced. 
    I found it very hard, plasticy and cheap looking in the interior. I actually thought it was an old car, got the shock of my life when I saw it only had 3k on the clock.
    The drive was ok but to be fair I only drove it a few k’s so can’t comment on driveability under different conditions.
    There’s more out there for the money.

    Char Banfield of Queensland Posted on 18 January 2013 11:45pm

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