2020 Nissan Almera VLT 1.0
The smaller cars segment in Zimbabwe probably hasn’t seen a buzz quite like this in recent memory, with multiple entrants such as the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Almera, the soon-to-be-updated Toyota Starlet and many more.
Design-wise, the Almera looks as though it has undergone several generational changes, so we think Nissan deserves full credit for making the N18 model look so starkly different. This truly is job well done.
The top VLT model is the one to spring for if you’re all about the looks. In terms of specifications, it’s nearly identical to the mid-range VLP, but tacks on bi-LED reflector headlights with LED daytime running lights, as well as LED fog lamps. It also gets a gloss black spoiler, but that can be had with the VL and VLP (as well as door visors and handle guards) should you opt to pay more for Exterior Styling Package.
The machined-finish 16-inch dual-tone alloy wheels are shod with chunky (205/55 profile) Continental UltraContact UC6 tyres, while the VL sits on boring 15-inch silver alloys wrapped with even fatter tyres. All three variants get LED combination tail lights with gloss black surrounds, integrated diffuser, two reverse sensors, and keyless entry with push-start button.
Inside, the cabin looks suitably up to date as well, with features such as leather upholstered Zero Gravity-inspired front semi-bucket seats, beige leather inserts on the dash and seats, automatic single-zone climate control, eight-inch Nissan Connect touchscreen head unit with Apple CarPlay support (no Android Auto, unfortunately), and a full-colour seven-inch digital display on the instrument panel.
The features mentioned above are standard for the VLP and VLT, but only the top model gets cruise control (passive), 360-degree surround view monitor with moving object detection, blind spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
All three variants get Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking (otherwise known as AEB), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and traction control, ABS, EBD, brake assist, two rear Isofix points as well as hill start assist as standard. Six airbags are standard for the VLP and VLT, but the VL makes do with just two.
Also standard across the board is the HR10DET 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine. It makes 73 Kw at 5,000 rpm and 152 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 4,000 rpm. An Xtronic CVT with D-Step Logic (simulates actual gearshifts in a conventional automatic gearbox) is standard, and there’s also a Sport Mode switch built into the back section of the gear lever. The Almera is front-wheel drive only.
Like before, leg room in the rear is more generous than head space. Up front and especially behind the wheel, though, it’s practically faultless where the driving position adjusts to a wide scope.
Accompanying it is a semi-digital instrument panel which still sees an old-fashioned analogue speedometer. Nissan should have simply made it an all-electronic affair.
Other than that, the Almera’s cabin sates for being functional yet offering sufficient aesthetics. The soft-touch material on the dash is a welcome dose for perceived quality, but whether it needs to contrast other areas with white colour is open to debate.