My second ever car turned out to be one of the most reliable cars I ever owned. The car in question was a Nissan Almera. As the years progressed it turned into the car of choice for (and forgive the stereotyping) the clergy, teachers and civil servants. This machine was massively popular and the reason for this was that it was known for being a very reliable car.
Although Nissan are doing brilliantly with their Qashqai at the moment, to me they are a slightly under-rated brand in this country. Their cars were, and are, well-built machines which stand the test of time. Now with that said I don't feel that their mainstream machines really stood the test of time in terms of styling. Take the Primera as an example, my eyes hurt every time I see one. The Almera, although extremely popular and very reliable, is very-much a bland looking machine.
But not everybody is after style in this world, and that is something I completely understand as a motoring journalist. I have driven some strange looking cars in my time which ended up being absolute gems - the best example here would be the Skoda Yeti - if I'm being completely honest I thought this was a hideous looking machine until the second I sat into it, and now I would consider it to be one of my favourite cars on the road.
Anyway today's report is about the Nissan Almera.
The interior of the Nissan Almera is a basic enough affair. One thing which stands out is that everything is in its right place. Space to the front is ample, but the rear could've done with a little extra leg room. As a one-time owner of an Almera I can vouch that head room is fine for my size (about 6 foot) and the seats, although completely normal, are comfortable enough for most journeys. The dash is very much a non-event, but is missing nothing but excitement. The inside of this machine reminds me of thee boring interior of the likes of the Toyota Corolla from the same period.
As I've mentioned before this could not, would not and should not be classed as a stylish machine. It is not stylish, it is very boring, but not ugly. It sits on the fence and is utterly inoffensive. To be fair to Nissan, they have mastered style in other models - but not this one.
But as I've said before, how a car looks doesn't matter to most people. Nowadays the important things that people look for in cars are reliability, fuel economy and safety - in no particular order.
This car is reliable. The most common complaint people talked about in this machine stems from the timing chain - but on checking certain forums (and this is not gospel, this is the word of ex-owners) this problem can be avoided by going for the 1.8litre model.
My experience with the Almera in the past proved to be a very fuel economical car. At the time I was getting at the very least 40-45mpg. This was a good result for the time and even now it would be considered as a good reading.
Another this which stood out about the Almera from this generation was the reliability it offered in terms of performance. I found the 1.8 to be nifty enough, but what really stood out to me was the steering - it was really good.
By 2003 this machine received a bit of a facelift and as part of it the suspension was retuned, new engines became available and the interior became a little nicer.
Thinking of buying?
If you are considering the purchase of a second hand Nissan Almera please bring somebody with you who understands mechanics. I say this at the end of every used car report. Cars are expenisve machines to buy, so to avoid getting a lemon bring someone who knows about these things. Pay them if you have to, because in the long run it could save you money.
Read more Nissan reviews here: http://www.cbg.ie/cbg-official-reviews/nissan/all-models/new-cars-reviews/