Like the dichotomy of metric vs imperial measurements, the car itself is called the Versa in the USA because some things just can’t be consistent. But with more shiny bits and updated fascia, the refreshed Almera sedan definitely looks fitting.
Though it we and the rest of the world get an online peek here, its first public appearance will be at the upcoming Miami Auto Show that starts this weekend.
The added bling up front and on those wheels do make up the bulk of first impressions with the Almera – I mean Versa – but gone is some of the recognisability of Nissan’s V-Motion corporate face. It’s now so ‘hexagonal’ that it remind us more of an Audi.
At least the rear has escaped the styling revision and remains one of the best looking cars in its segment, but despite this its Malaysian sales success relative to the Honda City and Toyota Vios remains a puzzling disappointment.
In the USA, there are 3 variants on offer just like Malaysia, though differing in name. In terms of equipment, the noteworthy additions include a wireless smartphone charging pad, an improved 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, and even a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Unlike the 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder, the US-spec Almera carries over its 1.6-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol with 122hp and 155Nm, but we reckon the turbo unit is still the punchier of the two despite what its on paper figures (100hp, 152Nm) suggests.
It’s paired to Nissan’s familiar and widely used Xtronic CVT, driving the front wheels. However, given the lacklustre reception since its Malaysian launch, it leaves the door open for Edaran Tan Chong Motor to insist upon the 1.6-litre N/A unit when the facelift cycle does come around to our market.
After all, those aforementioned closest rivals have been able to remain sitting pretty at the top with similar capacity four-cylinder mills, at least with exception of the City RS e:HEV.
Time will tell if ETCM is willing to give the Almera a second swing in the month to come, so for now the current car remains an underrated, handsome, and well-equipped B-segment four-door saloon.