The popular Nissan Almera has acquired an air of sophistication with a subtle facelift, revised suspension settings and detail changes to its interior.

The Nissan Almera, which was recently named Britain's most reliable small family car in insurer Warranty Direct's Reliability Index, has acquired an air of sophistication with a subtle facelift, revised suspension settings and detail changes to its interior in South Africa.


The main styling changes to Nissan's C-segment challenger include new bumpers (front and rear), headlight clusters and wheels. The front of the car now features chrome-bezelled projector-style headlamps, set in a titanium-coloured surround. Separate projector lamps for both main and low beams are set behind an enlarged translucent cover.

The Almera's bumper is deeper than its predecessor's and has an integrated engine air intake that runs almost the full width of the car, a honeycomb mesh grille and, depending on spec, small circular fog lights. The revised rear end styling features a strong horizontal line and new flat-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels for flagship versions. Other models have new wheeltrims on 14-inch wheels.


Under the skin, the Almera's MacPherson strut front suspension and twist beam axle rear suspension has been tuned in line with local usage patterns and has slightly firmer damper- and stiffer spring ratings. Nissan claims these revisions will "result in a quieter ride and a reduction in the amount of rear bump-through experienced when heavily laden, improve high speed stability and make the car more controllable in an emergency".

As before, the Almera is powered by a choice of fuel-injected 1,6- or 1,8-litre multivalve powerplants - rated at 81 kW and 138 N.m of torque and 88 kW and 161 N.m of torque respectively, but the range has been increased by one derivative - the 1,6 litre Elegance, identified by 15-inch alloy rims with 195/60 tyres, fog lamps and chromed door handles. Upholstery is a combination of leather side bolsters and cloth and electric windows have been added to the rear.


New interior trim comprises dark door trim material and seat upholstery offset by a lighter material for door pillars and headlining. The dashboard now features black finish throughout, replacing the previous two-tone treatment. A tuner/CD frontloader is now the default sound system. There is a new-look steering wheel, leather covered in the Elegance, gearknob and handbrake lever.

As before, the entry-level 1,6 Comfort is "designed to appeal chiefly to the fleet operator or the budget-conscious private buyer", Nissan said. The 1,6 Luxury model is offered in five-speed manual or four-speed automatic derivatives. Electric front windows, electrically adjusted mirrors, external temperature display and colour-coded mirror housings are standard on the 1,6 Luxury.

The 1,8-litre Elegance is differentiated from its smaller-engined sibling by its colour-coded side rubbing strips and side sills in the colour of the paintwork. Full leather upholstery is standard.


Safety equipment includes front seatbelt pretensioners and driver's airbag to all models, supplemented by a passenger version on the 1,8 Elegance. ABS is fitted to the 1,6 Elegance and the flagship model get rear disc brakes and Brake Assist.