The new Nissan Almera signals a return from the family hatchback wilderness for the Japanese carmaker. The C-segment hatchback will resurrect the defunct nameplate badge, and announces Nissan’s comeback to a market that it has not occupied since the last Almera bowed out in 2007. Best of all, there’ll be a circa-200bhp Almera Nismo hot hatch.
What do we know about the 2014 Nissan Almera?
The new Nissan hatchback will be revealed in the third quarter of 2014, making its in-the-metal debut at the Paris motor show in October.
Styling cues will likely mirror those of the current Note supermini and Resonance concept – expect an eye-catching styling swipe along the car’s doors, and angular C-shaped headlights that wrap around the main front grille, with a large Nissan badge front-and-centre, as per the new Qashqai and X-Trail.
Insiders report that a Nismo-badged hot hatch has already been signed off, complementing the Nismo line-up of Juke, GT-R, and future Qashqai models. Along with a red-pinstripe bodykit and stiffer chassis set-up, a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine with 212bhp is expected to see duty under the Almera Nismo’s bonnet. Look out, VW Golf GTI?
Nissan’s booming Sunderland factory won’t build the new Almera – Sunderland gets the job of stamping out Infiniti’s new Q30 instead, along with the Leaf EV and new Qashqai.
Nissan’s Barcelona plant will handle Almera production – the new hatch will be exported across Europe, ready to fight the Ford Focus, Mazda 3 and VW Golf. Ambitious, given Nissan’s built a reputation for being best at defying regular car pigeonholes…
Exactly – isn’t Nissan best of sticking to its SUV niches?
Apparently not – Nissan reckons there’s a market for ‘empty nester’ buyers coming out of their Jukes and Qashqais, who fancy another Nissan, but something more conventional than the (now thoroughly normal and conventional) quasi-SUV crossovers.
So we’re back to the days of forgettable Nissan hatchbacks then?
Not so, according to Nissan’s chief planning officer Andy Palmer. Speaking to CAR’s Ben Pulman, Palmer hinted the new Almera could still pack a controversial punch. ‘Not everyone will love it, but we know it's not a car everyone will love’, he said.
Palmer also quashed any rumours of a new Primera or larger Nissan saloons, saying ‘I don't plan on Nissan entering the 'D-segment'; we have Infiniti, with the Q30 and upwards.’