Engine: 1,498cc, 4-cylinder, DOHC with Continuously Variable-Valve Timing Control, Drive-by-Wire Technology.
Maximum power: 100bhp at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 139Nm at 4,000rpm
Transmission: Four-speed automatic
Features: Dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, Intelligent Key with immobiliser, keyless entry system, illuminated Push-Start button, automatic climate control, 4-speaker audio system with radio tuner, CD, MP3 and AUX-IN terminal, fabric seats, Nismo sports exhaust muffler, 16-inch Nismo alloy wheels with 205/55 Continental Max Contact MC5 tyres, front and rear bumper spoilers, side skirts and trunk lid spoiler.
Price (on-the-road-with insurance): RM92,813.50
As a family car, the Nissan Almera comes highly recommended for its value for money proposition and interior space.
But the downside is that its styling slants towards the ordinary, lacking the aggressive looks that enthusiasts might want.
That is until the Nismo Performance Package.
Equipped with a front lip, rear diffuser, side skirts, a rear boot lip, sports suspension system, sportier exhaust and a set of 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped by grippy Continental tyres – the Almera now looks the part.
Rather than have the additional “bodyparts” in matching Tungsten Silver as the car, the Almera’s new-found sportiness has been further personified with the kit in contrasting gun metal.
Although the Almera’s 4-cylinder twin cam engine hasn’t been tinkered with, it still stirs up a respectable 100bhp and 139Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
Transmission is the four-speed automatic.
Nonetheless, the front end sits 40mm lower, while the rear is down by 20mm, lowering its centre of gravity for a more sportier drive.
It isn’t all about aesthetics because the Nismo aero-package has been genuinely aerotuned, capable of providing some 36% of additional downforce at speed while reducing aerodynamic drag.
There is plenty to admire externally though the interior won’t have that same affect, a sudden anti-climax if you will, with everything left unexcitingly stock.
The exhaust note isn’t at all overtly intrusive, but not so much that it was rendered inaudible.
The bass from the exhaust was subtle enough to partially fulfil our desire for refinement ... better something than nothing, we say.
With the pedal to metal, that note does finally make a proper intrusion and that’s the main characteristic of all sport exhausts.
Those who can appreciate it will find the sound of the engine screaming ahead and that bassy exhaust note combination, to be quite invigorating.
There’s that hint of refinement while mixed into a deluge of mature sophistication, unlike most other exhaust systems that blatantly blare their existence to all as they slowly go about their business.
As we pulled away from standstill, the combination of a stiffer suspension with larger wheels fitted with lower profile tyres made the ride a bit more firmer than the standard Almera.
Although there’s significantly less suspension travel, the dampers perform admirably over uneven surfaces with some comfort dialled into its stiff nature, and that makes for a perfect ride in our books.
At speed, the Almera is rather capable of maintaining a tight line, to which we’d dare say that neutrality best describes its cornering etiquette.
And while it is capable of carrying a little more speed around the bends, we couldn’t help but prefer the brakes to have a little more bite in them, rather than to have left them as stock.
But, then again, what’s more to ask of the Almera, considering it carries a price tag from RM66,813.50 for the entry level Almera E with a manual gearbox to RM79,813.50 for the range-topping Almera VL (prices mentioned are OTR with insurance).
The full Nismo package will require an additional RM13,000, with its individual parts available separately if preferred.
Originally, the Almera was meant to serve the masses as an affordable yet economical car. With the Nismo package, you can also say hello to a youthful breath of vitality and better cornering velocity.
The Nismo package definitely adds more character to the Almera.
We only wish it could have been extended to the cabin, engine and brakes, but for now it’s enjoyment for most who have adopted this spacious and affordable B-segment sedan.