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After a dearth of new Nissan models for what seemed like an eternity, local distributor Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) has finally hit the ground running with some product launches. Over the past two years, the company introduced the new Serena, facelifted X-Trail and new Leaf, and if these spyshots are any indication, it will be adding one more model relatively soon – the new N18 Almera.
These images, which come from The Ajerul Facebook page, show four units of the B-segment sedan on a trailer, and while the cars are still mostly covered up, the visible side profile and the design of the larger 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels on the higher-spec model point it out as the new Almera.
The presence of these cars near the KLIA Cargo Village means that the cars are most likely being shipped out, rather than in – probably to Japan for testing purposes. There are two units each of the low- and high-spec variants, which could mean that they are headed for crash tests (one for frontal impact, one for side), and it also means that ETCM may continue to offer different safety equipment for each variant.
Previously teased during the media test drive of the facelifted X-Trail earlier this year, the arrival of the Almera has been pencilled in for next year. It will be followed by the closely-related Kicks crossover, as well as the larger next-generation Sylphy later on.
Revealed in April as the Versa for the United States market, the new Almera rides on the Common Modular Family (CMF-B) platform shared with the new March and Renault Clio. It features a more distinctive design compared to the outgoing model, with a prominent “V-motion” grille, trapezoidal headlights (LEDs optional, with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights), blacked-out C-pillars and sharp two-piece tail lights.
The interior has also been overhauled, equipped with a new “Gliding Wing” dashboard lifted from the Kicks. In the US, the Versa is offered with features such as a large instrument display, a touchscreen head unit with Apple CarPlay, keyless entry and start, auto climate control, heated front seats and the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assists.
These include autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, auto high beam and optional blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, though it remains to be seen which of these systems – if any – will make it to our market.
Technical details have yet to be revealed, but while the Versa gets a 122 hp/154 Nm 1.6 litre HR16DE naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine paired to an Xtronic CVT, we’re expecting the Almera to soldier on with the same 102 PS/139 Nm 1.5 litre HR15DE unit as before.