2020 Nissan Almera vs. the competition: Your other subcompact sedan options

When it comes to subcompact sedans, the Nissan Almera is likely not going to be the first choice in most car buyer’s minds, considering the huge clout that established names such as the Toyota Vios, Honda City, and even the Hyundai Accent have in the area. But for those of you willing to go against the tide, or at least want to be found in a more distinct subcompact on the road, the Nissan Almera offers many positive selling points.


The current Nissan Almera, which carries over from the 2019 model year, is available in two engines, a 1.2-liter inline 3-cylinder (78hp, 106Nm) and a 1.5-liter inline four (98hp, 134Nm). Transmission options include a 4-speed auto for the upper trims and a 5-speed manual for the lower ones.


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Measuring 4425mm x 1695mm x 1505mm, with a 2600mm wheelbase and 150mm ground clearance, the Almera radiates the organic design theme that Nissan is known for, favoring curves over character lines. Key elements of the Emotional Geometry design language in the new Almera kicks off with the V-Motion grille, complemented by boomerang-shaped headlamps and tail lamps, kick-up C-pillars, and a curvy roof. Other noteworthy exterior features include multi-reflector halogen lamps, intermittent wipers, and front foglamps and rear spoiler for the top 1.5 VL AT trim.


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The Almera’s cabin is sure to come as a pleasant surprise, as the surfaces have a soft and upscale appearance. The overall design looks classic, like it belongs to a more expensive car. High quality fabric upholsters the seats, ensuring comfort for all five occupants. The 4-speaker 2-DIN infotainment system allows for CD, USB, AUX, and iPod connectivity.


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For safety features, the Nissan Almera offers driver and front passenger airbags, antil-lock brakes (with EBD and BA), and 3-point ELR seatbelts. An immobilizer also comes standard for all trims.


As for the Almera’s rivals in the market, get to know them below.


The Ayala Corp. relaunched Kia in early 2019, with a fresh lineup that included the new Soluto sedan. Known as the Pegas in China, where the car is assembled, all of the Kia Soluto’s four trims (LX MT, LX AT, EX MT, and EX AT) are powered by a 1.4-liter Kappa Dual-CVVT gasoline engine that outputs 94hp and 132Nm of torque. This engine pairs with either a four-speed auto with smart selector or five-speed manual transmission, delivering power to the front wheels.


Inside, a 2570mm wheelbase provides ample spaciousness for both front and rear occupants alike. Comfy seating for five is provided by the clever interior design that allows for plenty of room to stretch, even for full-size adults.


Circles characterize the dashboard design theme, typified by the rotary AC switches and 360-degree rotating airducts (EX variants only). An Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible audio system, 2.8-inch LCD cluster, and steering-wheel-installed audio remote control provide added ease of use for the Soluto’s many features and functions.


Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) launched the 2020 facelifted version of the Toyota Vios compact car late in July last year. From the get-go, shoppers of the country’s most popular car get nine variants in all, making the Vios more diverse than ever to meet the wide-ranging needs of the Filipino car owner.


Exterior-wise, the facelifted Vios hosts a restyled fog lamp/air vent assembly in the lower front grille, which now takes on a trapezoid shape as opposed to the reverse-trapezoid of the outgoing model. The air vent/fog lamp assembly that dimple the lower grille also goes through some design modifications, now angled inward with a bit of curvature added up top. The LED headlights have also been updated to give the Vios front a more contemporary look.


The top variant runs on a 1.5-liter gasoline engine that delivers 106hp and 140Nm of torque, with shifting provided by a continuous variable transmission (CVT). Meanwhile, the lower trims come powered by a 1.3-liter engine with 98hp and 123Nm of output, paired with a 5-speed manual. Both are known to deliver the excellent fuel economy that commercial fleets and operators enjoy.


Inside, the infotainment system is now compatible with both Android and Apple music players. What’s more this touchscreen is available across the range, save for the two low-rung models, which still have the 2DIN audio system of old. As for advanced safety features, the Vios has hill-start assist, vehicle stability control, and a security alarm with immobilizer. The upper ranges also come with Smart Entry with wireless doorlock and speed sensing.


After dropping the Brio Amaze from the lineup, the City subcompact once again becomes the smallest sedan in Honda PH’s current crop of offerings. The latest version of the City has an edgier front fascia than its predecessor, thanks to a more pronounced version of Honda's 'Solid Wing Face' design language.


The new 1.0-liter gas engine arrives with more power and pull—120hp and 173Nm to be exact, a huge improvement compared to the predecessor’s 1.5-liter i-VTEC’s 118hp and 145Nm. The added brunt is made possible through various enhancements in the engine assembly, including the newly introduced BorgWarner turbocharger, a more economical compression ratio, and finally, Euro 5-compliant construction.


The design of the interior receives a major overhaul, with a completely new dashboard setup that looks inspired by the Honda Jazz. In terms of size, new City is longer, wider, and lower than its predecessor. The wheelbase is also shorter on the 2020 City than the old unit, which is somewhat of a head scratcher.


At the heart of the dashboard panel lies an 8-inch touchscreen complete with  Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Mirroring the angle of the rear windshield, the dashboard also appears at a steeper angle than before. The air-conditioner vents are also noticeably upright instead of sideways like in the old model. All-black leather seats are standard, while a two-tone ivory/black theme is offered as an option, along with chrome door handles and a glossy dashboard.


With a growing market, Hyundai sought to rebrand the humble Accent sedan into a dynamic and more sophisticated vehicle, and it looks like the South Korean carmaker succeeds in this regard, as the subcompact is now big on style and performance. Helping it rise from the ranks is an eye-popping hexagonal front grille coupled with chrome front bumper trims that further accentuate the new design’s elevated style.


Two powertrains are available for Accent buyers—a 1.6-liter CRDi VGT good for 126hp and 260Nm, and a 1.4-liter Kappa MPI Dual CVVT with 98hp and 133Nm. Each grade is available in either 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.


One good thing (or bad, depending on how you look at it) about the Accent is that it offers the same cabin features across the board, which means you get the same seats, infotainment, and everything else regardless of trim.


For safety, the Accent provides owners with airbags, seatbelts, and ABS with EBD.


Chevrolet PH’s entry into the subcompact sedan segment is engineered for practicality, but style points abound, beginning with the refined aesthetic of the polished chrome trimmings on the front grille, to the exciting inbuilt sunroof with slide and tilt function, and on to the rest of the exterior and interior features.


Two gasoline engines are available, one is a 1.3-liter VVT Inline-4 (100hp, 127Nm) and the other is a more potent 1.5-liter DVVT Inline-4 (109hp, 141Nm). The lone 1.3-liter variant shifts solely via a 5-speed manual transmission, while the two 1.5-liter variants come exclusively with a 4-speed auto gearbox.


Inside the Chevrolet Sail subcompact, buyers will find a comfortable interior with plenty of legroom in the front and at the back, ready to provide a pleasant ride regardless of distance. Standard safety comes by way of airbags, seatbelts, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution.


The Mirage G4’s latest version remains virtually unchanged since 2018. Dropping the number of variants from four to three, all Mirage G4s are powered by a 1.2-liter gasoline engine that delivers 77hp and 100Nm of torque. The engine is connected to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in the top trims and a 5-speed manual in the base.


Though the Mirage G4 has some sharp styling cues, it’s starting to look dated, especially when lined among the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup that now come in Dynamic Shield. Still, the G4's interior can be relied on to accommodate up to five average sized Filipino adults.


The trunk offers enviable storage space amounting to 450 liters in total. This means you’ll have no problem fitting five travel luggage or three golf bags in the G4's trunk. Safety-wise, the top Mirage G4 variant comes with dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes and brake override. The infotainment system also acts as a rearview screen when the gears are in reverse.


The Suzuki Dzire is available in three variants, with all trims are powered by a 1.2-liter gasoline engine that puts out 82hp and 113Nm of torque. The GA variant’s power mill is connected to a five-speed manual transmission, while the GL and GL Plus motors are mated to a 5-speed AGS, a type of automated manual transmission featuring an Intelligent Shift Control Actuator. Cargo space is listed as 378 liters, while safety features include a Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) body, dual airbags, rear parking sensors, Isofix child seat, anti-lock brake system, immobilizer, and security alarm.


Photos from Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Suzuki

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