If you want to be seen to be boring or safe and sensible get yourself an Almera!
The external look of the car reminds me of the cars I drew when I was 5 years old. It looks bland and utterly non-descript.
The interior fares slightly better, bit is spoilt by the lack of colour. It seems you can choose any colour, so long as its grey.
The interior of the car is comfortable, even for a 6 footer like myself. The seats are supportive and firm. Having air-conditioning and front electric windows improves the comfort.
The driver position is a boon. The controls are all ergonomically placed and reading the gauges on the dash-board is relatively straight-forward. The light-stalk is easy to control, although I find the rear wiper control on the other stalk more tricky.
Passenger space and storage are adequate for this size car. I had purchased it as a family car.
I found the performance of the car to be adequate. It is not particularly responsive, but it cruises on motorways without difficulty. Certainly not a car for a boy-racer.
Given the performance and engine size the fuel economy is a little disappointing. However, the overall cost of keeping it is quite reasonable. Helped by the fact it is so reliable.
The handling of the car is imprecise and having previously driven Fiats, I found the steering to be less responsive, suffering from under-steer. However, it does seem to hold the road well.
The gear and clutch controls are very smooth, although less forgiving than the Fiats, which means I am prone to stalling it more frequently.
Overall, I'm happy with the car, it does what it says on the tin, but that's about it. It lacks any personality or quirkiness. Maybe it was designed by accountants for accountants.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th May, 2006