Almeras get a slating in the press. But then you never know exactly why. They say it's not as "dynamic" as others. Well what does that mean?
So I ignored all that nonsense and bought a used 3 door Almera Sport and it's terrific. Despite being a "Young Male Driver" I chose it for reliability, good NCAP score and value (up to £1k cheaper than alternatives). And I've not been disappointed.
The reliability is superb, starts every time first time and it's fun to drive (always more fun to drive a car when you know it won't break down). OK, it says Sport on the bootlid, but it's not that fast. However the 1.8 is nippy, easily cruises at motorway speeds and for its size it's not bad on fuel.
An Almera is different and for me it looks great. Admittedly some Almeras look a bit dowdy in certain colours and trims. But the Sport's got a little roof spoiler, smart wheels and that. Shallow, I know! But so much better than the ubiquitous Focus.
Brilliant seats, up there with Volvo seats for me and the dash is an ergonomic dream. The reports say it's "plasticky". Yep it is, but all the buttons work and aren't falling to bits. And if I was bothered about the look of the dashboard then I would be very sad.
To sum up, don't believe the reports, if you are not swayed by image, but want a reliable comfortable small family car the Almera fits the bill.