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Hidden Heroes: Nissan Almera GTi

Published 21 June 2019

The 1995 Nissan Almera isn’t a car that many people will remember, as for the most part it was a largely forgettable car - its one gimmick being its ‘curry hook’ in the passenger footwell.

There’s a certain sense of irony, then, in the fact that many Almeras ended their days on takeaway delivery duty. 

But it wasn’t just the curries that were hot, as in 1996 Nissan injected a much needed dose of verve into the Almera line-up with the GTi model. With 140bhp from a rev-hungry 2.0-litre engine, it had a very different character to the other models in the Almera line-up.

Nissan Almera GTI (3) (1)

Available as a three-door hatchback only, the GTi was given some subtle body adornments, the most notable of which was a deep front bumper with inbuilt fog lamps.  It was never ‘in your face’ though, while the only interior changes were sports seats and white dials - not even a three-spoke steering wheel in sight.

As a hot hatch then, the Almera didn’t promise anything special. But that’s what it delivered - 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds was pretty rapid for the day, but it was the way in which the Almera handled that made eyebrows raise. The chassis, developed by Nissan’s Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, was incredible, with seemingly limitless grip and sharp, beautifully balanced steering. It was one of the best hot hatchbacks of its era, and the fact that it didn’t look like anything special was - to some - part of its appeal.

Nissan Almera GTI (2)

Today, the Almera GTi has all but disappeared and it remains an obscurity rather than a default choice for those in the market for a Nineties hot hatch. But to the educated few, it’s a fabulous car and one that deserves to be cherished and preserved.


aufdermaur    on 24 June 2019

Doesn't anyone remember the 70's police drama style adverts?

frank123    on 24 June 2019

I loved the simplicity of car dashboards, controls and instruments in those days. You could jump into any car and be able to use all the controls without giving them a second thought.

Now you have to consult the handbook just to be able to start many cars, never mind the in car entertainment and heating and ventilation.

The Gingerous One    on 24 July 2019

I think the same engine was also used in the Primera eGT. I had an M reg one and that went and handled very well. Again, very understated. But when was the last time I saw one ?? A very long time ago.....

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