What's the used Nissan Almera like?
The idea of a Nissan Almera trying to compete on equal terms with a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf is a bit like Stirling Moss pitching up at Silverstone, hoping to have a crack at the current Formula One hotshots. However, if you can live with all the pensioner jokes, the Almera doesn't make a bad second-hand buy.
First, the downsides. It's cramped by class standards and rear room is particularly poor, although the boot is a decent size. Refinement is lousy, with lots of road, wind and engine noise making its way into the cabin. The handling is reasonable, but while the ride can cope with smooth roads, its composure soon disappears on rough surfaces.
On the other hand, security is impressive and safety is good, with a four-star Euro NCAP rating. Build quality is sound, even on original cars from 2000, and all post-autumn 2002 face-lift models come with decent kit.