Now, new details on the coming hatch have surfaced online, following a host of spy photos obtained early in November.
Speaking with the magazine this week, Nissan design boss Shiro Nakamura said that the styling of the company's high-riding models can be translated to its smaller offerings.
"We cannot just be a crossover brand. We can make the Almera work. Getting it right is not an easy or quick answer, but the results of the Qashqai have bought us time," Nakamura-san said.
Heavy camouflage obscures much of the new model's finer details, but these new photos now offer a first look at the premium five-door hatch's final proportions.
Outspoken Nissan VP Andy Palmer has also talked on the new model's looks, telling Britain's Auto Express to anticipate an edgy new design.
"Where we can be different is that it won’t look like the Golf. We can be more provocative - that’s the advantage of the guys that come afterwards," he said.
If Palmer's not winding fans up, we might expect to see elements of April's Friend-Me concept appear on the body of this new hatch.
Palmer hinted that the face of the new model will be "a little bit left-field, a little bit edgy". And as for a name, buyers can expect a moniker that will be new, while evoking "something from the past".
He added that the 'V-grille' design of Nissan's recent models and concepts will feature on the new model, pointing to the style as a hint of the car's handling and dynamics.
Palmer said there will be no excuses with the new model, that in terms of dynamics and quality, "it has to match [the Golf]".
Engines will reportedly include a frugal 1.2 litre petrol mill and a 1.5 litre diesel (one or both likely sourced from partner Renault).
In regular trim, the new hatch's engines will be mated to either a six-speed manual or, yes, a CVT automatic transmission.
It is also clear from these shots that the new hatch will be offered in right-hand-drive, meaning that an Australian debut could eventually be on the cards.
Perhaps the oddest 'fact' among the reported details is that the new premium hatch could wear the 'Almera' badge - currently worn in Australia by a decidely more budget-focused light sedan.
(In other markets, our Almera is known alternately as the Sunny and the Bluebird Sylphy, all equally familiar Nissan trademarks of years gone-by.)
Will this new model replace the still-new Pulsar hatch in Australia?
Maybe, although it is possible we'll see it offered in up-spec performance trims only, taking a tack similar to Kia Australia's upcoming Pro Cee'd GT, which will be offered alongside the new Cerato range.
The new model will be built in Spain, and a production debut is expected to occur sometime in 2014.
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