2009 Nissan Altima Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Nissan Altima

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Altima Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 175 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 23/31 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Nissan Altima

  • The 2009 Nissan Altima bundles contemporary styling, athletic driving manners and a cozy cabin in either coupe or sedan varieties. The smart execution of the Altima places it among our top picks for sporty family cars.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong engines, smooth and responsive continuously variable transmission (CVT), responsive steering, attractive styling inside and out, high-grade interior materials, high crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Stability control unavailable on four-cylinder models, mediocre rear seating comfort, complex option grouping.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Nissan Altima receives only minor changes. Base models have a few more standard features this year, including power mirrors and a trip computer. Available options now include dual-zone climate control with rear vents and a sunroof as a stand-alone option.

Full 2009 Nissan Altima Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Nissan Altima receives only minor changes. Base models have a few more standard features this year, including power mirrors and a trip computer. Available options now include dual-zone climate control with rear vents and a sunroof as a stand-alone option.

Introduction

The term "family car" generally stirs up connotations of fun trailing far behind function. Add the term "sporty" and one assumes it's the same old car with bigger wheels, a rear spoiler and maybe some body cladding. Such is not the case with the 2009 Nissan Altima. Instead, the Altima is more of a sports-oriented car with the conveniences of a typical family car.

Available as either a coupe or sedan, the Altima delivers plenty of behind-the-wheel stimulation as well as enough comfort and tranquility to satisfy all five occupants. The coupe, which Nissan added last year, is more than just a sedan with two doors lopped off. It rides on a shorter wheelbase and has its own distinctive styling -- from a distance, you might think it's an Infiniti G37 that hasn't quite come out of adolescence. As you would hope, the coupe's smaller size makes it a bit sharper in terms of handling and road feel, though it does comes at the expense of rear passenger comfort.

Both Altima body styles can be luxuriously appointed with an impressive array of options, but those options are typically part of large and pricey packages. These feast-or-famine packages are further complicated by being conditionally paired with other packages. This structuring makes it difficult, if not downright impossible, to pick and choose among options you would consider essential or frivolous.

Despite its inconvenient options structure, the 2009 Nissan Altima is still a prime choice for a midsize sedan or coupe. Its closest competitors include the Ford Fusion, the Honda Accord (also available as a coupe), the redesigned Mazda 6, the Saturn Aura and the Toyota Camry. All are worthy choices, but if you want your "family car" to have some "sports car" in it, the Altima is definitely worthy of your attention.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Nissan Altima is available as either a midsize sedan or a coupe. Trim levels for the sedan start at the bargain-basement level with the Altima 2.5. This Altima comes with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, cruise control and a trip computer. Noticeably absent is an audio system, although it is pre-wired with four speakers. This base model is only available as a sedan and by customer order. No options are offered.

The first step up from the base 2.5 is the 2.5 S trim level, which is available in either coupe or sedan format. Additions include a six-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack, keyless ignition/entry and various interior trim bits. Above the 2.5 S trim level is the 3.5 SE, which, as the name implies, sports a 3.5-liter V6. The 3.5 SE also comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, sideview mirrors with integrated signals, a power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls, and wood-tone interior accents. The 3.5 SE coupe gets further adorned with 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, a sunroof and foglights.

The luxury-oriented Altima 3.5 SL is the most amply appointed trim level and is only available as a sedan. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, leather seats (heated for the driver and front passenger), metallic interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear passenger vents, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, interior mood lighting, Bluetooth and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with an in-dash six-CD/MP3 changer and satellite radio.

Options for the Altima are as difficult to comprehend as particle physics and come with more restrictions than a last-minute vacation reservation. A luxuriously appointed 2.5 S can be had with the addition of two different Convenience Packages -- they contain many of the standard features found on the 3.5 SE. There's also the 2.5 SL Package. Each of these requires purchasing the preceding package. The 3.5 SE can be augmented with a Sport Package as well as an SL-like Premium Package. The Connection and Technology Packages add conveniences like a navigation system with a rearview monitor, as well as additional SL-level items.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Nissan Altima offers two engine choices. Altima 2.5 models come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Altima 3.5 models have a 3.5-liter V6 that pumps out 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Most models (except for the base 2.5 and 3.5 SL) are offered with a standard six-speed manual transmission, with a CVT as an option.

Altimas with the four-cylinder engine can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in the mid-7-second range, which is certainly quick for this segment. The more powerful V6 brings that time down to 6.2 seconds for the manual transmission and 6.6 seconds for the CVT. Fuel economy is surprisingly prudent, considering the healthy power output. The four-cylinder manages 23 mpg in the city/31 on the highway and 26 mpg combined. The V6 turns in 19/26/22 mpg. These figures are for Altimas with the CVT, but the manual transmission's gas mileage is essentially the same.

Safety

Occupant protection is handled by standard front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Antilock disc brakes are standard across all Altimas, but traction control only comes on the 3.5 models. Stability control isn't offered on 2.5 models and it's optional on the 3.5.

In government crash tests, the Altima sedan has been awarded the highest rating (five out of five stars) for both frontal- and side impact protection. The coupe was awarded four out of five stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars in side-impact tests. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests resulted in a top score of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the 2009 Nissan Altima offers a quiet and attractive cabin made with top-notch materials. All coupes come with a hand brake and sportier seats with more side bolstering, unlike the sedan -- which has more traditional seats and a foot-operated parking brake on CVT models. With the smaller coupe dimensions, front headroom is reduced and rear seating is compromised. Front seats in all Altimas are superb -- especially when the power seats are optioned -- offering a high degree of comfort and support.

Driving Impressions

The sport-oriented suspension and precise steering provide enough exhilaration to satisfy driving enthusiasts while still managing to deliver a civilized, comfortable and quiet ride. The four-cylinder models should provide sufficient power for the majority of drivers, while the V6's 270 hp is enough to thrill more spirited pilots.

We actually recommend the CVT over the six-speed manual. It is by far the best CVT we've tested, thanks to its responsiveness and use of available power. The manual gearbox falls short, with its sudden clutch engagement, weak shifter and sloppy gear selection. In addition to the manual transmission, the Altima's brakes could also use some improvement. Pedal feel is positive, but stopping distances from 60 mph were only average for this class, requiring 126-134 feet.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Nissan sucks

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Let me just say that, one shall never buy Nissan. If you need your warrenty honored, you will have to spend more on your inspections and work around that Nissan will recommend before they agree to pay for it. I have Altima 2009 with bad transmission. Nissan support recommended 1800 worth of work around and it still has a problem and they are not honoring the warrenty. Nissan users, please lets get togather and sue Nissan. It shouldn't be selling these cars in USA because they are treating customers really bad.




Glad i bought it

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

I bought my 2009 Nissan Altima new. I was looking for a new car and went to a local car show, where they had many cars of the type I was looking for (sedans). I’m 6’5” tall, my first concern was whether I fit or not. Either not enough head room or not enough leg room eliminated 90% of the cars. Price range, basic features, comfort narrowed it down to this car. I chose the bigger engine for more control and better handling. I have almost 60,000 miles on it now and I still love the car. I did have a problem with the front windshield cracking within the first month; they replaced it without any problem. This car has been well worth my investment.




2009 altima hybrid--disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I really wanted to like this car. Even though it wasn't originally sold in the Midwest where I live, I had a dealer get one for me back in 2010. Over the weekend, my car stranded me with the infamous steering column issue. I couldn't get it started in the Mall parking lot...no prior warning lights, etc. Upon trying to start it, the red "key" light came on. Today they fixed it under the "extended warranty" which should've been a recall. The dealer did tell me the parts aren't always in stock, and some customers had to wait a month for a part and repair. Bad job, Nissan. The romance is over, and I'm kicking you to the curb.




I love my 09 nissan

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

very fun to drive around in, and my comfort level in this car is excellent!!! I added on 20% window tint and all the girls turn their heads to look at me. What can I say this car just feels right for me. My last car didn't feel right at all. The engine is very quiet, and it is a undercover powerhouse best 4cly engine I have ever had, even comes with dual exhaust. I don't understand all these bad reviews because I absolutely love the car and have had zero problems since I bought it (not to mention it was a rental before I got it). I got it at 33,668 miles for 14,147$$. I love this car if you are considering purchasing this car I would say this would be the most efficient car you can get.



2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Altimas are not reliable and

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

The air compressor clutch failed on my Altima with only 52,000 miles on it.The cost to repair it is $1000.00 and Nissan has refused to cover the cost of repair because they say that my car is "outside of its warranty parameters." Two reputable mechanics have informed me that it is unheard of for a car with such low mileage that has been impeccably maintained to have a air compression clutch failure.Nissan is not willing to look beyond the warranty parameters and see this as an ethical, good business, customer service issue.They are basically saying that even if the mechanics of the vehicle fall apart after the warranty period, Nissan will not stand by its vehicle.




3 major failures within 50k

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I bought this car used at 40k miles, history was good. I have driven it for 50k miles (so at 90k now). Since I have purchased it, there have been 3 major failures, and also a recall that turned out to be nothing. The first major failure was the exhaust manifold cracking and needing to be replaced. An exhaust manifold should never crack that early, and the exhaust shop told me he has seen a lot of Altimas with this problem. Second major problem was the Electronic Steering Column Lock. This failure caused me to be stranded, as the car would not start. As of two days ago the final major failure occurred. Dealer is saying it is a rod bearing! STAY AWAY - much better options out there.



Talk About The 2009 Altima

2009 Nissan Altima Discussions See all Started By

doglover70
doglover70
06-03-2014
I am working with a girl that has a 2009 Nissan Altima. It has developed the transmission problems every one on this forum has described. I just want to know how I can be proactive and prevent a prob...


wantanaltima
wantanaltima
12-25-2013
I have a 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5. Where I live, we're in a pretty cold period and at times the drivers side front door will open (but then not close) or not open at all thus requiring me to climb in f...


sivalalith
sivalalith
09-17-2014
So I'm trying to buy a used Nissan Altima 2.5 S which is in year 2009 with 80K miles and for the price 10K. I have noticed that in Auto Check it says there's a record stating loan/lien in 2012. I want...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 23
  • cty
/
  • 31
  • highway
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