2012 Nissan Altima 2.5 S
(2.5L 4-cyl. CVT Automatic)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 3/8/2011 (2011 Altima 2.5s)
The Altima V6 is one of the most powerful cars in its class; the Altima 4-cyl is competitively potent. Both have with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) Nissan has effectively perfected, offering both efficiency and ample response.
Unlike some competitors that feel numb, the Altima is known for its communicative steering and confident handling characteristics. This is a driver's family sedan, so expect to feel a bit more of the road, but in a good way.
Of course, having some road feel gives up a little ride comfort, but the Altima never feels harsh or busy -- even the 3.5SR model is well controlled.
Our measurements have shown the Altima as quiet while idling or accelerating up to 70 mph as its competitors are, but the Altima is quieter at a 70-mph cruise, especially the 2.5 or 2.5S models. The 3.5SR surrenders some tire noise.
Controls are simple, intuitive and well labeled. Adding optional equipment like hard-drive nav and Bluetooth phone/audio add complexity but not much more effort to learn. One gripe: push-button radio tuning instead of a proper knob.
Typical sedan sight lines with a slightly larger-than-normal C-pillar that creates a blind spot. A rearview camera is available on 2.5S and 3.5SR models, but only within large option packages.
Seat Access & Space
Seats are optionally heated leather (within a package), and front space is larger than most with easy access. According to the stats, the rear head- and legroom are slightly smaller than some competitors, but almost imperceptibly so.
Cargo & Storage
Trunk volume falls midpack for its class, but standard split-fold rear seats may be locked in place or released from either in the cabin or within the trunk. Enormous glovebox and plenty of other interior storage.
Since its introduction, the Altima has been steadily improving its quality and we feel it's at least as good as any other sedan at this price. Quiet, solid and well built.