The Nissan Altima has been sold for nearly two decades, starting out as a smallish midsize sedan and maturing into the full-fledged family sedan it is today. There have been five Altima generations thus far, with the third generation marking the key shift to mainstream dimensions and specifications. Nissan likes to emphasize the Altima's fun-to-drive character, a trait we've come to appreciate in road tests over the years. Significant evolutions in features, finesse and frugality have made the Altima a perennial top pick in this popular segment.
Current Nissan Altima
The Altima is available with one of two engines. The standard 2.5-liter, 182-horsepower four-cylinder returns an impressive 31 mpg combined, while the 3.5-liter, 270-hp V6 achieves a respectable 25 mpg combined. Both are equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
There are seven trim levels to choose from, designated as either 2.5 or 3.5 depending on which engine's under the hood. The base 2.5 model gets you steel wheels along with nice perks like keyless ignition/entry and Bluetooth streaming audio, while the 2.5 S adds a power driver seat and an upgraded stereo. The 2.5 SV includes alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control and a touchscreen interface. The fancy 2.5 SL boasts leather upholstery and Bose audio.
Note that the 3.5 S gets many of the 2.5 SV's features plus larger alloy wheels, and the 3.5 SL tacks on xenon headlights. All SV and SL models are eligible for a Technology package that includes a bigger touchscreen, a navigation system, voice controls and a collection of electronic safety features like blind-spot monitoring.
In reviews, we've been very impressed with the Nissan Altima. Most of its competitors are certainly worth a look, but this Nissan has all the makings of a benchmark. It does all the little things right, and goes the extra mile with its rewarding driving dynamics and high-end cabin. Passenger space is also quite good, though some may find backseat headroom a bit lacking.
If you're having a hard time choosing between the four-cylinder and the V6, consider that the four offers a rare combination of excellent fuel economy and relatively swift acceleration. In Edmunds testing, a four-cylinder Altima accelerated to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which is pretty impressive given its high fuel economy. Of course, we clocked the burly V6 at just 6.2 seconds, so if power's a priority, the 3.5 model range is a nice option to have.
Read the most recent 2015 Nissan Altima review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Nissan Altima page.