2011 Nissan Altima Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Responsive steering
- capable chassis
- solid cabin construction
- loads of electronic features
- available coupe body style.
- Smaller backseat than rivals
- complex options structure.
The 2011 Nissan Altima is a solid pick for a midsize sedan or coupe, particularly if you're looking for something with some sporting flair.
"Fun for the whole family!" is usually something promised by amusement parks and buffet restaurants. With few exceptions, that advertising come-on doesn't usually apply to family cars. Well, the 2011 Nissan Altima is one of those exceptions. Depending on which version they select, mom and dad will get some enjoyable driving dynamics from an Altima, all without subjecting the kids to a harsh ride or a cramped rear seat.
The Altima's fun factor depends largely on which engine you choose. The V6 version -- known as the 3.5 SR -- comes standard with a sport-tuned suspension that trades some ride comfort for sharper handling, making this Altima feel more like a sport sedan than a family sedan. The four-cylinder-powered Altimas are understandably less thrilling, though they are still more involving to drive than many rivals, thanks to the Nissan's communicative steering and composed chassis. As a bonus, the Altima is also available as a coupe for those who might want sleeker styling in exchange for some practicality.
Another perk of the 2011 Nissan Altima is the availability of plenty of high-tech luxury features, such as a hard-drive-based navigation system with music storage, a rearview camera, Bluetooth streaming audio and xenon headlights. Unfortunately, those features often come bundled in expensive packages, which in some cases must be paired with other packages. This often makes it virtually impossible to pick only the options you want and skip those you deem frivolous. Another potential downside are the Altima's backseats, which aren't quite as roomy as those found in the larger cars in this class. That said, most will likely find the Altima's "just right" size to be a major contributor to its relatively nimble feel.
In the final analysis, we consider the 2011 Nissan Altima to be a good choice in this very competitive segment. That said, there are many rivals worth checking out, including the well-rounded 2011 Ford Fusion, the ever popular 2011 Honda Accord, the enjoyable 2011 Mazda 6, the stylish 2011 Hyundai Sonata (and related Kia Optima) and the unknown but impressive 2011 Suzuki Kizashi. But should you ultimately choose the Nissan Altima, you'll be pleased, especially if fun in a family sedan is a requirement.
2011 Nissan Altima models
The 2011 Nissan Altima is available in sedan and coupe body styles. The hybrid-powered Altima sedan is reviewed separately. There are three trim levels: 2.5, 2.5 S and 3.5 SR.
The base sedan is the 2.5, which is only available by customer order. Standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning and a trip computer. No options are available and a stereo is not included, but the car is pre-wired with four speakers.
The 2.5 S trim is available on both the sedan and coupe. It adds keyless ignition and entry and a six-speaker stereo (with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack). The 2.5 S coupe adds 17-inch alloy wheels.
A number of option packages are available for the 2.5S. The Special Edition package includes alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, auto on/off headlights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls). The Convenience package includes the alloy wheels, automatic headlights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel along with an eight-way power driver seat and extendable visors with illuminated vanity mirrors.
The Convenience Plus package (sedan only) adds manual folding sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals, a sunroof and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Premium Audio package (sedan only) adds a nine-speaker Bose stereo (with a color display, satellite radio and an iPod interface), a rearview camera and Bluetooth connectivity. The 2.5 S Premium package for the coupe essentially adds all the optional content listed above. The 2.5 SL package for the sedan adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear A/C vents. On the coupe, the SL package is essentially called the Leather package; it lacks rear A/C vents but gains xenon headlights.
The 3.5 SR adds a V6 engine, 17-inch alloy wheels (18s for the coupe), a sport-tuned suspension, heated side mirrors and the contents of the 2.5 S Convenience package. The 3.5 SR Sport package available on the sedan adds a sunroof, xenon headlights, foglights and dual-zone climate control. The 3.5 SR Premium package (available on the coupe and sedan) essentially includes all the 2.5 S coupe Premium package, SL package and Premium Audio package items.
The Technology package is available on the coupe and sedan versions of both the 2.5 S and 3.5 SR trims. It includes a hard-drive navigation system, real-time traffic and weather updates, Bluetooth streaming audio and digital music storage.
Performance & mpg
The 2011 Nissan Altima features two engine choices. The 2.5 models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is mandatory on the sedan. The coupe gets a standard six-speed manual transmission with the CVT as an option. At the track, a 2.5 S sedan ran zero to 60 mph in a respectable 8.5 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined with the CVT and 23/31/26 mpg with the manual.
The 3.5 SR models get a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets the same transmission choices as the 2.5. In Edmunds performance testing, a 3.5 sedan went from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds. The coupe with the CVT did the same sprint in 6.7 seconds; with the manual, it dropped to 6.5. EPA fuel economy is 20/27/23 mpg for the CVT and 18/27/21 mpg for the manual.
Every Altima comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Altima 3.5 with 17-inch wheels (regardless of body style) came to a stop from 60 mph in about 130 feet, a performance deemed average by our testing team.
The Nissan Altima has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. The sedan's 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to the new methodology) were a top five stars for protection in both head-on and side-impact collisions. The Altima coupe earned four stars for frontal impacts and five stars for side impacts. In the Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset and side crash tests, the Altima sedan received the best possible rating of "Good."
The 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 should be just fine for most folks. The four-cylinder is peppy both off the line and when passing power is needed. Our opinions are mixed on the CVT. Some of our editors like its smooth and responsive nature but others take issue with the way it makes the engine seem overly noisy and labored under hard acceleration. Four-cylinder cars also lack the sport-tuned suspension of the V6 model. A less engaging driving experience is the result, though you do get a more comfortable ride quality out of the deal, and the chassis is still sportier than the norm for this segment.
The V6 is a different matter. The CVT is well suited to the more powerful V6, and the sport-tuned suspension paired with precise steering makes the Altima a credible sport sedan. The coupe is available with a manual transmission, but despite this model's intended sportiness, we'd stick with the CVT, as the manual gearbox has a sudden clutch engagement and a sloppy gearshift.
The 2011 Nissan Altima's cabin is constructed with top-notch materials, though the overall appearance is a little dour, especially in black. All coupes come with sportier seats that feature more side bolstering than the sedan's relatively flat chairs. Controls are straightforward, even with the optional navigation system, and items like Bluetooth streaming audio and an iPod interface keep the Altima current in the rapidly evolving world of in-car electronics.
Space is quite good in the Altima, although rear headroom is a little tight compared to some competitors, and the back headrests are built into the seatback rather than adjustable. Legroom also trails the competition by the numbers, though in practice the Altima is plenty roomy in this regard. The coupe's backseats, however, are notably cramped, particularly if you compare them to the ones in the Honda Accord coupe; however, they're acceptable for brief jaunts with one or two average-size adults. The sedan offers a decent 15.3-cubic-foot trunk, while the coupe is significantly smaller at 8.2 cubic feet.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat4 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.5%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestAcceptable
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintAcceptable
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
Used 2011 Nissan Altima Overview
The Used 2011 Nissan Altima is offered in the following submodels: Altima Sedan, Altima Coupe. Available styles include 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 3.5 SR 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT), 2.5 S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5 S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl 6M), 3.5 SR 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl CVT), and 3.5 SR 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M). Pre-owned Nissan Altima models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine or a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 270 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Nissan Altima comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2011 Nissan Altima comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2011 Nissan Altima?
Price comparisons for Used 2011 Nissan Altima trim styles:
- The Used 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S is priced between $5,750 and$8,995 with odometer readings between 101495 and131501 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2011 Nissan Altimas are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Nissan Altima for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2011 Altimas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,750 and mileage as low as 101495 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Nissan Altima.
Can't find a used 2011 Nissan Altimas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Nissan Altima for sale - 7 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,846.
Find a used Nissan for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $10,663.
Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Altima for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $14,956.
Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 5 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $20,517.
Should I lease or buy a 2011 Nissan Altima?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.