2017 Nissan Altima Review
2017 Nissan Altima Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Dan spent many years covering the go-fast, look-good, get-loud corners of the automotive universe. First, he served as editor of enthusiast magazines AutoSound and Honda Tuning, then as executive editor at SEMA News, the publishing arm of the trade group that produces the annual SEMA Show (yes, that show). As a contributor to Edmunds, he now likes to keep the volume low and the speed limit legal, providing expert car-shopping advice to drivers looking for the perfect match.
- Engines and transmissions deliver strong acceleration and quick responses
- Excellent fuel economy for a sedan of its size
- Front seats are some of the most comfortable in the class
- Interior design and materials lack the high-quality look and feel of some competitors
- Technology interface is beginning to show it age
- More road and engine noise than is typical for the class
The 2017 Nissan Altima carries over unchanged from the previous model year. Halfway through 2017, though, Nissan made some changes to the trim level lineup, eliminating the base and 3.5 SR trim levels.
Quality standards and features evolve quickly in the family-sedan segment. A feature that was limited or exclusive just a few years ago — adaptive cruise control, for example — might now be essential for most shoppers looking for a midsize family sedan, and each new entry or fresh overhaul raises the bar.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 Nissan Altima 2.5 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 06/17 (2.5L 4cyl CVT) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.52 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$136/mo for Altima 2.5
Avg. Midsize Car
It's been four years since the Altima got a full redesign, and it shows when it comes to the look and feel of its interior and technology interface. Just a few years ago, the Altima's cabin and entertainment features seemed fresh and hip. But in the wake of updates from Mazda, Honda and Kia, the Nissan is already a step behind.
For 2017, the Altima carries over unchanged from last year's minor update, which included enhancements to the grille and headlight and taillight designs and new safety features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. The Altima's engine lineup remains the same, and that's a good thing as the Altima offers some of the highest mileage figures in the class. And although the Altima's overall interior feels stale, its uniquely designed front seats remain as sublimely comfortable today as when they debuted on the Altima back in 2013.
Overall, today's Altima isn't quite the contender it once was. It's still adequate on its own, but there's not enough to lift it above some of the top vehicles in the class such as the Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.
The 2017 Nissan Altima's standard safety features include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is standard on 2.5 S trims and above. SV and SL trims also receive blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert systems. Forward collision warning and crash mitigation systems with automatic emergency braking are available only on SL trims. The available NissanConnect Services system includes automatic collision notification, emergency assistance and stolen-vehicle location services.
In government crash testing, the Altima earned a top five-star rating for overall crash protection, with five stars for both front- and side-impact crash protection and four stars for rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Altima its top rating of Good in tests for small- and moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and whiplash mitigation (seats and head restraints). It also received a Superior grade for its forward collision prevention system but only a score of Marginal (second-worst) for ease of use of its child seat anchors.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Altima 2.5 SV stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, a slightly below average distance for the class.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
Nissan has done well historically with continuously variable transmissions (CVT), and the Altima continues that tradition. The CVT is more responsive when you press on the gas pedal compared to its competitors, and the simulated stepped gears reduce some of the engine drone that others suffer from. Still, drivers of an Altima 2.5 will feel the need to floor the pedal to get up to highway speeds confidently, and it will seem overly noisy and loud in the process.
The Altima used to hold a handling edge over other family sedans, but recent redesigns to its class rivals have eroded that advantage. It remains composed and predictable on a winding road, but the overall ride quality is slightly less refined over rough pavement. Like many things about the 2017 Nissan Altima, it neither excels nor fails.
The Altima's interior design and quality of materials are average, but its infotainment system falls short of the class leaders. The standard 5-inch display is small and difficult to read at a glance; the 7-inch upgrade is easier to read but less intuitive than competitive systems. The low positioning of the screen also makes it hard to see.
One bright spot in the cabin is the design of the front seats that makes them some of the best in the class when it comes to long-distance comfort. Rear seats provide enough head- and legroom for the average adult and feature an elevated seat cushion for better forward visibility. Despite an increase in sound insulation with last year's model, road and engine noise can still be intrusive.
Trunk space is about average for the class at 15.4 cubic feet, but the Altima scores additional points for the wide and low opening. There's also plenty of storage for your personal items in the cabin.
2017 Nissan Altima models
The 2017 Nissan Altima is a midsize sedan that seats five passengers. It's available in five main trim levels: base, S, SR, SV and SL. These trims are further distinguished by an engine size prefix: 2.5 for the four-cylinder and 3.5 for the V6. The 3.5 is available only in SR and SL trims. In the second half of the model year (also referred to as 2017.5 by Nissan), the base and 3.5 SR trims were discontinued and some extra safety features were added to the remaining trims (detailed below).
The Altima 2.5 in base trim includes 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, keyless remote entry, push-button ignition, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a six-way manually adjustable driver seat (four-way-adjustable front passenger seat), 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, and Nissan's Easy-Fill Tire Alert system that flashes the lights and beeps the horn to indicate when the tires reach the correct pressure.
The 2.5 S trim adds automatic headlights, cruise control, keyless ignition and entry, Siri Eyes Free voice recognition for iPhone users, a rearview camera, and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch display, a USB port and basic NissanConnect smartphone app integration.
The sporty SR trim upgrades the 2.5 S with 18-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, foglights, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, sport seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with two-way power lumbar adjustment).
Compared to the 2.5 S, the SV trim has 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, remote engine start, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control and satellite radio.
The 2.5 SL adds a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, air vents for the rear seats, a four-way power front passenger seat, two-way adjustable front headrests, ambient interior lighting and a premium Bose nine-speaker sound system. The 3.5 SL gets 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, paddle shifters, front and rear parking sensors, a larger 7-inch color touchscreen, voice commands, and a navigation system with Google connectivity.
Some features are available on lower trims as options, either in packages or as stand-alone items, and include a sunroof, heated mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. SL trims can add bundled Technology packages that include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and enhanced NissanConnect services with emergency telematics.
As mentioned, the trim levels for the Altima are broken up into two halves of the year: 2017 and 2017.5. They're mostly the same, but for 2017.5 models (Altimas built after June 2017), trims SV and above get forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking as standard.
The 2017 Nissan Altima is available with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder produces 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with simulated gears to feel more like a conventional automatic transmission.
In Edmunds testing of an Altima 2.5 SV, we recorded a zero-to-60-mph acceleration time of 8.1 seconds, an average time for the class.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine is rated at 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the Altima to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated at 26 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway). These estimates, as well as those for the 2.5, are very good for a midsize sedan.
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
A Best Buy
2017 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
I bought the Altima 3.5SL which includes virtually all Altima options including V6 engine, leather, heated seats, Bose sound, navigation, radar warnings, smart cruise control which brakes the car automatically, plus upgraded trim and bigger tires. The acceleration is great, almost like driving my prior Maximas (4), but better gas mileage, and the seats are more comfortable. I got about … 1/3 off ($10,000) the list price which convinced me to buy it rather than a comparable, new Maxima. I think its styling is better than comparable Camry or Accord. I'm an industrial designer and mechanical engineer. I now have about 47,000 miles on this care, added 2 new tires because one got punctured (original 2 Dunlop tires still good) and it's still a GREAT CAR!
5 out of 5 stars
Altima continues its legacy of excellence
2017 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
VST transmission takes some "getting used to" if you're accustomed to traditional automatics. It doesn't "shift" when you think it should, but actually its doing it seamlessly. Other than that (which isn't truly a detractor) this Altima is still the best dollar-for-dollar value in a mid-size sedan. Built in the USA, the craftsmanship, quality, reliability and economy of this almost … 40MPG sedan is excellent. Got mine for just $17,600 - yes, to get this you still have to know how to negotiate sales with actual team members at the dealership, but it can be done.
5 out of 5 stars
Best value of any car I've ever bought
Harrison W, 04/10/2017
2017 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 06/17 (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
For the money, this is the best equipped and most fun-to-drive car I've ever owned. Might be partially attributed to my recent experience (driving a Prius for a couple of years), but this car feels luxurious, quiet and powerful, especially considering the price point. The SR is very stylish and sporty looking - spoiler, dual exhaust, upscale alloy wheels, dark tinted glass, manual … shifters on the steering column (but automatic transmission primary) - but fuel economy is as good as an econobox. The ride is truly outstanding, barely a notch below the Lexus ES350 I owned a few years ago at not much more than half the price! I have owned 3 Maximas in my life and this car is every bit as much fun to drive as any of them. I am admittedly a bit partial to Nissan since I live in the Nashville, TN area where their US headquarters is located, but would never settle for second-best just out of loyalty. Would recommend anyone considering an economical, comfortable and fun mid-sized sedan to try out this car!!!
2 out of 5 stars
Comfortable car, but terrible transmission!!
M. Ryan, 01/08/2018
2017 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I received this car brand new (as a new company vehicle), and have now driven it for 7 months and 7k miles. I'm trying to be as objective as possible here, but I would HIGHLY encourage anyone considering this vehicle to 1) lease it only, or 2) if you purchase it, sell it before the warranty expires because I can guarantee that you will be replacing the transmission between 60,000 and … 100k miles (this is a factual statement based on my years of experience working in the auto industry, and frequent experience in dealing with people who own late model Nissan vehicles with failed CVT transmissions - which is what this car has). If you don't believe me about the CVT transmission issues, please Google "Nissan CVT transmission problems" before buying this car. There are thousands of complaints at ConsumerAffairs.com regarding Nissan CVT transmissions, and Nissan settled a class-action lawsuit that covered all 2007 to 2010 models (but the problem continues since no significant changes were made to their CVT transmissions following the law suit). Also, if you buy this car please make sure to budget about $4000 to cover the cost of transmission replacement every 60k to 100K miles. The problem is so bad that the 2017 Nissan owners manual no longer even recommends a transmission oil change. The CVT transmission in this car primarily consists of two variable pulleys connected by a metal belt that constantly grinds against the sides of the pulleys to creates friction (and thereby drive the car forward). As you can imagine, this is a poor and unreliable method of designing a transmission, but it saves money, weight, and results in slightly better fuel economy than a regular transmission. As you drive, the transmission feels like it's constantly slipping (which it is). The only time this car feels "normal" is on a flat, open highway at a constant speed with no wind and a light load. At all other times, the transmission feels like it will survive another 5 miles it it before complete failure. And that leads me to my next point. This transmission usually fails without warning, often leaving owners in dangerous situations (imagine it failing on a busy Interstate Highway while you're driving to work, or have your kids in the car). Never, in a hundred years, would I recommend this car to ANYONE - and anyone with half a brain (or at least some basic automotive knowledge) would not purchase this car due to the well documented history of Nissan CVT transmission problems. There are some positives to this car (however), including very comfortable front seats, a very good driving position, very good gas mileage (30-31 mpg in mixed driving, and about 38 on the open highway), a well tuned suspension, very good brakes, and a well designed instrument panel and ergonomics. Unfortunately I cannot (to anyone) recommend this vehicle due to the CVT transmission issue. Hopefully Nissan listens to its customers and develops a proper 6 to 8 speed automatic transmission (like Toyota, GM, or Ford). If they did, I would consider this to be a good overall vehicle and a good value.
2017 Nissan Altima video
MARK TAKAHASHI: I'm Edmunds editor Mark Takahashi. And here's an Expert Rundown of the 2017 Nissan Altima. The Nissan Altima presents a bit of a mixed bag among the other midsize sedans. You get a lot of power from the base four-cylinder and V6 engines. And on top of that, they're also really fuel efficient. The Altima also gets high marks for its comfortable front seats. But it's a little noisy compared to other cars in the class. Trunk space is about average among other sedans. But the low and wide opening makes loading a whole lot easier. The rear seats have enough space for the average adult. And the elevated seat cushion gives passengers a much better forward view. On the whole, however, the interior isn't as nice as rivals. The materials used are merely average. And the infotainment system is out of date compared to what's currently out there. Bottom line for the Nissan Altima is, you'd be better served by other sedans. The Honda Accord and Mazda 6 remain some of our top picks. The new Toyota Camry will probably be a better choice too.
2017 Nissan Altima Expert Rundown Review
Looking for a sedan with powerful engines, great fuel economy and distinctive styling? The 2017 Nissan Altima might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
2017 Altima Highlights
|Combined MPG||31 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$136/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall4 / 5Driver3 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat3 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.3%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood