2018 Nissan Altima Review

2018 Nissan Altima
2018 Nissan Altima

Pros & Cons

  • Front seats are comfortable and supportive on long drives
  • Good fuel economy for a sedan of this size
  • Altima SR's sport-tuned suspension allows it to handle reasonably well
  • Interior design and materials quality is subpar
  • Tech interface is unattractive and the touchscreen is positioned low
  • Unnatural steering feel and effort
  • SR model's sporty suspension makes for an harsh ride quality

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Which Altima does Edmunds recommend?

The base Altima S feels a bit like a rental car, and the next-level SR gives up too much passenger comfort for a tiny increase in handling ability. As such, the midtrim SV is our choice. It adds a number of desirable features for a reasonable bump in price. Upgrades over the base S include alloy wheels, a power-adjustable driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. You can also opt for the SV's Technology package, which adds a sunroof, heated front seats, and a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

6.0 / 10

Though small crossovers have become more popular in recent years, midsize sedans are still one of the top choices for family-friendly transportation. This segment is so important to automakers that a few of the most popular models have been redesigned or notably freshened for the 2018 model year. Unfortunately, the 2018 Nissan Altima is not one of them.

We've generally like the Altima over the years, but this particular generation is getting on in years. The newest crop of rival sedans further highlights the Altima's deficiencies in the areas of technology, interior quality and performance.

To Nissan's credit, the 2018 Altima does have some useful enhancements. A forward collision notification system with automatic emergency braking is standard on all trim levels, and the upgraded infotainment display now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. But the segment has so many strong competitors that even a decent choice like the Nissan Altima has a hard time differentiating itself.

2018 Nissan Altima models

The 2018 Nissan Altima comes in five trim levels: 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL. All Altimas (except the 3.5 SL) are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (179 horsepower, 177 pound-feet of torque) that routes power through the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Standard features for the 2.5 S include 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth, a 5-inch display screen, and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port. Also standard for 2018 is a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking.

The sporty 2.5 SR trim upgrades the 2.5 S with 18-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, foglights, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters (with seven simulated shift points), upgraded upholstery and a power-adjustable driver seat.

Compared to the 2.5 S, the 2.5 SV trim has 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, remote engine start, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio and the SR's foglights, power driver seat and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 2.5 SL adds LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, air vents for the rear seats, a power front passenger seat and a nine-speaker Bose premium audio system.

The 3.5 SL is the only model not powered by the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Instead, a 3.5-liter V6 lies underhood, developing a healthy 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. It also gets 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a sunroof, heated mirrors, paddle shifters, adaptive cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, and NissanConnect services with emergency telematics.

All four-cylinder trims can be ordered with a single package that adds features from upper levels. For example, the Convenience package for the 2.5 S only adds a power driver seat and remote engine start, while the 2.5 SR's Special Edition package includes satellite radio, heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, and the 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR (2.5L inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD). NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Altima has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to the 2018 Altima.

Driving

5.5
Even though the SR is supposed to be the sporty Altima model, it lacks the performance of even its nonsporty in-class competition. The Altima SR receives a decent score for handling, but in almost every other measure, it falls well short of the mark set by rivals.

Acceleration

6.5
There's not much power or responsiveness from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It takes a long 8.2 seconds to reach 60 mph and is accompanied by a loud groan from under the hood. Simulated gear changes from the CVT do keep the drone from being overly intrusive, though.

Braking

6.0
The brake pedal feels unsettlingly spongy, and you can actually press it all the way to the floor. That said, the brakes are still reasonably effective. Our test Altima's as-tested emergency stopping distance from 60 mph was about average for the midsize sedan class.

Steering

3.0
At parking lot speeds, there's far too much effort needed; compounding this issue is the slippery leather wheel covering. Even worse, the wheel does not return to center on its own, forcing the driver to manually unwind it. This is about as bad as modern steering systems get.

Handling

7.0
The Altima SR trim benefits from sportier suspension tuning, allowing it to corner without much body roll relative to other sedans. In aggressive maneuvers, the stability control subtly intervenes to keep the car on the intended path.

Drivability

6.0
In addition to the aforementioned shortcomings, the Altima also suffers from some subtle lurches at low speeds, which are likely the result of the CVT's lack of responsiveness. We also experienced inconsistent acceleration from a stop.

Comfort

6.0
While other midsize sedans are creeping ever closer to entry-level luxury standards, the Altima seems stuck in the economy car class. One of the few bright spots in regards to comfort are the supportive front seats, but they do little to make up for the stiff ride and loud cabin.

Seat comfort

7.0
The standard cloth front seats are well-shaped and make drivers feel as if they're suspended in an elastic hammock. Despite the lack of adjustments, tall and short passengers should be able to find a comfortable position.

Ride comfort

5.5
A byproduct of the Altima SR's sporty suspension is a stiffer ride. Even though impact harshness is filtered out, you feel every bump in the road, and passengers will experience a lot of jostling, even over moderate undulations.

Noise & vibration

5.5
When accelerating with purpose, the engine emits an unpleasant sound, like someone groaning into an empty glass jar. Road and wind noise is ever-present but not intrusive, which makes the numerous interior creaks and rattles more noticeable.

Interior

6.5
The Altima's interior trails newer sedans when it comes to overall design. The touchscreen's low placement can be a distraction for the driver. Interior materials look comparable to some competitors, but many of the surfaces are made of hard plastic.

Ease of use

5.5
Primary controls are placed where you'd expect, but many secondary knobs and buttons are awkwardly located. The infotainment system is well behind the times, and the low-mounted screen is far outside of the driver's sight lines. The controller knob is also small and has weak detents.

Getting in/getting out

6.0
It's as easy to get in and out of the Altima as most other cars in the class. Front passenger access is unobstructed, but rear passengers have to dip their heads to clear the sloping roofline.

Roominess

6.0
There is enough space for taller passengers up front and just enough room in back for an average-size adult, and the elevated seat gives a good forward view. But newer midsize sedans feel more spacious and airy.

Visibility

7.0
Comparably narrow roof pillars and a lower rear decklid give the Altima better all-around outward visibility than rivals. The standard rearview camera display is small and does not give as clear a view as competitors' systems.

Quality

5.5
The Altima misses the mark set by competitors by a wide margin due to its abundance of hard plastics and frequent creaks inside.

Utility

7.0
The wide and low trunk space makes the class-average 15.4-cubic-foot capacity seem bigger than it is. Bulky luggage and golf bags are easily swallowed up, and remote seatback releases further simplify loading larger items.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall6.0 / 10
Driving5.5
Comfort6.0
Interior6.5
Utility7.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Nissan Altima.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Awesome comfort and economy
Tony,06/02/2018
2.5 SL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I had to Rent-A-Car I was given Altima sv i was blown away by fuel economy and the comfort was good and very roomy I had the rental 3 weeks and liked it so much I bought a Altima a sl and iam extremely happy I would recommend getting sv or sl because of blind spot monitoring it should be in every car
A great family car
Craig Wheeler,05/17/2018
2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I have had several in the past, had a KIA, some other cars over the last 45 years. This is not a fancy car, not a sport car, a car you can have for 6 years and go 200000 miles with no problem. Good on trips a comfortable sedan
Enjoying the ride
Enjoying the ride,07/13/2018
2.5 SR 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I’ve owned my 2018 Altima sr midnight edition for a month now so my review is based on that so far everything good nice ride efficient no problems good on gas
Drove from Michigan to Arizona
Chris D,03/06/2019
2.5 SL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
This was an extremely great purchase for me. I got my 2018 Altima in November of 2018. It had 6,000 mile on it. I was some what pleased with it. It grew on me over the next few months. I totally fell in love with it when I took a job in Phoenix, AZ. I was living in Southfield, MI and was relocating to Arizona. My nephew and I decided to drive my Nissan from Michigan all the way to Phoenix, AZ. This car was AWESOME. We only filled up 4 times, 4 times and we drove straight through, we did not stop to sleep along the way. I am forever a Nissan customer now. I loved the ride and how it handled. This was, by far, one of the best cars I have ever owned. Thank you Nissan and I will be purchasing more Nissan products in the future.

Features & Specs

MPG
26 city / 37 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
179 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
27 city / 38 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
179 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
27 city / 38 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
179 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
27 city / 38 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
179 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2018 Nissan Altima features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Altima models:

Intelligent Cruise Control
Maintains a set distance between the Altima and the car in front while using cruise control.
Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
Alerts the driver if a forward collision is deemed imminent. Can also apply the brakes if no driver intervention is detected.
Blind Spot Warning
Illuminates a light near the side window when a vehicle is in the Altima's blind spot.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat3 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.3%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2018 Nissan Altima
Used 2018 Nissan Altima Overview

The Used 2018 Nissan Altima is offered in the following submodels: Altima Sedan. Available styles include 2.5 SR 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5 SV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5 SL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), and 3.5 SL 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Nissan Altima?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Nissan Altima trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL is priced between $10,698 and$24,500 with odometer readings between 31228 and78436 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV is priced between $10,450 and$23,995 with odometer readings between 30099 and74109 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 S is priced between $10,991 and$18,995 with odometer readings between 2598 and76867 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR is priced between $12,900 and$19,998 with odometer readings between 1155 and83774 miles.

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Which used 2018 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) 2018 Nissan Altima for sale near. There are currently 203 used and CPO 2018 Altimas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,450 and mileage as low as 1155 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 2018 Nissan Altima.

Can't find a used 2018 Nissan Altimas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Altima for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $11,666.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 8 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $25,239.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Altima for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $11,428.

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Should I lease or buy a 2018 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.

Check out Nissan lease specials
Check out Nissan Altima lease specials