2014 NISSAN ALTIMA SEDAN CONTINUES TO PERFORM

2014 Nissan Altima

By Tom Crosby

Altima is Nissan’s best-selling model in the United States and after a complete makeover in 2013, this year’s Altima sedan only needed some minor upgrades, one of the best being mitigating engine noise.

Another was adding some eye candy to an already stylish profile by putting chrome exhaust tips on all Altima’s and adding new apps for its sophisticated NissanConnect communication link.

Altima has won a slew of “Best Of” awards for its deign and performance. Our 2014 test drive was the 2.5 SL, top of line of the four 2.5 Altima trims.

There are also three 3.5 Altima trims. (2.5 and 3.5 refer to engine sizes; all Altimas now use a very responsive continuously variable transmission with minimum power lag –and much less noise – between throttle requests).

In addition to a moon roof, our tester had a $1,000 technology package that most buyers will want to add because of its safety features and navigation system operating on an easily read and manipulated 7-inch multi-functional dashboard screen.

Included are blind spot and lane departure warning programs and moving object detection to compliment the rear view camera. It also allows online searches via Google, Pandora with Android cell phones, and Facebook access.

Drivers can find fuel prices, movie times, stock updates, weather, etc. – making the Altima a mobile information center with many functions verbally accessed.

An Advanced Drive-Assist display on a 4-inch screen between dashboard gauges shows the speed limit, eco-driving maps, split-screen display, upcoming curves and is manipulated with steering wheel controls.

The 9-speaker BOSE audio resonates well and the Bluetooth connection was easy but chirped intermittingly while repeatedly accessing my Android Smartphone information – annoying and I couldn’t figure out how to stop it.

The front-wheel drive mid-sized Altima is wallet friendly; we averaged 35 mpg on a 400-mile trip that included some city driving.

Riding on 17-inch alloy wheels, the multi-link rear and independent front strut suspensions provided cradle-like comfort and the steering had a straight-ahead bias that reduced driver tension and minimized minor steering adjustments.

Altima uses a NASA “zero-gravity” front seat design that mimics the “neutral posture” a body takes in a weightless environment.

Interior space is ample –approaching full-size sedan status. Knick-knack areas are average while trunk space is commodious.

Nissan is Japan’s second largest automotive company producing 64 Nissan and Infiniti brands. Altimas are built in the United States and have an excellent driver’s manual.

LIKES: Looks, mpg, power, ride, handling, quiet, comfort
DISLIKES: Bluetooth link
BOTTOM LINE: Easy to see why Altima will continue to be a best-selling sedan

FACT FILE: FACT FILE: 2014 NISSAN ALTIMA 2.5 SL

  • Base price w/destination fee $28,550
  • Vehicle weight 3,230 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 109.3 inches
  • Length 191.5 inches
  • Wide 72 inches
  • Engine spec 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, electronic fuel injection
  • Horsepower 182 hp at 6,000 rpms
  • Torque 180 lbs.-ft. at 4,000 rpm
  • Transmission Continuous variable transmission
  • EPA Rating 27 mpg city and 38 mpg highway
  • Range 18-gallon tank, regular
  • Performance 0-60 in just over 8 seconds