NISSAN ALTIMA SEDAN REMAINS POPULAR
By Tom Crosby
The mid-size, five-passenger Nissan Altima sedan, the company’s best seller, continues to grow in popularity with a 4.7 percent bump last year in United States sales, a major reason there are few changes this year.
However, with the necessary annual tweaking of offerings, Nissan added an 8-way power driver’s seat and 2-way lumbar support as standard, along with fog lights and intelligent climate control reacting to ambient temperatures during remote start in our test-drive 2.5 SV model.
Those who opt for the more powerful 3.5 SL Altima now get NissanConnect with navigation, mobile apps and safety aids as standard.
There are four Altima models using a 2.5-liter, 4-cyclinder engine and three models getting extra horsepower with 3.5-liter six-cylinder engines.
Our SV’s $1,350 Convenience Package included a sliding moonroof, folding side mirrors, compass and other small add-ons. After a complete make over in 2013, Altima won a slew of “Best Of” awards for its design and performance, still evident in the 2015 line-up.
Mileage remains impressive with an EPA rated 37 miles per gallon on the highway. Our SV continued to sport a spiffy profile with sculpted fenders and broad chrome grill, aided by chrome exhaust tips, 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome window surrounds and door handles. The downward slant of the rear roofline adds to the good looks but hampers rear vision with the head restraints raised. A rear view camera aids in backing up. Noise mitigation when the vehicle was redesigned keeps engine and road noise mostly at bay.
The multi-link independent suspension with improved toe angle and camber control maintains a steady balance in tight curves at higher speeds and contributes to a comfortable ride in all seating positions.
Altima uses a NASA “zero-gravity” front seat design that mimics the “neutral posture” a body takes in a weightless environment. Handling is aided by a power-assisted electronic hydraulic system that tightens steering response at higher speeds and leaves the steering wheel looser at lower speeds.
A very responsive continuously variable transmission produces minimal lag when immediate acceleration is needed for passing or in merging traffic, some sluggishness when down-shifting.
All Altima’s use an Advanced Drive-Assist display between dashboard gauges for driver input like current speed limit. Cabin space is generous, seats fold down 60-40 split, trunk space is adequate and a spare tire resides below the cargo floor. Altima achieves top scores in crash tests.
LIKES: Looks, mpg, power, ride, handling, comfort
DISLIKES: Rear visibility
BOTTOM LINE: Best-selling Nissan will continue to be popular sedan choice
- Base price w/destination fee $25,530 ($26,680 as tested)
- Curb weight 3,206 lbs.
- Wheelbase 109.3 inches
- Length 191.5 inches
- Width 72 inches
- Engine specs 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 under 8 seconds