Mid-size sedans may be waning in popularity as crossovers continue to win the favour of families, but automakers are still putting significant effort into spacious cars carrying some of the best-known nameplates in the car industry.
Nissan's entry in a field dominated by cars like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Malibu is the Altima, a car that returns unchanged for 2017 following a significant mid-cycle makeover for 2016. That update brought new styling that gives Altima obvious family ties to other models in its lineup, like the Rogue crossover and Sentra compact sedan.
What's long gone from the Altima line is any pretence of performance. Yes, this car remains available with a 3.5L V6, but it comes in a model that prioritizes upscale comfort over sportiness, which is reserved for one of the five four-cylinder powered models.
Altima's four-cylinder is a 2.5L that makes 179 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, and the V6 makes 270 hp and 251 lb-ft. Both come standard with a continuously variable automatic; no manual gearbox is available. Fuel consumption estimates are 8.8/6.0 L/100 km (city/highway) with the four-cylinder engine and 10.6/7.3 with the V6. The 2.5 SR's more sport-oriented transmission means a higher highway consumption estimate of 6.5 L/100 km.
Four-cylinder models include the Altima 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, while the V6 is designated 3.5 SL.
2.5 trim is a $24,000 budget-priced model that includes the expected mid-size car conveniences like air conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt-and-telescopic steering and a four-speaker stereo, plus fog lights,
2.5 S, at $25,858, adds heated side mirrors, 5.0-inch audio display, Nissan Connect with mobile apps, text message assistant, lighted vanity mirrors, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar, heated front seats, backup camera, passive keyless entry, automatic headlights and tire pressure monitoring.
The 2.5 SV is a value leader at $27,108, a price that includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter, remote engine start, 17-inch wheels and satellite radio. This trim can be optioned with a $1,400 moonroof/navigation package that adds those items along with a seven-inch touchscreen display.
2.5 SR is the Altima's only nod to performance, a $27,858 sedan that adds 18-inch alloy wheels (replacing steel wheels with plastic covers on the lesser models), a sport-tuned suspension, LED headlights, steering wheel-mounted paddles shifters and sport-oriented interior and exterior elements.
It's a big jump to the 2.5 SL's $32,358 price tag, but that MSRP includes leather seating, Bose stereo with nine speakers, heated front seats and steering wheel, sunroof, garage door opener, mood lighting and a four-way adjustable front passenger seat.
The $3,400 move up to the 3.5 SL model brings 18-inch wheels, the V6 engine and paddle shifters.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed