While it may not be quite as modern and sporty looking as some other models, the 2012 Nissan Altima is still a huge contender in the mid-size sedan category. With both four- and six-cylinder options and a CVT (continuously variable transmission), the Altima has a certain appeal to car enthusiasts that other sedans can’t quite compete with.
Thanks to the CVT, you can drive the Altima in “sport” mode to give it the feel of a manual transmission, or you can let the step-less transmission work on its own for a smoother ride, better fuel efficiency, and lower emissions, too.
Other features include the 2.5 SL package, which lets you add the luxury of leather upholstery, heated power front seats, and other luxury details at very little extra cost.
Changes for 2012
New features and changes for the Altima in 2012 include hands-free Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, as well as automatic headlights and other comfort and safety features.
What We Like
The 2012 Nissan Altima is the perfect mix of comfort and sportiness. With power and torque to spare, it has no trouble getting out of its own way, and at the same time it has the luxury interior features that you might expect in a much tamer vehicle. The whole family can feel comfortable in this car, and it’s enjoyable to drive, too.
What Concerns Us
The Altima has a lot of competition in the mid-size sedan class, including the Toyota Camry, the Volkswagen Passat, and the Kia Optima. With so many other manufacturers vying to be the best in the class, it’s hard to tell for some buyers if the Altima is actually the right choice or not.
You can choose from a number of different packages for the Altima, depending on how many interior features you want to add. For your engine, you’ll have two basic choices – a 3.5-liter V6 and a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder option gets better gas mileage (23/32 city/highway MPG versus 20/27), but the V6 has significantly more power and torque (e.g., 270 HP @ 6000 RPM versus 175 175 HP @ 5600 RPM).
A few 2012 Nissan Altimas have been recalled due to potential problems with the torque specifications on their power steering rack bolts. Some have also been recalled because they may have an improper mixture of propellant in the passenger- and driver-side curtain airbags.
The most common issues in 2012 for the Altima were poor Bluetooth integration with owners’ phones and difficulty accelerating up hills. These can both be tested in any test drive you take when shopping for your next car.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Nissan Altima and was authored by Valerie Johnston.