2015 Altima New Car Test Drive
First introduced as a 1993 model, the Nissan Altima was billed as all-new for 2013. With a combination of innovative mechanical components, carefully tuned ride and handling, advanced cockpit connectivity features and sleekly contemporary styling that belies its price class, the fifth-generation Altima feels like it's a class above its mid-size segment while providing comfortable, efficient family transport.
For the 2014 model year, a Technology Package (including NissanConnect) replaces the previous Navigation Package, available for 2.5 SV and 3.5 SV models. A new Sport Value Package for 2.5 S models includes 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, remote engine start, and a trunk-lid spoiler. A new Display Audio Package for 2.5 S and 3.5 S includes a 5-inch color display, rearview monitor, USB port, and NissanConnect. (For the 2.5 S, that package also includes SiriusXM satellite radio.) Front-seat visors are now illuminated, with extensions, on 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 3.5 S trim levels.
Chrome exhaust finishers have been added to the 2.5 grade for 2014. Nissan's available navigation system has added smartphone integration for iPhone and Android, SiriusXM Travel Link, and SiriusXM Weather.
All seven Altima models have Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) as standard. Each Altima is a four-door sedan, as Nissan has discontinued the two-door Altima coupe.
Most Nissan Altima models will come with a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, but a vigorous, upscale 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is available. The thrifty four-cylinder combines with the latest Nissan CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The result of 20 years of refinement, this drivetrain results in a segment-leading 38 mpg EPA Highway estimate. That's better than Ford Fusion Hybrid, Chevrolet Malibu ECO, Hyundai Hybrid or any other competing mid-size sedan.
The four-cylinder gets a 27-mpg EPA City rating. Contributing to fuel-efficiency are tires with reduced rolling resistance, and a regenerative alternator that operates only when the Altima is cruising. With the V6 engine, the fuel-economy estimate shrinks to 22/31 mpg City/Highway.
We found the Altima 3.5 with the V6 engine a brilliant performer, but the Altima 2.5 with the four-cylinder engine delivered just average performance.
Inside, the top-of-the-line Altima SL trim was very luxurious, and the SV trim with cloth upholstery was also very nice. All of the Altimas are very quiet when underway.
Combine headline-making fuel efficiency with a variety of features and creature comforts not generally found in non-luxury mid-size sedans, and the Altima makes a stylish, affordable and tempting choice for families working their way up the scale. In fact, for some time the Altima has been shouldering its way into Nissan Maxima territory.
Available features include such pleasantries as leather-appointed seating, as well as safety features like blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, and a moving object detection system.
Perhaps the most likable of the Altima's provisions is a fully automatic tire-pressure monitor that tells you exactly which tire is low, by how much it is low. Then, it tells you when you are beginning to refill it, and gives you a little toot of the horn when you've reached the proper inflation! Goodbye tire gauge. The Easy Fill Tire Alert is standard.
NissanConnect with Navigation, which is part of the available Technology and Display Audio Packages, includes such features as a 7-inch touchscreen, 3D-effect map views, voice recognition, and turn-by-turn navigation. Also integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist screen are a speed-limit display, eco driving maps, curve warning, and split-screen display.
Nissan's Altima competes against the Volkswagen Passat, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion.
2014 Nissan Altima 2.5 models are powered by a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, while Altima 3.5 models feature the 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6. Both come with a continuously variable transmission.
Altima 2.5 ($21,860) comes standard with cloth upholstery, 6-way manual driver's seat, AM/FM/CD with 4 speakers, Bluetooth hands-free phone. Bluetooth streaming audio, speedometer, tachometer, coolant gauge, fuel level gauge w/ fuel door location, Nissan Advanced Drive-Assist display, power windows, power locks, dual remote power sideview mirrors, remote keyless entry with pushbutton start, steering-wheel cruise control, center console w/ armrest and power outlet, 4 cupholders, 4 bottle holders, 16-inch steel wheels, 215/60R16 tires, and halogen headlights. Altima 2.5 S ($22,380) upgrades with a AM/FM/CD that plays through 6 speakers. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail prices, which do not include the destination charge, and may change at any time.)
Altima 2.5 SV ($24,180) adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 6-way power driver's seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, 215/55R17 tires, speed-sensitive audio volume control, USB port with iPod, satellite radio, Pandora, Google POI Search, Hands-Free text messaging, rearview monitor, automatic dual-zone climate control, rear heating/cooling vents, and remote engine start.
An optional Convenience Package for 2.5 SV ($1350) includes a power moonroof, fog lights, sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals, manual folding sideview mirrors, illuminated vanity mirrors, front passenger window with one-touch auto up/down, auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, compass, mood lamp, and side cargo net. The SV Navigation Package ($590) includes the 7-inch color screen, with turn-by-turn navigation integration into Nissan Advanced Drive-Assist display. A Sport Value Package ($850) has 16-inch alloy wheels, remote start, and a trunk-mounted spoiler. Also available for SV is a Display Audio Package ($320).
Altima 2.5 SL ($27,760) upgrades with perforated leather-appointed seating, heated front seats, eight-way power driver's seat w/ power lumbar, 2-way adjustable head restraints, Bose nine-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux audio, compass, folding power sideview mirrors, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, wood-tone trim, metallic texture trim, LED front map lights, mood lamp, side cargo net, fog lights, outside mirror LED turn signals, and LED taillights. An optional Technology Package ($1090) for SV or SL features the Nissan Navigation system with 7-inch color screen, turn-by-turn navigation integrated into Nissan Advanced Drive-Assist Display, steering wheel navigation system controls, Blind Spot Warning, Moving Obstacle Detection, Lane Departure Warning.
The V6-powered Altima 3.5 S ($26,160), 3.5 SV ($28,360), and 3.5 SL ($30,660) are equipped similar to the respective 2.5 models and offer the same option packages. All Altima 3.5 models have 235/45R18 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels.
Safety features on all Altima models includes ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, all federally mandated airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, child seat anchors, LATCH child-seat system, power window lockout, child safety rear door locks, emergency inside trunk release, Vehicle Dynamic Control, traction control, tire-pressure monitor, and vehicle immobilizer system.