2018 Altima New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Altima rides smoothly while offering frugal fuel economy. Nissan's midsize family sedan was last redesigned as a 2013 model. Though handsomely sculpted for its fifth generation, the sedan looks more conventional today than it did five seasons ago.
Safety technology for the 2018 Nissan Altima includes automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning. The Altima 3.5 SL gains adaptive cruise control and upgraded NissanConnect with navigation, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A new Midnight Edition package for the Altima 2.5 SR features blacked-out body accents and 18-inch wheels. Navigation and heated front seats are included.
Five versions of the 2018 Altima are available: 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, and 3.5 SL. The 2.5 prefix indicates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 179 horsepower. Only the 3.5 SL holds a V6: a 3.5-liter engine that generates 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. Every Altima comes with Nissan's continuously variable transmission (CVT) and has front-wheel drive.
During its history, the Altima grew from a compact car to a sporty midsize family sedan. At the same time, its performance potential shrunk somewhat. Nowadays, the Altima is a plush-riding, sensibly roomy four-door with a pair of powertrains that don't stand apart from the midsize pack.
Handling talents don't stand out from the competition, ride being emphasized. Yet, the Altima ranks among the top-selling family sedans on today's market. Of course, crossover models, including Nissan's own Rogue, sell even better.
Interior space is a strong point in the five-passenger Altima, which promises comfortable seating and appropriate cabin trim. Today's Altima is quieter than some of its predecessors, too. Except for the four-cylinder SR sedan, which boasts some sportier styling touches, appearance differences between trim levels are slight.
Nissan's Altima ranks near the top in family-sedan safety, thanks to newly standard safety technology and excellent crash-test scores. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates the 2018 Altima at five stars overall, as well as for frontal and side-impact crashes. Rollover resistance is calculated at four stars.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded Altima a Top Safety Pick designation, with Good crash-test scores (including the small-overlap crash) and Superior frontal crash prevention.
Every Altima now has forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, along with a rearview camera. Blind-spot monitoring is optional. Adaptive cruise control is standard on SL sedans, but otherwise unavailable.
Altima 2.5 S ($23,260) has a four-cylinder engine, CVT, power windows and locks, power mirrors; steering-wheel audio controls, rearview camera, 5.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth with audio streaming, keyless entry, and 16-inch wheels. Altima 2.5 SV ($25,910) gets alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, blind-spot monitoring, and remote start. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $885 destination charge.)
Altima 2.5 SL ($29,110) adds leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, Bose speakers, adaptive cruise control, navigation, and 18-inch wheels.
Altima 2.5 SR ($24,320) comes with sport suspension tuning, a power driver seat, extra styling details, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Altima 3.5 SL ($33,630) substitutes a 3.5-liter V6 engine.