The Nissan Altima is a strong contender in the highly competitive midsize segment. It offers excellent handling, attractive styling, great fuel economy and a quiet, comfortable cabin. First offered in 1993, the front-wheel drive Altima has been recognized as a value leader that exceeds segment expectations.
2013 to Present: Nissan Altima
The fifth-generation Nissan Altima was introduced for the 2013 model year and underwent a significant refresh for 2016. Those 2016 updates allowed the Altima to adopt Nissan’s “energetic flow” design, which was first featured on the 2015 Murano and 2016 Maxima.
The four-door, five-seat Nissan Altima comes with a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A 3.5-liter V6 is available, which creates 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, and programmed with “steps” that provide a shifting sensation to mimic what you’d experience with a conventional automatic.
While not quite up to the Nissan Maxima’s “four-door sports car” moniker, the Altima provides a compliant and spirited driving experience, outpacing much of the competition in terms of handling. Gas mileage is excellent across the board, even when equipped with the larger V6 engine.
The current Altima offers a nice level of comfort and luxury and is quiet on the road. The “zero-gravity” front seats are comfortable and supportive. The cabin features a generously sized greenhouse, with an oversized windshield and windows that allow ample sunshine in. The rear seats provide plenty of room for two adults or three children and the cargo space is on par with the best in the segment.
The base Altima includes Bluetooth connectivity, while higher trim levels bring in amenities like a color display, navigation and hands-free messaging.
The Nissan Altima holds its own in a highly competitive midsize segment that includes the best-selling Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Other strong opponents include the Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6 and Ford Fusion.
Earlier Nissan Altima Models
The Nissan Altima debuted in 1993 as a four-door five-passenger sedan. The first-generation Altima was powered by a 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and was available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.
The second-generation Nissan Altima arrived for the 1998 model year. Restyled in and out, the trim lines, engine and transmission options remained the same, albeit with a slight boost in power.
The third-generation Altima debuted for 2002 and represented a significant change for the Altima. Built on a new platform, interior volume grew by more than 10 cubic feet. A new suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and the addition of a powerful V6 engine option are among the third-generation Altima’s highlights.
The third-generation Altima was well-received by the media and consumers. It was praised for representing excellent value and performance at a reasonable price point. In addition, a new SE-R model represented the sportiest Altima yet. It features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 260 horsepower, a new six-speed manual transmission, 18-inch wheels, a revised suspension and a high-flow exhaust system.
The fourth-generation Altima arrived on the scene in 2007 and was initially available only as a four-door sedan. Engine choices remained the same as the third generation cars, but better tuning resulted in a small boost of power over the outgoing models. A six-speed manual would become standard, and the fourth generation would mark Nissan’s first use of a CVT in the Altima.
For 2008, Nissan added the first-ever Altima coupe to the lineup. An Altima Hybrid was also available during the Altima’s fourth-generation run. It debuted with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s couple with an electric motor.