The 2015 Nissan Altima is a five-passenger, front-wheel drive sedan and the best-selling model from this Japanese brand. The current Altima has two engine choices and is available in five trims.
One of the best-selling midsize sedans in America is the Nissan Altima. All-new for 2014, the 2015 Nissan Altima returns with two engine choices, five trim levels and a highway fuel efficiency rating of 38 mpg. The front-wheel drive Altima seats five and is priced from $22,300.
Beginning in 2014, Nissan released the latest generation of its popular Altima sedan. The current model is larger, roomier and more efficient than any Altima before it, with styling cues that suggest a more expensive model.
Indeed, the 2015 Nissan Altima projects a wide, muscular stance with its front fascia dominated by a custom grille surrounded by chrome. A seamless front bumper, projector-type headlights, a sporty lower intake and available fog lamps provide sophistication.
Profile sculpting, a high belt line, available aluminum-alloy wheels, wraparound tail lamps, rear deck garnishment and standard dual outlet exhaust ports accentuate this sedan’s premium visage.
On the inside, the Nissan Altima supplies superior room for five. The cabin seems large, is uncluttered and all controls are sensibly placed. Cloth seating is standard; choose either of the SL editions, and leather-perforated seats are included.
Base models are outfitted with a six-way manual-controlled driver’s seat and a four-way manual passenger seat. An eight-way power driver seat with lumbar support is available, as is a four-way power front passenger seat. Keyless entry is standard with all editions except for the base model. Push button start is standard.
Every model comes with brightly illuminated instrumentation with gauges for the speedometer, tachometer, coolant temperature and fuel level. A digital display also provides vehicle information that is selectable, customizable and dispenses an assortment of system warning information.
A three-spoke urethane steering wheel is standard and a leather-wrapped steering wheel is available. All models have secondary audio, Bluetooth and hands-free switches. With the exception of the base Altima, cruise control is standard.
Choose either SL edition and the Nissan Altima comes with a heated steering wheel, a 9-speaker Bose audio system and dual-zone automatic climate control. Dual illuminated vanity mirrors, an automatic dimming rear mirror, a pair of 12-volt outlets, four bottle holders, four cup holders, front seat back pockets and an oversized glove box are also at one’s disposal. Nissan places USB and auxiliary input ports in a deep open compartment at the base of the center console.
The driver’s seat is comfortable, and with the available tilt and telescoping steering wheel column you can find a convenient adjustment. Traditional switches and knobs are located on the center console. Dividing the front seats is the deep storage compartment with an attached tray. A coin holder and heated seat controls are situated just ahead of that compartment.
To the rear is a 60/40 split seat, which sufficiently seats three people. Only the larger portion of the seat folds down, giving you access to the trunk. You might also fold down the center armrest to gain access to the two rear cup holders. Head, shoulder, hip and legroom are superior for a vehicle in this class.
While most manufacturers are moving away from V6 power in the midsize segment, Nissan still offers an optional 3.5-liter V6 engine. Most buyers, however, may be content to acquire one equipped with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
The standard engine is rated at 182 horsepower and is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The larger engine is also teamed with a CVT and is rated at 270 horsepower.
The base Altima is rated at 27/38 mpg city/highway, which is one of the best fuel efficiency ratings amongst midsize sedans. When outfitted with a V6 engine, the Altima is rated at 22/32 mpg. Both models take regular grade gasoline.
The test Altima was powered by the four-cylinder engine. It offers very good power off the start and moves up to highway speed with authority. In the latest edition, On V6 models, Nissan made improvements with its CVT to simulate the shift points one feels with a typical automatic transmission. While those changes do not apply to the base Altima, the “rubber band effect” sometimes experienced with CVTs is not as pronounced as it has been in other models.
On the road, the Altima handles surprisingly well, making use of active understeer control to minimize torque steer. However, steering is fairly numb, while cornering and braking are good.
Choose the Technology package, a $1,090 upgrade, and your Altima brings in a navigation system with mobile apps. You get a 7-inch color touch-screen display, voice recognition, SiriusXM Travel Link, turn-by-turn directions and integration with an available safety package.
Nissan’s navigation system gets the job done by providing accurate point-to-point directions. The optional NissanConnect is what pulls navigation, entertainment and your smartphone together, seamlessly integrating for a complete infotainment package.
The Nissan Altima has received a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This model scored “Good” in tests for moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and for head restraints & seats. It received an “Acceptable” score for small overlap front testing. “Good” is the IIHS’ highest score.
Every 2015 Nissan Altima comes equipped with front, seat-mounted front side, and ceiling-mounted side curtain airbags. All models come with traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.
On higher end editions, Nissan also makes available blind spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection. A rearview monitor is available as part of an optional Technology package, but it is included with the top-of-the-line 3.5 SL trim.
With a starting price of $22,300, Nissan puts its best seller within reach of most new car buyers. Beyond the base edition, buyers will find increasingly better packaged sedans with most, if not all, the amenities they want.
The V6 model retails from $32,350 and likely provides more power than what most people need in this segment. A comparably equipped 2.5SL edition retails for $4,200 less; add several factory-installed options such as a rear spoiler, convenience package and the Technology package and your final price will top $30,000. With discounts and smart negotiating, a well-equipped Altima should cost about $28,000.
The Nissan Altima is a strong seller for several reasons, especially for providing very good value as a family sedan. Its upscale feel, roomy interior, available package upgrades and fuel efficiency should place this model on most people’s lists for consideration. Only select the V6 model if you put a premium on performance.