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.