By on November 27, 2015

2016NissanAltima_(2_of_4)

Most midsize sedans don’t have a happy ending.

Many get passed down as second-hand family cars, looking for their second wind from being a daily commuter only to find themselves as daily bangers in high school parking lots. Or worse.

Mid-sized sedans can be sold at used car lots as forgettable appliances; used like washing machines and put away wet like skinny jeans.

The Altima lives such a life.

The life of Nissan’s perennial bridesmaid to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord is generally undignified and, we’ll say, difficult.

If you’re looking for a story about redemption, this isn’t it. The 2016 Nissan Altima won’t be a savior among midsize sedans and won’t regain glory for a segment losing ground to compact crossovers faster than Pickett’s Charge. At least not yet.

Rather, the 2016 Nissan Altima is a capitulation by the automaker that there’s no point in out Camry-ing or Accord-ing the other guys. Making a mid-size sedan that no one hates amounts to building a car that no one likes. If you listen to Altima engineers, there’s mileage in making something that divides rather than conquers.

2016NissanAltima_(1_of_4)

Exterior
My notes start with: “Maxima’s look is apparent in Altima’s shoulders.” That observation is not meant to be insightful; rather, it’s matter of fact. From the shoulders up, the Altima’s lineage is entirely obvious.

For 2016, Nissan completely refreshed the Altima’s front and rear, including a newly designed front fascia and bumper. There are elements from the good-looking Murano (said nobody. —Mark) in the Altima’s LED daytime running lamps — which aren’t standard across all models — and some of the Maxima in this midsizer’s V-shaped grille. From the front third, the Altima shares much with the Maxima, but stops short of the floating roof treatment.

The rear trunk and bumper gets resculpted — notably the 4-piece rear lamps — but like a punk show, all the action is really up front.

According to Nissan, the updated front and some undercarriage work helped the Altima more sharply cut the wind (0.26 Cd this year vs. 0.29 Cd before), although EPA estimates for the base 2.5-liter engine only increased by 1 mpg on the highway, from 38 to 39 mpg, this year.

Incremental changes don’t really do it for people though. Year over year, the 2015 Altima to 2016 Altima’s fuel economy changed less than my sock drawer, but since 2002 the change has been fairly dramatic. Fitted with a 2.5-liter four and 4-speed automatic, the Altima managed 20/27/23 mpg in city/highway/combined marks from the EPA. Fitted with a similar 2.5-liter four and CVT, the 2016 Altima manages 27/39/31 mpg, according to the EPA. Even more so, the 2002 Altima scored those numbers under the old 2-cycle fuel economy regime, meaning fuel consumption for the older model is likely much, much worse.

The new SR grade for the Altima is a quick stab at the mid-size sedan’s “sport” segment that will apparently grow because people just love spoilers. In addition to the decklid-mounted spoiler — which exists only because the other guys do it — the SR edition sports slightly smoky front lamps, 18-inch wheels and a slightly tuned chassis setup. According to the Nissan engineer in charge of the new SR trim, the chassis is firm enough to fire back with some lift-throttle oversteer if you’re beating the hell out of it on your drive home.

Please send video of said lift-throttle oversteer.

2016 Nissan Altima

Interior
Nissan applied its “Gliding Wing” treatment to the Altima’s interior with fairly good effect. The center infotainment and climate control stack in the 2016’s dash is more distinct and not bookended by flat plastic anymore. The “wing,” which begins at the center of the dash and extends out through the passenger and driver sides, effectively gave the Altima’s interior a Beverly Hills-style facelift.

2016 Nissan Altima SRMore notably, the Altima didn’t get the Maxima and Murano’s slicker new infotainment unit because there needs to be room for changes later in the Altima’s lifecycle, I suppose.

The center console and armrest were revised slightly with better lines for the Altima’s gliding wing and a new gear selector replaces the old Altima’s chunky grip.

Inside, the Altima is quieter over last year’ model. At nearly 50 decibels at idle and 73 db at cruising, the Altima is fairly quiet and sedate.

The same “zero gravity” seats swaddle driver and passenger as before, and 60/40 split folding rear seats offer 36.1 inches of legroom in the back. My 6-foot-2-inch frame folded just fine in the rear seats behind another man of similar stature.

2016 Nissan Altima

Infotainment
The Altima gets the same 5-inch standard color display, carried over from last year, that sports Siri Eyes Free and iPod connectivity via the car’s single USB port.

Available in the SL and SV trims, and standard in the 3.5 SL, is Nissan’s 7-inch touchscreen with navigation and mobile apps. Nissan added a concierge system, dubbed NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM, which is sold separately as a subscription. Curiously, there’s no dedicated button for the live-person service. Instead, it’s accessed through a headset icon on the touchscreen and the first prompt isn’t a human at all — it’s a voice-recognition system asking you what you’re looking to do. If you ask for a certain service — “Destination Assist,” for instance — the computer calls up an operator to give you, well, destination assistance. That’s confusing. Nissan may want to look into that.

Aside from getting access to a real person, both the 5- and 7-inch infotainment systems are straightforward and simple, although somewhat dated at this point.

Less exciting, but more importantly, is Nissan’s inclusion of advanced safety features such as forward collision warning and emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and radar-based blind-spot monitoring (last year’s version was rear camera-based that didn’t work so hot if the camera was covered in snow).

2016NissanAltima_(4_of_4)

Powertrain
I’ll keep this short: nothing has changed.

The same 2.5-liter four that makes 182 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque remains. It’s adequate.

The same 3.6-liter six that makes 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque remains for six percent of buyers who will opt for the bigger engine. It’s overpowered.

Both engines are mated to a continuously variable transmission. In higher 2.5 SR, 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL trims, you get seven virtual “gears” you can slap between using the included paddle shifters. Otherwise, it’s just a normal CVT, in a normal car, doing normal car things.

Nissan has used relatively the same powertrain combination since Bush 2. (When will it get the turbo four from the Juke?)

According to Nissan, the 2016 Altima has “lots of powertrain improvements” over last year’s model, but I only counted one: The CVT is more quiet than I remember? Sure, let’s go with that.

2016NissanAltima_(5_of_1)

Drive
Full disclosure: I was awarded three hours behind the wheel of the 2016 Altima, so there’s not a lot of analysis I can offer here — yet.

Although most of the CamCord segment is laser-focused on comfort and quiet, at least Nissan appears to be slowly moving away from numb. According to the company, the last-generation Altima tried to out-Camry and out-Accord the likes of Toyota and Honda and failed. Those cars, by Nissan’s own admission, were fairly boring and uninspiring.

This year’s car is still the same commuter appliance many mid-size sedans are these days. It rides quietly, provides a comfortable amount of space and is reasonably priced at $23,325 to start. Our tester, a 2.5 SL fitted with everything, would be the mid-level manager’s dream — good enough for the workday, not embarrassing in the valet.

Nissan estimates that up to 20 percent of its mix could be the sportier-looking SR grade as mid-size buyers looking for something other than the top two sellers consider to Nissan. The 2016 Altima makes small steps in distinguishing itself from those competitors with small incremental improvements to its front and rear.

If you count the ways Altima can capitalize on its mid-cycle refresh this year — looks, trim and interior — you may surmise how good the future may be for a car that has, until now, played backup rhythm guitar in a Jimmy Buffett cover band at a suburban wine bar. It won’t be a rock star tomorrow, but at least it’s getting in some solid practice.

(Interior photos provided by the manufacturer)

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71 Comments on “2016 Nissan Altima First Drive – Baby Steps...”


  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “Mid-sized sedans can be sold at used car lots as forgettable appliances; used like washing machines and put away wet like skinny jeans…the Altima lives such a life”

    ALL mainstream people movers live this life, more or less. CVT Accord or Camry SE? Yes, bought out of necessity, used as the people moving tools they are, slowly and surely wearing, oxidizing, losing value as time marches on. This is what our 2012 Altima does. It moves the people. It didn’t cost much and doesn’t feel like it did. I therefore don’t bother waxing and detailing it. But it’s a better drive than most of its competition from that year and has a glove box that will swallow a Kindle, so it is not without charms.

    I don’t envy a reviewer having to write about a midcycle refresh of a mainstream four cylinder sedan. Something a little more substantive about the driving experience than “I’ll keep this short, nothing has changed” would be nice, though.

    IMO, The Altima doesn’t need the 1.6 Juke motor. The 2.5 is one of the quickest in class, seems to deliver great fuel economy, and does so without DI. What it needs is NVH control, a sarcophagus of sound deadening foam surrounding the engine compartment similar to the concrete containment shell being built over the Chernobyl reactor. It’s an absolutely horrible sounding engine and the populace needs to be protected from it.

    • 0 avatar

      “IMO, The Altima doesn’t need the 1.6 Juke motor. The 2.5 is one of the quickest in class, seems to deliver great fuel economy, and does so without DI. What it needs is NVH control, a sarcophagus of sound deadening foam surrounding the engine compartment similar to the concrete containment shell being built over the Chernobyl reactor. It’s an absolutely horrible sounding engine and the populace needs to be protected from it.”

      Yep, next to Toyota’s 4-cylinder it is one of the worst I have heard. Rough, strained, and further suffering from the wail of the CTV. The Accord is night and day, despite having pretty similar characteristics (and DI).

      I was advising a friend on buying a new car in 2013 and it came down to the Altima vs. Accord. She liked the colour options and look of the Altima more, but trusted Honda more and liked the way it drove better. So, the Accord is now in her driveway and, boy, did she make the right decision.

      I can’t imagine how responsible I would have felt if she went with this thing over a comparable Accord. Did the update tackle quality issues?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Did the update tackle quality issues?”

        I’m a really poor fisherman, so I don’t feel qualified to say :)

        I agree, if buying new at a similar price point the Accord is a no-brainer over the Altima. Ours is an ex-rental and was therefore cheap and that changed the equation. It was purchased to be an appliance kid-hauler. I do wish we could have delayed that purchase two years because now the market is awash in inexpensive 4-cylinder Camry SEs, and that car is better in every way except dash plastics.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          C&D places the 2016 Accord as best in class, Camry near the rear at #9 out of 11.

          http://www.caranddriver.com/honda/accord

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Unless the inclusion of a V6 was paramount, I’d probably get a Sonata before I bought a Camry. The Sonata just seems better-executed in every way.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I really don’t care, thornmark, unless C&D wants to make the payments for me. Comparing the Accord V6 and Camry XSE V6 back to back was more than enough to make me take C&D’s raptures of the car with a grain of salt.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        She made the right choice, no.doubt.

        Went on a nearly 200 mile trip to a city near here wed. eve to fetch my neighbor at a hospital in her Altima. The seats are horrible! I hate that car.

        The droan of that 2.5L with the extra annoying-ness provided by the damned CVT, but the worst was the lack of support in the seats. Theyre just all wrong. I took my 95 Taurus with its stock GL seats (no power lumbar support like I have now along with fewer choices with the power seat) on that same trip a few times and it did not kill my back nearly as bad.

        On Thanksgiving, went on another longish highway trip, this time with a friend in her Tahoe. Now those are some comfortable seats, and it rides fairly well. Less jittery and noisy than the Altima (2wd, and no dw it wasnt an “extended length” model, oddly enough).

        The one good thing about her Altima is its fuel mileage. But, get on it and try to *make* it fun quickly kills this advantage. If you can leave the cruise on at a reasonable speed and if you can stand the awful seats, the cheap and dreary interior, lots of road noise and a noisy dull drivetrain, it will return good mileage.

        Two reasons that’s not important: given the fact that her previous daily driver (and still occasional errand car) gets not as good, but not bad fuel mileage, and has been paid off a loooong time ago, adding in that it took $23 to fill up my Taurua from E ($1.76/gal iirc) at Chevron, the fuel mileage advantage simply isnt worth putting up with the terrible car and savings-draining car payment.

        So, gas is cheap (1) and the old car wasnt that much worse on fuel *and* has no payment (2).

        I think her car may have a bad wheel bearing as there is a rotational groaning noise from the front and it got worse with new tires and after they were rotated and balanced in order to try to stop it. The car also shimmied back and forth at slow traffic speeds (35 mph or less).

        Stupid power point shuts off when the car is turned off (wont charge cell phones (never have I had a Ford product where a cig lighter didnt work with the car off. Chrysler either, nor GM iirc).

        Damn keyless ignition requires the lock/unlock/etc module to be slipped into a slot (else you get a warning). So, how is that better than a keyed ignition?

        To unlock, you press down, which is the opppsite of any car Ive been in that I can remember. Then, only one side lights up, not the other, so youre sure to get confused in the dark and hit lock when intending unlock to let someone in.

        I stopped to open the trunk because every time I drive it, there is this “clunk-clunk” every time the car moves and I got SICK of it. Instead of dutch children kicking the decklid with their little shoes, I found a loose module that was hanging by its wire under the parcel shelf. No mounting tab or obvious place it was supposed to go, so I wedged it somewhere to keep it from banging around.

        Audio system is awful, nothing more to be said.

        This new one looks sonewhat better, but yeah, Accord all the way in that matchup. I parked the Altima next to a 2006 Accord, both were idling. The Honda was silky smooth, the Altima was a jackhammer.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          J Taurus, what you heard was almost certainly a bad front wheel bearing. Having put nearly 120K on a 2009 Altima, I’ve had to replace both at well under 100K. I thought those days died with early 80s domestic cars. As for the power point, unless things have changed the point in the front console is switched, the one in the center armrest is always on. The key warning should not be on unless you open the door without the fob. If you are being instructed to insert it into the dock that is because the remote needs new batteries. She likely ignored the “low battery in key” warning for a few months. Dock is optional otherwise.

          You are correct that the seats are a hot mess. My Sable’s seats are far more comfortable. Lucky me, I’m stuck on those Altima seats for two hours on the ride home (ave speed for the car over its life is 24 mph…retirement can’t come soon enough) They are wearing well, however. Not so the mat and carpet. I can see polished metal under my heel.

          Being that I skipped the “ride like Camry” generation, my car handles really well, and the brakes are superb. I guess they downgraded the stereo for her generation because mine is very good. Better than the BLOWS system in my C7 Corvette. Would I take this car over a Camry? Hell, yes. Over an Accord? Probably not.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Husky,

            I agree whole heartedly. I probably would buy it over a Camry, but God help me if those were my only two options. I think Id rather have a used Suzuki (Daewoo) Verona (Magnus). Lol!

            She told me she asked the dealer about the fob, they told her “they all do that” and to just insert the fob when asked. Her sister in law has a very similar Altima (same generation but not year I guess), they told her the same thing, dont know about her daughter’s model. Yes, three nearly identical Altimas in one family, but at least theyre not all the same color (you can probably understand my aversion to them, its like this area is a frickin rental lot). I had to remove the front wheel on the daughter’s car recently as there was an awful screeching noise. It was the metal gaurd around the rotor touching it. I pryed it away from it gently until the noise stopped (almost all of it was touching the rotor).

            The car I guess Im comparing the Altima’s audio to is out of its class, Ill admit (my parents 2012 Taurus SEL, not the optional Sony system, the regular one). But it was funny just how much worse it was than the Fords and my friend’s Tahoe, and her nephew’s 2010 Silverado (not a highly equipped one, either, had steel wheels, cloth, but about akin to Ford’s XLT trim [LT?] I guess as far as interior) that was playing at the gathering we went to. The sound from all three was less distorted and clearer overall, even without bass, the Altimas would be crackly and cheap sounding.

            I also admit I may be harsh on seat comfort, because I have a horrible back and I notice it a lot more than most. Although, the owner will complain of a back ache after she has been in the car a lot of the day as well as your issues with it.

            I just remember thinking that someone mustve planned to make this car an annoying penalty box in a class where Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and the Chrysler 200 exist, all being designed to excel, not to just get by with crap. Their interiors look, feel, and sound excellent. I also find them better looking by a long shot, they make a statement (at least the American cars do) instead of blending in. Theyre all three desirable, good looking cars.

            Yes, theyre more expensive and may not attain the same mpg. But, if gas was $4.50 a gallon, maybe that’d be enough. For me, Id get a Fiesta 3 cyl EcoBoost in that case as a commuter. A fun to drive car so long as youre not in the city traffic all day.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          “Stupid power point shuts off when the car is turned off (wont charge cell phones (never have I had a Ford product where a cig lighter didnt work with the car off. Chrysler either, nor GM iirc). ”

          I *hate hate hate* this about my F250 – because I want to leave chargers plugged in [lazy] without killing the battery.

          Not a real problem with a daily driver, but awkward for an occasional-use vehicle…

          My point being that no choice (“always on power point!” or “on only with engine!”) will please everyone – someone will *hate* either option.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    There seems to be a lot of damning faint praise in this review.

    Most interactions with an Altima will be limited to a stripper 4-banger at the rental counter, or from the subprime financing office at the dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      ^This.

      At least when Ford made the 4th generation Taurus a fleet queen, you seemed to get more for your money, an excellent value. Alloys, V-6, comfortable interior that was quieter, decent ride quality, etc. Same with the W body Impala. Youre likely to see higher trim, higher optioned vresions of them than you do Altima former rentals. Yes, they had models with poverty caps, just not the most offen seen version as with Altima and Camry for that matter. Also true of the last few Grand Marquis LS Fleet. Leather, alloys, etc. The Japanese are stingey lol.

      Can you even get a Ford Fusion with wheel covers?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yes, you can get a Fusion with wheel covers, in S guise, and I think early on, the SE was available with them as well.

        Also, you saw plenty of poverty-spec W-body Impalas and ovoid Taurii. Those cars, however, were probably more solid than the Altima, because of the latter’s CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Current 2015/2016 Fusion S has std 16″ alloy wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Yep, as most Nissan products go. The rental fleets will be filled. Nissan still makes better looking cars over the metrosexual division Infiniti.

  • avatar
    jmo

    My only exposure to this segment comes in the form of Camry and Altima hybrid cabs. Without exception every Camry is smooth, solid, comfortable and rattle free. The Altimas all seem to age at warp speed in comparison.

  • avatar
    caljn

    The Nissan snark around here is quite tiresome. This isn’t a review, but more preaching to the choir in search of ‘attaboys.
    I seem to recall the esteemed Mr. Dyke’s had a rather favorable review of the pre-refreshed Altima and especially the V6 and chose it (gasp!) above the competition.

    The 4cyl Altima is no worse than the highly overrated 4cyl Camry and probably the rough riding and noisy Accord as well. (Just why are Accord’s so beloved anyway?)

    And I can verify a v6 attached to a cvt is a rather smooth, excellent daily driver.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Interesting that average 2015 monthly sales (US) are pretty close between Altima and Accord. Camry, though, is clearly the leader:

      Camry – 36,111
      Accord – 29492
      Altima – 28,337

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Except that Accord is virtually all retail and #1 among retail buyers. The Altima is heavily fleet fodder.

      • 0 avatar
        walker42

        TTAC is one of those sites where the new car review happens in the comments section, unless written by Alex Dykes. This Altima piece is a case in point.

        Thank you RideHeight for the sales info, from that we can clearly see Altima and Accord are neck and neck and not far behind Camry, which was completely reskinned this year. From other sources we know the % fleet for Camry and Altima are identical.

        From Edmunds we know the Altima True Market Value is $2,300 higher than Camry and an eye popping $3,000 higher than Accord, all pop equipped 4-cylinder models…

        Altima SV: $23,797
        Camry LE: $21,432
        Accord LX: $20,803

        It looks to me like the only one laughing at this review is Nissan, and they are doing it all the way to the bank.

        BTW it is and always has been a 3.5L V6 on the Altima, not a 3.6. Seriously who doesn’t know what a VQ35 is.

    • 0 avatar
      Mackie

      @ caljn
      Agree. These snarky “reviews” are pointless and a waste of online real estate. Brace yourself for the Sentra review.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    I was at the Las Vegas Auto Show today. NO 2016 NISSAN ALTIMA, because Nissan is too stupid to have one there. If I traveled to the Los Angeles show, I could find one. Totally stupid on Nissan’s part not to have one in Las Vegas, especially since the Altima is a top seller here.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “When will it get the turbo four from the Juke?”

    Be careful what you wish for…

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    has Nissan done anything with the suspension tuning or steering? I’ve had several Altimas as rentals and my boyfriend has either a 2014 or 2015 2.5SL. The steering is a joke – my old xbox 360 force feedback wheel was better and the body control is horrible. I always feel like I’m bouncing/moving around and driving down the highway feels like I’m constantly making course corrections and working to keep the car going straight. it’s been that way with all the altimas I’ve had. It feels like a lazy poor attempt to make a “soft” suspension.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’s amazing that Nissan was able to eke out such numbers from an engine that’s about as large as four-cylinders get.

    As far as infotainment, I don’t think the Altima *will* ever get the sleeker infotainment system from the Murano and Maxima. See, Nissan has a dichotomy in its lineup regarding that, and has for some time. The brand’s more-plebeian wares (Versa, Sentra, Altima, Rogue) have a cheaper infotainment system, and evidently so does the 2016 Titan. Meanwhile, the nicer or pricier cars (Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Quest, 370Z, etc…) have a better, more-integrated infotainment system. In the previous two eras of Nissan products, those nicer Nissans pretty much used the same infotainment setup as the Infiniti brand.

    So, no, the Altima probably won’t get the Maxima/Murano infotainment system. The most-likely candidate to receive this navigation system upon redesign/refresh is the Pathfinder.

  • avatar

    Thank you for reviewing rental car I will get on my next trip to Hawaii. I look forward to going on vacation with a newly acquired enthusiasm.

  • avatar
    Joss

    If Nissan wants to be long-serving and ubiquitous with the 2.5 why don’t they plonk it in the 2016 Sentra?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The Altima gets too much crap than it deserves. It’s really not a bad car. I’ve had plenty of the current ones as rentals. They’re not bad. The seats are very comfortable. The rest of the car is decent too, it’s spacious, quick enough and feels solid.

    Yes, for the millionth time, the HONDA ACCORD IS BETTER. But the Altima is priced a step below the Accord, it’s priced more in line with the Civic. For its price point the Altima provides a LOT of value.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Exactly. Thank you. The Altima is a car that people love to hate, and for no good reason, either. I guess once Chrysler redesigned the 200, they needed a new target to make fun of.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Did you know that the Accord is #1 with retail customers?
      Did you know that C&D will get on its knees for it, so you should too?
      Did you know that it is the most awesome FWD economy sedan ever and can pull something like 0.05G more than a Sonata?
      You want links to magazine articles on every TTAC post that even whispers Honda?

      Drink the Kool Aid

      DRINK IT!

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        The Accord is available with a manual, and it has a coupe version.

        When the above is no longer true, the fellatio will end. Trust me. But I know I’d buy one in a heartbeat if the finances allowed. I do love my Altima though. It just doesn’t stir my soul.

    • 0 avatar
      mchan1

      Agreed.

      The Altima gets too much hate, esp. from auto enthusiasts, who don’t really see that the model is Not a sports car but a daily driver.

      Though the CVT could be better (Didn’t Honda modify its CVT to be less noisy and function a bit better?), the car is decent for those that want a roomy car that offers decent acceleration, can be relatively quiet and is relatively affordable.

      It’s relatively reliable and durable and can last >10 years. Hopefully, Nissan corrected the past issues with the CVT and other area like rust, which it was prone for in its past Altima models.

      If one takes care of it, it will last years, something similar to the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. They aren’t sports cars because the Altima/Accord/Camry weren’t built for that purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m with Mandalorian, the Altima is a perfectly nice midsize option. It’s big wins are comfortable seats, a soft, relaxed ride, range topping fuel economy, and good reliability. All of this at very attractive real world prices. Rather than comparing this as a new car to a new Accord, it is more relevant to compare a 1-2 year old former fleet Altima to lightly used and overpriced Civics and Corollas. Altima matches them for fuel economy while delivering a more cushy midsize car experience with the attributes I listed above.

      Having said that, if I was buying and holding onto a car for 10+ years, I think a Camry would be my top pick, with its trusty port injected 2.5L or 3.5L V6 (Accord 4cyl is DI) and traditional automatic (Altima and Accord 4cyl are CVT). Either that or a V6 Accord.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I think the hint is: a certain lack of panache.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “The same 3.6-liter six that makes 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque remains for six percent of buyers who will opt for the bigger engine. It’s overpowered.”

    Over powered?

    I mean..come on. Are you serious? Or just being clever?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Almost any FWD car with more than around 180 lb-ft torque is overpowered. At that point it takes either an LSD and electronic nannies to try to manage it (GTI) or you can embrace it and hope some people find torque steer fun (FoST).

      The power might be occasionally useful on the highway, but I mostly find it a constant reminder of the shortcomings of FWD.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        No.
        That is a flimsy way of trying to frame this.
        The power is needed a whole lot more than ” occasionally useful on the highway”.
        I have a V6 09 Mazda 6 and that time comes a hell of a lot.
        The 6 with the 4 is a lot slower and actually annoying. I even rented the latest last month in LA. OK once you get up and going. But it was irritating in the stop and take off freeway traffic.
        And from a stop in town, that was the OK time…not the norm, however.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        “Almost any FWD car with more than around 180 lb-ft torque is overpowered” Really? My 2016 Golf Sportwagen tsi with a Neuspeed Power Module makes 250 ft lbs and I think its great. VW has managed to have all the torque available at 1600 rpm so its almost diesel-like in the way you can scoot around town.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    Does anyone remember the MTV VMAs from waaaaay back when, when Suge Knight dissed on Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records by saying “if you don’t want the producer all up in the video, all up in the records, come to death row”?

    I find myself remembering that line every time I read a TTAC article where Mark decides to interject with some pointless quip. Seriously, am I the only one who finds this annoying?

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      You are not alone.

    • 0 avatar
      WestoverAndOver

      You are not the only one who finds this annoying. Others have said it before and I agree with them, and you. It is off-putting.

      My wife has a 2007 Altima 3.5 SE (point five, not six), with the CVT, purchased new. CVT has never imploded but is slightly annoying. The car is starting to show its age and small things are beginning to break and our 2014 JGC with pentastar feels light years ahead of it. Would love to move on from the Altima but I think the wife is in it for the long haul.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had a 2010 2.5 S for a three year lease. It was cheap at $0 down and I wanted an inexpensive lease for a few years( my twins were only 3 months old when I got it).I wouldn’t want another one and try to avoid them at the rental counter. That 2.5/CVT combination was awful except on the highway, where it kept the revs low. Above 3500 rpm, the thrum and boom of the engine were awful and 4500 to the redline was quite an aural assault. The mileage wasn’t that great and the rubber band CVT was annoying in the hills at home.

    I had a brief stint in a 2013 car and some of it was fixed. But I’m pretty much done with any modern Nissan that isn’t a Leaf or GT-R, and those have little chance of gracing my driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      The Altima was somewhere between the Accord and Camry in terms of comfort, ride and handling. It was quieter than the Accord, but not as “athletic”. For those times I wanted to push it, the last Accord we had (2006 LX) was fairly willing to have fun. The Altima wasn’t as willing, but it wasn’t as bad as the last non-SE Camry I drove, which was 2006. But the Altima was not as sharp as the 2010 Camry SE I had as a rental once.

      The Altima was one of those cars that fit the need and seemed fine on the short test drive I took with it. But after 3 years of CVT, I was done with it.

      It was better than anything else I was looking at leasing at the time for the price. Mine was a leftover from a fleet deal that must have fallen through, as they had 10 identical Altima S with power seat delete and no options besides the Keyless Go system. Sign and drive for 220/mo with taxes, it served it’s purpose as the appliance I needed for an uncertain time.

      Another point others have made is that no one pays sticker for an Altima. There is always some incentive out there in rebate form or lease specials.

      • 0 avatar
        ShoogyBee

        $220 per month? That’s higher than I would’ve imagined. Several years ago I leased a 2010 Accord LX automatic through Honda Financial for $179 per month ($189 including taxes) with zero down and 12K miles per year for 3 years. Honda even paid the first month’s payment. I didn’t even have to wheel ‘n deal since this was advertised in the local paper.

        Even though the LX felt like a fleet/rental car with its creaky interior and abysmal stereo, I would’ve bought it at the end of the lease if it had a power driver’s seat. Too bad I didn’t spend a bit more for an LX-P or EX at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          I imagine that the Altima still doesn’t have the residuals the Accord does due to its popularity with the fleets, among other factors. My lease was outside the national program at the time, since the car was an early 2010 being sold in early 2011. Still a Nissan NMAC lease, but a local deal with the dealer since they had a bunch of leftovers. Plus, I’d already had an Accord, I wanted to give Nissan a shot.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Ummmmmmm…

    I’m still trying to figure out why the V6 Altima exists while the Maxima does or vice versa.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Maxima should have the 3.7, while the Altima should stick with the 3.5.

      Which BTW the article is wrong by listing it as a 3.6, it’s a 3.5.

    • 0 avatar
      mchan1

      Many posters on other auto online forums ask why the Maxima even exists.

      Nissan should phased out the Maxima.
      The V-6 Altimas should then be called the ‘new’ Maxima.
      The V-6 Altima is relatively roomier, almost as quick and costs less than the Maxima.

      What’s the point of the Maxima nowadays?

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      You are right on point. Why does the Maxima exist? I forsee $7000-9000 off the Maxima sticker by the end of next year. For the high sticker price it puts you in a rwd Infiniti version. That is of course for ones that want a Pontiaced version of a Nissan.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        If one happens to be an avowed used car buyer the Maxima’s steep depreciation (% wise) might make it attractive but when it comes to new cars…

        It doesn’t make sense.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That’s a very nice interior.

    I’m not a fan of the new nose look from Nissan, but there’s no question they’ve improved the Altima over the years.

    My mother’s 2002 2.5S keeps running well – she got it in 2010 with 70k miles; it might have 80k now. It’s floaty and loose, but reliable, and that’s all she needs.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    It looks like one of these will be my sister’s next car. She decided to wait until spring to get it and it was between an Altima and a Mazda 6 with the previous Altima being the probable choice. They don’t buy anything else but Mazdas and Nissans, even though a they have had a lemon in both brands. I can bet it will be a boring base car in a boring color, with that awful beige interior. Her color choices have always been bad, going back to 1973 when she picked a turd brown over bronze Cutlass as her second car. Her next car was a dark turd brown over lighter turd brown Cutlass that was just horrible from day one.

    The Altima, hands down, is the vehicle of choice for bad/timid drivers here in the Toledo area. Sis lives in SC and she’s anything but a timid driver.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      50mph at the end of one of the few freeway onramps in the area not graced with the Ohio state flower (the orange barrel), and the rest of the traffic is moving ~70mph. Check!

      Sitting in the far left lane, and wouldn’t move over or go faster than the speed limit even if they knew that a following vehicle could put a 20mm shell up their tailpipe? Check!

      I could go on! ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        Oh yeah. Along with the constant brake checkings and stopping at the top of the ramps because they are afraid of using “all the power” by flooring it to merge. I sometimes kind of wish I had phasers that could just make them disappear so I could drive through them.

  • avatar
    marmot

    If you’re going to use a semicolon, as you do in the second paragraph, remember that the second half must be a complete sentence.

  • avatar
    stereorobb

    forgettable indeed. and yes the Nissan Altima never has a happy ending. cheap fit and finish plus having major mechanical issues after 100k or so. I will say this, ive always kind of liked the 2002-06 version cause it was cool looking in its time, but dear lord they haven’t aged well at all. one of those cars that are usually at the end of there rope after ten years or so.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Don’t know why the amount of hate that the Altima gets except from auto enthusiasts.

    Do people actually redline an Altima? Seriously?

    It’s a decent daily driver, as some posters have already mentioned. It’s NOT a sports car! Period! Get over it!

    Nissan has made improvements over the years though it’s now made the Altima as bland as the Toyota Camry, yet Toyota and Nissan STILL stills the Camry/Altima, respectively, in decent numbers yearly.

    Is it a sports car? No.
    Is it a daily driver? Yes.
    Does it have ‘issues’? Yes! What car does NOT?!

    CVT? Yes, you can hate it but many auto makers appear to be going there with their vehicles.
    Softer suspension/steering feel? Ok… but it’s not a sports car!

    Reading articles then the comments that just bashes cars really gets very tiresome.

    Not everyone can afford to have more than 1 vehicle.
    It would be great IF people, in general, can have a daily driver and a ‘sports/sporty’ car to drive.
    It would also be nice if Everyone had a job that pays >$100,000/annually and not have to worry about possibly getting laid off.

  • avatar
    wmba

    If that is a real review then this is a real comment.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I think it’s pretty legit to slag on Nissan just because of their fake e-brake hooning commercials with fwd cars….

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    According to CR it’s one of the top 7 most horrible and irritating cars that consumers regret buying. Article on Yahoo’s home page.

  • avatar

    I just got my third rental Altima in the row. This time in Maui. Dollar initially gave ,me keys with Mazda logo. I was happy to drive Mazda6 on vacation. But my jaw dropped when I found the car on the lot – it was Mazda minivan, CX5 as they told me when I walked back to office and demanded anything else than minivan or like. Lady at the counter then walked in the back of office and came back asking if Nissan Altima is okay with me. I said yes because I knew that Altima is an ultimate rental car, in a good sense. It is not big but big enough inside, excellent mpg and etc. Of course I would never own one but as rental car is better than many others.

    I cannot tell one Altima model from another But I checked photos again and interior and rear looks very similar (never saw it from front though). So it looks like next 7 days I will drive new Altima. Right away I can say that it is better than my last two rental Altimas – it feels more refined, interior is of higher quality, it is more quiet. Seats are similar. Visibity is very bad – I can hardly see anything when backing. I got used to rear view camera though. I did not try antics yet because wife is always seats next to me and yells at me when I try something.

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