Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan Altima S
The modern sedan is, sadly, a slowly dying breed. With most of Detroit exiting the segment faster than that black cat ran off the field at MetLife Stadium, the selection of large four-doors is smaller than ever (if you haven’t heard Kevin Harlan’s call while said cat was on the field, you *must* take the time to listen).
However, the manufacturers that remain committed to sedans are plowing plenty of development dollars into their creation. When the build & price for the wild new Hyundai Sonata becomes available, you know it’ll be featured in this series, for example.
Nissan has decided to re-up its spacious Altima for 2020, offering American customers a variety of powertrain and trim options. In fact, no fewer than a dozen choices stare shoppers in the face when they visit the Altima corner of Nissan’s website. Let’s see what the base S has to offer.
For the not unreasonable sum of $24,100, one will find themselves in possession of a sedan large enough to make one wonder why Nissan bothers to market the mighty Maxima anymore. Driver assistance tech abounds on the base model, including the likes of automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning. Airbags pop out of many nooks and crannies, including one for the knees of front-row occupants.
A 2.5-liter inline-four resides under the hood of this base model, making 188 horsepower and a roughly like amount of torque. Altima is a front-wheel drive proposition at this price, unlike north of the border where all of these cars are fitted with all-wheel drive. Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission is the sole choice of ‘box, for better or worse.
Inside, push-button ignition presents itself thanks to economies of scale, as do a tilt/telescope steering wheel and air conditioning. It would be nice if more than the driver’s power window was auto-up/down. A remote starter is standard. Nissan’s chairs are notoriously comfortable, and recent seat time proved this again to your author. They are cloth-lined in this base car.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on board the 8-inch touchscreen display, along with the expected Bluetooth capability and text-messaging voice stuff. USB-C ports now join the standard units, future-proofing the thing for when Apple decides to switch up its charging system for the umpteenth time. Satellite radio is included, something which doesn’t always happen on base cars (*ahem Honda ahem*)
Add in gratis colors such as this Deep Blue Pearl and one has a well-equipped sedan priced under twenty-five large. That is, if you can suffer the indignity of piloting something that’s not a crossover. I sure can.
Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.
Jeff S on Nov 08, 2019
There were still vehicles built in the early 00s that had keys without chips. The last generation S-10 which ended in 2004 with a crew cab and some of the early Colorado/Canyon replacements for the S-10s. It wasn't until the last 10 years that all vehicles went to chips in keys or fobs so yes there are still vehicles less than 30 years old still running that use old style keys which can be made at Walmart or any hardware store for $2 versus $100 or more for a fob. I know this because up until 2 weeks ago I owned a 99 S-10 for over 20 years and I have driven the base models of 2005 thru 2008 Colorados with regular keys and no chips.
Jeff S on Nov 08, 2019
I am probably less concerned whether a vehicle has a regular key, a key without a chip, or a fob. It has become a non-issue in the last 10 years with fobs and will become more of a non-issue in the future when there will be smart phone apps and no fobs. My main concern is how well the vehicle runs, is it safe, is it comfortable, reliability, and the cost of replacement parts and the cost of maintenance. My 99 S-10 was reliable and inexpensive to maintain and now it has a new home with my nephew who will take good care of it and plans to keep it. My nephew is into tech but he likes the manual transmission, the crank windows, and the overall simplicity. My nephew has a 2014 Ram Cummins 1 ton dually Longhorn loaded to the gills with all the newest technology and his wife a 2009 Accord but he wanted to have just a basic plain truck as a keep sake (it does have air, power steering, and power assist brakes with a CD stereo and wi-fi).
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