Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The 2014 Nissan Altima ranks 4 out of 21 Affordable Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Nissan Altima, as well as reliability and safety data.

With athletic handling, abundant power and excellent fuel economy, the 2014 Nissan Altima is a practical family sedan that also provides some kicks behind the wheel, reviewers say.

Test drivers are impressed with the ample power offered by the 2014 Nissan Altima’s standard four-cylinder engine and say the optional six-cylinder engine has even more juice. All models come with a continuously variable transmission that reviewers say is responsive and operates smoothly. However, they note that the powertrain can be loud, especially with the four-cylinder engine. The Altima gets an EPA-estimated 27/38 mpg city/highway with the base engine, which is great for the class. The automotive press says that sharp handling makes the Altima a standout among family sedans, most of which are a snooze to drive.

Automotive writers agree that the Altima has an upscale cabin design, and that its plush materials and special “zero-gravity” front bucket seats make for a comfortable ride. The rear seats offer plenty of legroom, test drivers note, though headroom is lacking. The Altima comes standard with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, keyless entry and push-button start. Optional features include NissanConnect, which links with smartphone apps like Facebook, a 7-inch navigation touch screen, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, a rearview camera and a moonroof. Available safety features include blind spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection.

Inside, the Altima deviates from the Infiniti impersonation. Its plain but straightforward controls remind us of the Mazda 6’s, if anything. Front-seat comfort is excellent, thanks to newly designed buckets. Supportive and soft, the seats have a memory-foam-like feel that embraces your body with a delightfully uniform pressure. The rear seats aren’t quite as comfortable as those in the first-class front row, but there’s plenty of space. Legroom is excellent; think exit row but without the responsibility.

Bucking the trend of offering only four-cylinder engines in mid-size family sedans, Nissan offers an optional 270-hp V-6. The company expects only one in 10 buyers will want it. Most will purchase an Altima with the familiar 2.5-liter four that now sports a variable intake manifold and 182 horsepower. There’s no manual, conventional automatic, or dual-clutch transmission. Every 2013 Altima comes with a CVT. To boost fuel economy, Nissan has reduced this transmission’s internal friction by a claimed 40 percent while increasing the spread between the shortest and the tallest ratios. Tall gearing keeps the engine loping along lazily at speed to help the Altima return a class-leading 38-mpg highway rating. Our observed 26 mpg, achieved in a mix of 80-mph freeway driving, city traffic, and a quick strafe through canyon roads, is closer to the 27-mpg EPA city number.

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