Tuesday, June 16, 2015

2015 Nissan Altima SL: Continues To Be A Standout In The Ultra-Competitive Midsize Segment

Highlights: Up until recently, the Altima was available as coupe, too! The last remaining coupe in the segment is now the Honda Accord.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $31,060 (base model $23,125)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: air bags; ABS; a traction control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; a rearview camera; and a vehicle stability control system

Standard Equipment (SL model): 17-inch tires; leather seats; power front seats; heated front seats; a dual zone automatic temperature control system; a push-button ignition starter system; dual visor vanity mirrors; automatic headlights;  heated outside mirrors; a navigation system; and chrome exhaust finishers; and automatic dimming mirrors

Options: a power moon roof; carpeted floor mats; carpeted trunk mats; a 7-inch touch screen display; a blind spot detection system; a lane departure warning system; and a moving object detection system integrated into the rear view camera


Suspension System: independent strut (front); multi-link (rear)

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 9-speaker Bose AM/FM/CD with XM satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000-mile warranty

Powertrain Warranty: 3 years or 36,000-mile warranty

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/185-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 27-city/38-hwy

What’s New: With the exception of a few technological and content package enhancements for the 2015 model year, the popular Altima is basically a carryover.

Pros: The Altima continues to be a popular choice in the extremely competitive midsize segment. The Altima is available with several trim levels which are powered by two powertrains: a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder and a peppy 6-cylinder engine.

The Altima, which was redesigned two years ago, is still an eye-pleasing vehicle today. The roomy, five-seater Altima offers a host of amenities depending upon ones budget. One can opt for the new sporty Special Edition package for the S model, which includes a power driver’s seat, Nissan’s connectivity with mobile apps, a rearview camera, a remote engine starter, a trunk mounted spoiler and 16-inch wheels or the higher end SL model, which includes the latest high-tech driving aids: a lane departure warning system, a blindspot monitoring system and a moving objection detection system.

Yes, the Altima, which offers a great ride and respectable handling capabilities, was designed to fit every buyers taste and budget. We found all of the controls easy to use, too. Overall, the Altima is a great value. The midsize sedan not only appeals to young families, but to young couples and to singles, too. 

Cons: The 7-inch infotainment screen in the Altima that houses both the audio and navigation systems could be enlarged, helping to aid the vision of older buyers. The screen is more suitable to the taste of a compact, as opposed to a midsize sedan.

Moreover, the fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine in our test vehicle seemed somewhat underpowered for this midsize vehicle. Besides the exceptional hybrid-like fuel ratings of the 4-cylinder, we are willing to sacrifice it for the peppier 6-cylinder engine. Ironically, the week prior to reviewing this vehicle, we had our hands on a 4-cylinder Toyota Avalon hybrid from the large car segment. The 4-cylinder Avalon hybrid performed more like a 6-cylinder than a 4-cylinder. So with that being the case, Nissan should consider adding a 4-cylinder turbo to their engine mix just like a number of its competitors.

Verdict: In the ultra-competitive family sedan segment, the stylish Nissan Altima continues to be a very popular choice even with the freshly restyled Chrysler 200 knocking on its door. The Nissan offers a great value package that meets the needs and requirements of today’s midsize buyers, regardless of their budget or lifestyle.

Competition: Chevy Malibu, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda6, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry and VW Passat    

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