2015 Nissan Altima Sedan

Tuesday, June 17th 2014. | Nissan |

White Nissan AltimaThe 2015 Nissan Altima is the best car for you if you want a popular midsize sedan updated by tweaked styling and introduction of a unique hybrid model.The 2015 Nissan Altima, still fresh from a model-year 2013 redesign, won’t rest on its success. Expect appearance updates and addition of a third powertrain choice — a supercharged four-cylinder engine that’ll team with an electric motor to provide V-6-type power and four-cylinder-like fuel economy.

Should you wait for the 2015 Nissan Altima or buy a 2014 Nissan Altima? Wait for the 2015 Altima if you’re keen on the very latest look or you’re a hybrid fan and think Nissan will gain a competitive edge with its supercharged approach to green motoring. Buy a 2014 Altima if you need a well-sorted midsize sedan and aren’t leaning toward a hybrid. Nissan actually gave the ’14 Altima some insightful updates. And frankly, the 2015 model’s styling changes won’t be significant. But it will cost more than a 2014.

2015 Nissan Altima Changes

The Nissan Altima has been one our perennial recommendations for years now, but our reasons for why have shifted over time. There was a time that we preferred it for its engaging driving dynamics as a scrappy upstart in the segment, but now, we enjoy it as a safe, comfortable mid-size sedan–one that just happens to be Nissan’s best-selling model.

It’s a mainstream sedan now, with its simplified drivetrain lineup, consolidated, yet upscale cabin and new infotainment system, and it’s NASA-inspired seats that take the cake in comfort. Granted, it may not be quite as assertive as it once was, but the Altima has matured in many of the places where it once lacked refinement.

The Altima sedan’s still a five-seater, riding on the same 109.3-inch wheelbase it did in the 2012 model year, 191.5 inches long in all. There’s not much more room in any direction, and that’s fine–the Altima was large enough for almost any family. Nissan’s spent quality time on the seats, and it’s paid off in very comfortable chairs that hold up for hours on end, at least for the front-seat passengers. On base models, the front seats are adjustable six ways for the driver, four for the passenger. A power driver seat and heated front seats are an option. The rear seats are split 60/40 and fold down to expand access to the trunk. Leather seats are still an option.

Nissan Altima Interior Exterior

Nissan Altima InteriorThe Nissan Altima may have a sober interior, but there’s still a sporty flair to its sheetmetal. The Altima hasn’t changed much since its redesign in 2013, but that’s not a bad thing. Its smooth sheetmetal and tasteful interior make it a handsome, reserved option in the segment–and it looks almost like its more expensive, luxurious Infiniti cousins. Maxima who?

The interior stands out in sharp contrast to the sheetmetal. It’s conservatively drawn, with straight lines dividing off the center stack of controls from the driver and the passenger. There’s also more space left for larger LCD screens for more advanced infotainment systems, a selling point where the Altima’s lagged behind the Koreans and Americans. Big dials and a three-dimensionally drawn screen between them fill up the gauge cluster, while the wide center console is spanned by the shift lever, cupholders, some usefully large storage bins, and covered in a decently rendered artificial woodgrain or a back-to-wardrobe metallic print that looks like bad sharkskin material cut on a bias. The finishes are more spendy this time, and more soft-touch plastics meet the hand and the eye–except at the door pulls, where it’s hard, wide-grain plastic. It’s probably as durable as possible.

Finally, on the infotainment front, the Altima catches up to the competition with new bundles of features connected to audio and Bluetooth, which now comes standard on the sedan, as does audio streaming and incoming text-to-voice translation, along with a CD player and an auxiliary jack. The Altima’s infotainment system also permits streaming from Pandora, and accepts mapping information from Google Maps, too. A central display in the instrument cluster brings together all this information for the driver to monitor while on the road. Other available features include automatic headlights; LED taillights; heated rearview side mirrors; a USB port; Bose audio; satellite radio; navigation with a 7-inch screen; dual-zone climate control; pushbutton start; a wide-view rearview camera; and a glass sunroof.

Nissan claims that the body stampings on the Altima’s sheetmetal are some of the most complex the brand has ever done, taking cues from the larger Maxima and several Infiniti’s flowing lines to create one very attractive mid-size sedan. The angled, arrow-themed cues are most obvious in the headlights and taillamps, and the sidelights draw to a point after they gracefully taper to a gentle upkick. The grille is much simpler than those of the Murano or Juke, and we’ve come to like this half-hourglass motif.

All versions of the Altima ride on an independent suspension, now upgraded to Sachs shocks for better ride control. The rear suspension eliminates one of its lateral links, incorporating it into a structural brace that creates a wider, stiffer axis for better wheel control.. Coupled with a switch to electrohydraulic steering, the Altima’s road manners have been buffed to a low gloss. The Altima now has excellent compliance over most every surface, but the tightly controlled ride and eager feel dialed into the old hydraulic-only steering have gone AWOL. We miss the more immediate feel already, because it’s long disappeared from cars like the Honda Accord. A new Active Understeer Control applies braking to inside front wheels to tighten cornering lines. Sixteen-inch wheels are now standard on the Altima; 17- and 18-inch wheels and tires are available.

Now in the thick of the family-sedan sales race, the Altima’s come a long way since its scrappy also-ran days. Maturity has its upside–but we have to admit we miss the frisky old feel.

4 Cylinder Nissan Altima

New Nissan Altima 20152015 Nissan Altima Performance Review. The athletic feel from last decade’s Altima is gone, but today’s version is quiet, and the CVT and ride are vastly improved. The standard powertrain is a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It produces 182 horsepower, and gets to 60 mph in just under eight seconds. The CVT has been heavily reworked, and it’s considerably more responsive than it has been in the past–especially in sport-shift mode, where it moves more quickly in the rev range, making the most of the smaller engine’s power. This engine is loud, though, and the CVT doesn’t do it any favors there. Drivers will be discouraged from running it all the way toward the redline, even though it’s surprisingly refined at those engine speeds. Tuned here for higher mileage than ever, it hits an EPA highway rating of 27 miles per gallon city, 38 miles per gallon highway, putting it on par with some hybrids and above leaders like today’s standard Hyundai Sonata, rated at 35 mpg highway. It’s plenty of power for the point-A-to-point-B school of driving, though the drivetrain can be loud at the higher reaches of its range. Premium Altimas continue to offer a quick-footed 3.5-liter V-6 with 270 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, rated at 22/30 mpg. They’re also fitted with the CVT, but with standard paddle controls and a manual shift mode that simulates the gear ratios on a conventional automatic transmission.

With safety as strong a selling point as fuel economy in the Altima’s class, Nissan’s updated the sedan’s technology to include all the advanced features on the shelves of suppliers. The list will include standard or optional rearview camera, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warning systems. The IIHS gives the Altima its Top Safety Pick accolade (with top scores in all but the new small overlap test), while the NHTSA gives it five stars overall for crash-test performance.

Altima MPG

Real-world, 38-mpg fuel economy with the base powertrain is the Nissan Altima’s number to beat. Both the four-cylinder Altima and the V-6 version come equipped with a single transmission. The “Xtronic” CVT (continuously variable transmission) uses a set of pulleys and a belt to simulate an infinite number of gear ratios–on V-6 drivetrains, with some electronically constructed “gears” programmed in along the way for a more conventional driving feel. The CVT has seen progress all its own, with Nissan changing out 70 percent of its parts in the name of efficiency, for a reduction in friction of 40 percent–which helps the Altima along to a 15-percent improvement in fuel economy across the board.

The net for the four-cylinder is EPA-rated gas mileage of 27 miles per gallon city, 38 miles per gallon highway, and 31 mpg combined–or 3 mpg better on the highway cycle than the best four-cylinder mid-size sedan can muster today. With the V-6 and CVT, the Altima is rated at 22/32 mpg, or 26 mpg combined–a 1-mpg improvement in highway driving from last year.

2015 Nissan Altima Price

Prices for the 2015 Nissan Altima were unavailable in time for this review. But Altima has been priced very competitively in a hotly contested market category. And Nissan has made deals even more attractive with relatively generous factory cash-back incentives. That formula is likely to hold for the 2015 Altima and should compel a wide range of midsize-car buyers to include it on their shopping list.

Estimated base-price range for the 2015 Altima is $23,000-$32,000 for gas models. Figure the 2015 Altima Hybrid to start around $30,000, depending on the available trim grades and equipment level. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandatory destination fee; Nissan’s fee for the Altima was running around $780.)

In general, expect the least expensive 2015 Altima to be the 2.5 model, but it’ll again be aimed primarily at rental fleets. The retail-volume-leading 2.5 S should start around $24,000, with V-6 Altimas priced from around $27,000.

2015 Nissan Altima Release Date

Look for the 2015 Nissan Altima in showrooms by late summer 2014.


2015 Nissan Altima Sedan Image Gallery


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