Nissan Altima Road Test, Review
It’s an accomplished cruiser blessed with a beautiful ride and a wonderfully hushed interior.
Built in Thailand, quality is great with an excellent fit and finish, and whilst it is a little challenging to look at from some angles, the space inside is vast.
A familiar sight on the V8 Supercar circuit, the Nissan Altima you can buy at the Nissan dealer is a far cry from what you see on the racetrack; there it is driven through the rear wheels and is powered by a V8.
The Altima you’ll see on the road is a front wheel drive affair powered by either a 2.5 litre four-cylinder or a 3.5 litre V6.
I had the $35,990 Altima ST-L for review, the mid-range car powered by the 2.5 litre four-cylinder that develops 127kW and 230Nm.
While those figures don’t suggest that the Altima is a ball of fire, by no means is it a slouch either.
Hooked up to a CVT, the power on offer is put to the ground with maximum effect making the Altima a spritely drive.
It’s quick away from the lights and overtakes with ease, all while providing excellent economy.
Over a week of mainly city driving, the Altima sipped just 7.7L/100kms, or a touch over 30 miles per gallon in the old language.
The ride is sublime with little or no cabin disruption even on dodgy road surfaces.
Sitting on 17-inch rims wrapped in plump 215/55 tyres, the pay-off for the cushioned ride comes when you give it a bit of stick in the corners.
There is a bit of body roll, and you couldn’t describe the Altima as a brilliant handler, but it’s not easily unbalanced and only begins to become a little unstuck when really pushed.
The steering is good…nice and light in the car parks and relatively meaty at higher speeds.
It offers reasonable feedback and responds quickly to driver inputs. Parking is a breeze with standard front and rear parking sensors.
All-round visibility is great from the driver’s seat, with rear vision aided by a high-resolution rear camera display.
The front seats are endlessly adjustable and are up to the normal Nissan standards; they’re some of the most supportive and comfortable in the business.
The instrument cluster is a thoroughly modern affair with great colour graphics that are customizable to suit you, while the layout of the dash is elegant and logical.
The multi-function steering wheel is a little skinnier than most but still feels great in the hand and looks good to boot.
There are lashings of leather covering almost everything and the mix of high-grade plastics provides plenty of interesting and attractive textures.
The 7″ central colour screen is the interface for the standard sat–nav, thumping 9-Speaker Bose sound system and Bluetooth streaming.
There’s also a comprehensive trip computer and plenty of adjustable settings for things like the headlights and central locking.
There’s no shortage of storage areas with plenty of hidey-holes, and the boot could easily double as the next venue for your family BBQ – it’s enormous.
That theme continues in the cabin area with acres of rear legroom, even with the front pews pushed back as far as they can go.
Up front it’s bright and airy with generous amounts of head, leg and shoulder room.
The Nissan Altima comes with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The Nissan warranty is a comprehensive 3-year, 100,000 kilometre affair, and in combination with the optional Nissan fixed-price servicing program, it’s easy to be 100% across the total cost of ownership.
That all stacks up favourably with its direct competitors.
In fact everything about the Altima stacks up favourably with the competition.
It’s one of the more fuel-efficient in the segment, has great on road manners, decent power reserves, generous equipment levels, and is whisper quiet with a class-leading ride.
The sharp pricing is just another tick in the box.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2014 Nissan Altima
- Engine: 2.5 litre petrol developing 127kW and 230Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000kms
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: from $35,990