2017 Nissan Altima Review


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2017 Nissan Altima Overview

By their very nature, family sedans are not barn-burning performance vehicles. But just because a class of vehicle prioritizes practicality and reliability doesn’t mean it also has to be boring. While other automakers have succumbed to this pitfall of blasé, the Nissan Altima brings the excitement while also bringing peace of mind.

The Altima is in its fifth generation, which replaced the fourth-gen model in 2013 and was given a mid-generation refresh for the 2016 model year. This refresh, whch will carry over to the 2017 model year, embraced some of the latest Nissan design trends, including the L-shaped headlights with fetching LED inserts, sculpted and tiered front grille, and aerodynamic lower front fascia. The result is a look that combines the best of the Nissan 370Z sports car and Maxima flagship sedan into one handsome 4-door package.

Inside, the Altima has a straightforward cabin design that puts ease of use first and yet is not devoid of style. In many ways, it shares its layout with the pre-facelift Altima but adds the Advanced Drive-Assist display: simply toggle through easy-to-read menus in the vivid instrument panel display with the push of a steering-wheel-mounted button.

All Altima trims come with “Zero Gravity” bucket seats, which draw inspiration from the weightlessness of being in space. The seats leverage 14 specific pressure points to seat you in a position that puts the least amount of pressure on your spine and joints. This should leave you feeling a bit better after any long commute or road trip.

Trims for the Altima includes the base, S, SR, SV, and SL. Standard equipment on the base includes halogen headlights with LED inserts, a multi-function steering wheel with audio controls and voice-control buttons, Bluetooth smartphone pairing with hands-free calling, remote keyless entry, and Easy Fill Tire Alert (when you're filling the Altima's tires, the car will honk to let you know the tire has reached its appropriate level of pressure).

The S trim adds an integrated backup camera, steering-wheel-mounted cruise-control switchgear, a USB port with iPod connectivity, a 5-inch digital audio display, a speed-sensitive hands-free text-messaging assistant, Siri Eyes Free voice recognition for your iPhone, and NissanConnect with mobile apps. NissanConnect gives you access to apps like Facebook, Google search, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and more. The TripAdvisor app allows you to search for local attractions, hotels, and restaurants and navigate to them.

The SR trim ups the ante with 18-inch aluminum-alloy sport-design rims, daytime running lights, and smoked-out headlight housings. Move up to the SV trim and you get features such as 17-inch machined aluminum wheels in either Continental or Michelin tires, remote start with intelligent climate control, and dual-zone climate control. The range-topping SL adds leather seating, heated front seats, a 9-speaker Bose premium sound system, dual power-foldaway mirrors with integrated turn signals, and back-seat climate-control vents.

SR and SL trims are also available with a power-sliding glass moonroof and a larger 7-inch color touchscreen display, which is home to a navigation system with Sirius TravelLink (featuring real-time traffic and weather updates) and turn-by-turn navigation updates in the instrument panel display.

The standard engine across the Altima lineup is a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4). It makes 182 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, and power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In the sporty SR trim, this transmission gets paddle shifters that allow you to cycle through seven virtual gears in “manumatic” mode. The SR also gets a sport suspension, so you can inject some excitement into your daily commute.

SR and SL trims are also available with a 3.5-liter V6. This throaty engine makes 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque, sent to the front wheels through a CVT. Both trims also come with the paddle shifters for manumatic operation.

Fuel-economy estimates for the 2017 Altima have not yet been posted by the EPA, but the 2016 Altima delivered mileage of 27 mpg city/39 highway/31 combined with the I4 and 22/32/26 with the V6. Expect EPA estimates for the ’17 to be the same, if not slightly different.

Standard safety features on the Nissan Altima include advanced dual-stage front airbags, a full complement of front and side airbags, front and rear crumple zones, anti-lock brakes, vehicle-dynamics control, traction control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. SV and SL trims come equipped with a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert to warn you of cars out of your visual range while you're changing lanes or backing out. A Technology Package adds safety tech such as a forward-collision warning system, predictive forward-collision warning, and intelligent cruise control.

Pricing for the ’17 Nissan Altima has not yet been announced, but the ’16 pricing spread from $22,500 to $32,500. Expect pricing for the new model year to be in the same neighborhood.

From its advanced Zero-Gravity seats to the NissanConnect apps, the Altima has many ways to take your daily commute out of the ordinary. And with available trims like the performance-minded SR, you can even turn your daily grind into a daily drive of excitement. And you get all this from a sensible 5-passenger family sedan. Who said commuter cars couldn’t be fun?


From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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