2014 Nissan Altima Review By Steve Purdy
2014 NISSAN ALTIMA SV
By Steve Purdy
The Nissan Altima, built in Smyrna, TN, fits squarely into perhaps the most competitive segment of the U.S. automotive market, the mid size family sedan category. With front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive not an option) independent suspension all around, 4- or 6-cylinder power, generous room for five and base price close to $20,000 it must compete head-to-head with Malibu, Fusion, Sonata, Optima, Camry, Accord, Chrysler 200, and a few others. Sonata and Optima do not have a 6-cylinder option but offer a turbo 4 that does the same job.
Altima was updated for 2013 and new for 2014 is the latest iteration of the NissanConnect apps and infotainment system that is compatible with iPhone and Android smartphones. Otherwise the car is virtually unchanged from last year’s model.
Exterior style and design fits in the mainstream with enough character to make it distinguishable to those who pay attention to automobiles. But for those who say all cars today look alike because they don’t pay much attention to them, the Altima might be an example they would use since its profile, stance and overall look breaks no new ground.
Acceleration feels a bit tepid on normal driving and you don’t notice the wheeziness. On hard acceleration we have more than adequate umph for most any situation but then we really feel what some of us (mostly driving enthusiasts) find the starkness of a CVT. For most drivers, however, the efficiency more than outweighs any unpleasantness. EPA ratings show 31 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. In our mixed driving environment this week we easily managed 33.4 mpg, a very good number for a midsize sedan considering my driving style. With that mileage capability the 18-gallon fuel tank makes for an exceptional cruising range.
Altima’s overall driving dynamics will please almost everyone. Suspension is a bit firm but that, along with a sophisticated independent rear suspension geometry makes for some of the best handling in the class for those who like to drive with some enthusiasm. Steering is precise with just the right amount of resistance. And, the chassis feels admirably stiff and always under control. The ride is smooth and the cabin is as quiet as any.
Nissan’s warranty covers the car for 36 months or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 60,000 miles.
One of my evaluation criteria when reviewing a car relates to how I would like to live with this car if I owned it. The answer to that question, in this case, is that I would be fine with that – not excited, not giddy, but content. Altima’s price, content, style and performance makes a fine balance.
If you are shopping in that segment, you should certainly have the Altima on your list.
© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved