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2014 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL Review and Recommendation

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2014 Nissan Altima

By John Heilig

Model: 2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

Engine: 2.5-liter DOHC I4

Horsepower/Torque: 182 hp @ 6,000 rpm/180 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

Transmission: CVT

Wheelbase: 109.3 in.

Length x Width x Height: 191.5 x 72.0 x 57.9 in.

Tires: P215/55R17

Cargo: 15.4 cu. ft.

Economy: 27 mpg city/38 mpg highway/28.7 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 18.0 gal.

Curb Weight: 3,230 lbs.

Sticker: $30,625 (includes $790 destination charge, $2,075 in options ($800 moonroof. $1,090 technology, $185 floor and trunk mats))

The Bottom Line: The Altima is a very nice midsize sedan. There’s very little about it not to recommend.

At the press introduction of the Nissan Altima, much was made of the Altima’s 38 highway mpg. Well, we didn’t do as well as that in our extended test, only averaging 28.7 mpg overall versus 31 EPA estimated. Still, that isn’t bad for a solid mid-size sedan.

If that’s my only major complaint, then it isn’t bad.

The four-cylinder engine is surprisingly quiet at most speeds. Additionally, the CVT transmission is smooth and non-intrusive.

Styling of the Altima is conservative, something you don’t always expect from Nissan, although the Altima is aimed at the mass market, where less mass-market vehicles like the Juke stretch the envelope more. There are still a couple of neat Nissan touches. For example, the sculpted hood and headlight design are pure Nissan.

I must confess, though, that I wasn’t thrilled with the key fob. Okay, this isn’t a biggie, but you use the fob to lock and unlock the car and open the trunk remotely. You also use it to turn on the alarm. My gripe is that all the buttons on the fob feel the same, so unless you look at it, you can easily press the wrong button and scare grand ma who may be walking by the car when you turn on the alarm.

What counts, of course, is driving the Altima, and here is where it shines. Aft of the quiet, powerful engine is a comfortable interior. Granted, the front seats don’t get carried away with side support, but on all our trips we rode along with no back aches or pains when we exited.

In addition, the driver faces a clear instrument panel with a pushbutton start.

The Altima comes equipped with all the important safety features one would desire – Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection. MOD has become important lately as the car alerts the driver (me) of cars that may be coming from the side when we are in reverse and pulling out of a parking space. That, combined with blind spot warning that alerts the driver of vehicles that are in the left or right blind spot, make driving much safer. All these additions are essentially invisible, unless they’re called on to do their job.

The driver holds on to a heated steering wheel. A comfortable arm rest/center console is placed properly for comfort. This, combined with the arm rest on the door, makes driving less stressful.

The console itself has two layers for maximum utility.

A USB socket is located at the base of the center stack with a small cubby to hold an iPod or cell phone. Behind the shifter in the console is a small cubby that is ideal for keys.

At the top of the center stack is a clear audio/navigation screen. The audio side of the equation is excellent, with great sound for the music I listen to. Some BOOM-BOOM teenager might not be that thrilled, but I was pleased.

Programming the navigation system was easy, as I was able to enter addresses without excessive exertion.

Altima is equipped with a good HVAC system that kept us comfortable in some changing weather.

The rear seats have very good knee room. There’s a medium center hump in the rear that would make it possible for a normal size adult to sit there without becoming overly friendly with his or her knees. Also, entry and egress in the rear is very good.

Trunk capacity is good at more than 15 cubic feet. As a comparison, this is about the same as those land yachts we drove in the Fifties. The rear seats fold to increase cargo capacity, and they can be released with straps located in the trunk.

I’m very impressed with the Altima, both visually and in its ride/drive quality. This is a car I definitely recommend.

2013 The Auto Page