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2015 Nissan Altima 2.5SLReview By John Heilig

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2015 Nissan Altima

By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

MODEL: 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5SL
ENGINE: 2.5-liter DOHC I-4
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 182 hp @ 6,000 rpm/180 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
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: 22 mpg city/38 mpg highway/26.1 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 18 gal.
STICKER: $31,060 (includes $10.00 destination, $1,810 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Nissan Altima is a good, solid, comfortable mid-size sedan at a reasonable price point. Everything is there.

Personally, the Nissan Altima came as a breath of fresh air. My schedule called for 10 of the last 12 vehicles I have tested as sport utilities of some sort. So a sedan was special, even more so since we didn’t have to lug stuff to one of our children’s houses.

The Altima is special in other ways, too. First, unlike some smaller sedans, it is a mid-size, and therefore is the size I would look for if I was buying a car. It is also the preferred size of most American consumers. Vehicles in its competition class include the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Mazda6, among others. It is the most hotly contested segment in the industry.

That said, the Altima is a strong player in the segment. I’m not privy to sales numbers, and frankly I don’t think they have a bearing on which vehicle you should choose, but I’m sure the Altima is up there with the leaders.

Our tester was equipped with a 2.5liter DOHC inline four that is rated at a healthy 187 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque. It drives the front wheels through a CVT automatic transmission.

I thought the engine delivers decent power, although a V6 would be nice. However, Nissan rightly brags about the Altima delivering 38 highway miles per gallon, and that number would surely suffer with a larger engine. Frankly, the four has enough power for 99 percent (maybe more) of the use most drivers would give it.

Backed by the engine, the Altima is a smooth, comfortable driver. Not only did we drive it around our normal Pennsylvania roads, but we also had the opportunity to drive it around the roads neighboring Nissan’s factory in Franklin, Tennessee, and it was a fun ride. Locally, the Altima handled my hillclimb test easily, and demonstrated good handling on the tougher curves. The ride leans toward the soft side, but it’s not too soft. The result is a car that is good on long trips and around town.

The driver’s compartment is simple with no fuss. Yet everything is there and within reach of the driver. What impressed me the most was the lack of extraneous stuff. The front seats are comfortable with minimal side support. There is a nice large center console/arm rest with a 12-volt outlet. The rear seats offer excellent leg room with a reasonably flat floor for the middle passenger. I also liked that the rear seats have almost as much side support as the front seats. There are large water bottle holders in both rear doors. There is also good head room all around, even with the moon roof.

I enjoyed the fat wheel that gave a feeling of stability. Entertainment and cruise switches are located on the wheel. In the center of the dash is a clear infotainment screen

Speaking of infotainment, the audio system was good and had good sound quality for the music I listen to. The HVAC system cooled the car quickly in some wicked hot, humid weather.

For storage, there’s a nice cubby at the base of the center stack that has USB, AUX and 12-volt outlets. There are two cupholders, plus a key cubby in the center console, as well as heated seat controls.

The trunk is excellent. It holds one golf bag and more and could maybe hold a second bag. The rear seat back releases are located in the trunk. With the rear seat backs folded, the cargo area does not have a completely flat floor thanks to the rear seat cushioning.

Rarely have I sat in a car the first time and felt so at home. “This is nice” was my first reaction, and it stayed with me. Altima is not necessarily a car that will draw second or even first glances from most people, although it has great design. But it is a car that you can immediately feel comfortable with, and probably will feel comfortable with over the long term.

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

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