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The Nissan Altima is a reliable and popular vehicle. However, recent owners aren’t thrilled with every aspect of it. J.D. Power’s long-running APEAL study has found that certain elements of the Altima aren’t up to par with owner expectations. So, if a car’s interior is important to you, a 2023 Nissan Altima midsize sedan may not be the right fit.

What J.D. Power says about the Nissan Altima

J.D. Power found the Altima a serviceable vehicle with a few things going for it and at least three significant drawbacks. The overview included results from J.D. Power’s 27-year Automotive, Performance, and Evaluation (APEAL) study that added a fourth potential area of concern.

The APEAL study asks respondents to rank 10 of their vehicle’s attributes in order of how much they like them. These attributes include vehicle access, infotainment, interior design, comfort, starting, powertrain, fuel efficiency, safety, driving feel, and exterior design. Respondents who’ve had a new vehicle for over 90 days are invited to share their perspectives on these attributes, allowing J.D. Power readers to get invaluable insights about different cars.

From the APEAL results, owners are pretty dissatisfied with a couple of critical areas: the interior and infotainment system. Given that the 2023 Nissan Altima’s purchase price is a bit higher than other vehicles in the segment, these aspects may be enough to encourage drivers to look elsewhere.

Why Altima owners took issue with the interior

Of the 10 attributes APEAL respondents ranked, the interior design came in eighth. While the 2023 Nissan Altima includes a different dashboard trim than the 2022 model, the current version is filled with lots of hard plastic. From an aesthetic perspective, the design looks alright, but hard plastic can make for an uncomfortable ride, especially during long drives. Additionally, driver comfort was ranked seventh, likely due in part to the plastic surfaces.

APEAL respondents also took issue with the touchscreen infotainment system, while J.D. Power actually enjoyed it. At 12.3 inches, it’s larger than that found in earlier models. It also comes connected to Amazon Alexa Skill, Google Assistant, and Apple CarPlay.

Owners may be displeased that the infotainment system requires a wired connection for Android Auto or that the Bose sound system it’s paired with is not the best. Buyers also have to buy an SV or higher trim to avail themselves of the larger touchscreen. As the reviewer notes, other vehicles in the segment offer longer trial subscriptions to compatible services.

How Nissan can improve the 2024 Altima

A white 2023 Nissan Altima midsize sedan model parked on an office plaza in front of glass plating
2023 Nissan Altima | Nissan Motor Corporation

If Nissan is looking for ways to make the 2024 Altima model more appealing, some easy fixes are available. The company can start by making the 12.3-inch touchscreen standard across trims and include wireless Android Auto. Additionally, replacing some, if not all, hard plastic with cloth would significantly improve Altima owners’ appreciation of the vehicles’ interiors and driver comfort.

J.D. Power brought up a few other areas of concern, notably mediocre driving dynamics, fuel efficiency, and a high base price for the segment. The reviewer noted that the optional (and expensive) AWD system didn’t provide much difference in rainy weather and that the noisy suspension had difficulty handling speed bumps at higher than posted speeds. J.D. Power also noted that the steering was imprecise, and the wind and road noise was constant. These are all areas in which Nissan can improve.

The reviewer also found that the Altima got fewer mpg than its ratings with both the standard and turbo powertrains. That kind of thing is hard to gauge for most drivers, but Nissan (and the EPA) should reexamine the vehicle’s ratings.

Furthermore, Nissan can also reexamine pricing if it’s looking to increase sales in next year’s model. The automaker may be banking on the Altima being one of the last midsize sedans left on the market. However, if Nissan doesn’t revisit some of these areas, the company may be outsold by competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

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