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On paper, the Nissan Altima looks like an excellent midsize sedan. It offers a variable-compression turbo engine, a unique powertrain designed to si multaneously enhance a car’s fuel economy and acceleration. Nissan also highlights the Altima’s interior comfort, cargo capacity, and promising safety scores.

Still, you never know how well a car will perform until you’ve driven it yourself. Even vehicles with the most attractive advertising and standard features can grow to be annoying long-term. Fortunately, owner surveys conclude there’s much to love about the Nissan Altima.

Nissan Altima highlights

A white 2023 Nissan Altima parked outdoors.
2023 Nissan Altima | Nissan Motor Corporation

J.D. Power regularly conducts studies that ask drivers to rate their vehicles in 10 categories. Nissan Altima owners said they were most impressed with the exterior styling and the handling of their cars. Drivers also felt that the Nissan Altima delivers on its promises of safety and the overall performance of its powertrain options. 

Most Altima trims are powered by a turbo-four engine that produces up to 188 hp in FWD models. The Nissan Altima SR VC-Turbo is the only one that can be optioned with the upgraded 248-hp VC-turbo engine, but both are paired with the same continuously-variable transmission (CVT).

Autotrader praised the speediness of the upgraded engine as well as the smooth, athletic shifts from the CVT. The VC-Turbo engine also gets impressive gas mileage, up to 25 mpg in the city or 34 mpg on the highway. The standard turbo-four is also fun to operate, plus it returns up to 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highways with FWD.

Autotrader was also pleased with the Altima’s multi-link rear suspension, which keeps the ride smooth and controlled. The SR models come with a different sport-tuned suspension and ride on 19-inch wheels with updated designs. The 2023 Altima also gained new LED headlights and a dynamic front fascia, giving it a sportier character.

The Nissan Altima VC-Turbo and the SL feature a new 12.3-inch infotainment system. Some of its features include wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, navigation, Google Assistant, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. J.D. Power says the system is user-friendly and has sharp graphics. 

The 2023 Nissan Altima also received even more standard safety features, including blind-spot monitors and automatic emergency braking. Higher trims have standard ProPilot assist, an advanced safety function that integrates some lane-keeping tech features with adaptive cruise control. However, J.D. Power cautions that this system’s alerts are too intrusive, and the steering adjustments can be jarring.

Does the Nissan Altima have any significant drawbacks?

While J.D. Power liked VC-Turbo trim’s performance, the base engine reportedly isn’t as satisfying and complains during acceleration. Test drivers also noted lots of exterior noise that leaks into the cabin at higher speeds. The Nissan Altima’s brakes reportedly don’t inspire much confidence, and the backup camera’s image quality is below average.

J.D. Power also doesn’t believe that the Nissan Altima is the best car to buy from a value standpoint. The Altima’s standard warranty is relatively short compared to its rivals and includes no complimentary maintenance. 

The base trim doesn’t offer as many tech features as its rivals, yet it’s still priced at $36.085 to start. The Honda Accord, which also garners praise for its handling and attractive sheet metal, starts at just $27,295

Why it’s worth getting excited about the Nissan Altima

As J.D. Power reminds us, the Nissan Altima is one of the few new sedans you can still purchase in 2023. Many former options have been phased out in favor of SUVs, which typically attract higher sales numbers. In Nissan’s lineup alone, the Altima competes with seven SUVs of various sizes. 

We’re not saying that the Altima alone will revive this dying segment. Still, such positive praise might remind automakers that it’s worth keeping a sedan or two around for interested buyers.


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