Sedans & Coupes

The 2021 Nissan Altima Is Easy To Ignore, but Should You?

The Nissan Altima is generally regarded as a good car, but it’s gotten lukewarm responses from critics. Nissan has made a lot of new changes on its other 2021 models, like the Frontier’s all-new interior. Disappointingly, the Nissan Altima is pretty much unchanged, besides a new available package and some trim shuffling.

Still, the 2021 Nissan Altima got a good review on Autotrader. The review did acknowledge that the Altima definitely isn’t as flashy as some rivals like the Honda Accord. Despite its modest appearance, there are actually several reasons why consumers love the Nissan Altima.

It has user-friendly tech

For 2021, useful technology like smartphone integration is no longer available on the standard trim of the Nissan Altima. Fortunately, a Nissan Altima SV is only a $1,000 upcharge from the base trim. It also has an 8-inch touchscreen with intuitive layouts, though some critics report that it’s slow to recognize user inputs.

Several fancy upgrades are also standard on higher trims. The SV Premium package includes heated seats, a leather-clad steering wheel, and a moonroof. The Altima SL comes standard with leather seats, heating for the steering wheel and seats, plus a premium audio system. The top-of-the-line Platinum trim includes all these features, plus seat memory settings and interior accent lighting.

The Nissan Altima features plentiful driver aids

Despite the standard Nissan Altima’s lack of advanced convenience tech, it still has plenty of safety features. It has automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and cruise control, but you’ll have to pay extra to access the rest. The Driver Assist package comes with rear-cross traffic alert and blind-spot monitors.

The Nissan Altima SV comes with all of these features standard, plus upgraded LED headlights. The sporty SR trim also comes with LED turn signals on its outside mirrors. A start-stop system, active cruise control, and 360-degree camera system are also optional equipment on higher trims.

Expect a good powertrain

The standard Nissan Altima is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 188 hp, paired with a CVT. Autotrader praised it for its efficiency, estimating the Altima’s range to be around 500 miles on a full tank. The AWD models are a little more thirsty and have smaller gas tanks.

The available VC-Turbo engine, which makes 248 hp, is reserved for the SR and Platinum trims. While it’s substantially more powerful and speedy, it’s not available on AWD models. The VC-Turbo also doesn’t have its own special transmission. 

Enjoy a smooth drive

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No matter which trim level you buy, the 2021 Nissan Altima has excellent road manners. Inside Autotrader’s Altima SR, testers were never for a lack of speed or torque delivery. Autotrader also appreciated the compression display on the dashboard.

The SR trim also comes with an upgraded suspension to keep the ride stable on winding, rough roads. While the CVT works fine under light acceleration, it can be noisy once it’s pushed to its limits. Autotrader noted that this was only noticeable inside an Altima with the standard engine. The standard suspension is also good at smoothing out bumps in the road.

Why some shoppers might skip the 2021 Nissan Altima

Even though the CVT doesn’t seem to drastically affect the turbo’s engine’s performance, it’s still not the best transmission. Some shoppers may also feel cheated at the lack of AWD in the priciest trim. Additionally, the removal of several standard features for 2021 might be frustrating to some potential buyers.

The Nissan Altima also doesn’t have a hybrid edition like many of its rivals. Still, you could argue that the Altima is adequately efficient as it is. While you might be tempted to ignore the Nissan Altima in favor of its competition, it’s still a decent and affordable sedan.