- Redesigned last year, drops coupe models
- Up to 38 mpg on the highway
- Five-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA
With an emphasis on fuel efficiency and comfort, the 2014 Nissan Altima is a solid choice for both families and commuters.
Competing against (and in some cases besting) the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Hyundai Sonata, the Altima got a full redesign last year that improved fuel economy and made the cabin much more hospitable. For 2014, there aren’t many changes to be found. The coupe model has been discontinued, and some options and packages have been reshuffled.
From the outside, the Altima remains a fairly anonymous car even after the redesign. It opts for a curvy aesthetic from its swooping grille to the curved character line that runs backwards from the front fender, just below the side windows. 16-inch steel wheels are standard, with 16-, 17-, and 18-inch alloy wheels also available. The Altima does come with Nissan’s convenient Easy Fill tire system; when filling the tires with air, the Altima will beep the horn once to let you know when they have reached the correct pressure. Exterior options include automatic headlights and a power moonroof.
Under the hood there are two engine options; the base engine is a 182-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, while those looking for more power can opt for a larger, 270-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. Both engines are mated to a CVT and front-wheel drive. Four-cylinder models return the best fuel economy at 27/38 mpg city/highway, while V-6 models get 22/31 mpg.
Inside, the Altima got new seats in the redesign. Nissan calls them “zero-gravity” seats that are inspired by NASA technology; we’re not sure that we buy all that, but they are comfortable if slightly softer than most of the other seating options in the segment. Bluetooth connectivity (including audio streaming) is standard, along with a 60/40-split folding rear seat, air conditioning, and keyless entry. Also available are plenty of tech options, including satellite radio, USB/iPod port, a navigation system with a seven-inch screen, and NissanConnect. NissanConnect integrates features like internet radio, phone functions, live traffic and weather updates, and other apps into one interface that can controlled with voice commands.
The Altima won a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and got a full five-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA, which is their highest rating. Standard safety features include all-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, and six airbags. Also available are several safety technologies including a blind spot warning system, lane departure warnings, and rear sensors that can detect moving objects while reversing.