- Midsize sedan with seating for five
- Up to 38 mpg highway
- Good safety ratings
With good fuel economy and safety ratings, the 2015 Nissan Altima makes a compelling case for both commuters and small families on the go.
There aren’t many changes to speak of for the 2015 version of the Altima. A few of the trim levels have been reshuffled to add standard features, and V-6 models grab a 1-mpg increase on the highway to 32 mpg. It competes in a crowded midsize segment that includes the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Hyundai Sonata.
From the outside, the Altima remains a fairly anonymous car with curvy aesthetic that flows 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 22/32 mpg.
Inside, the Altima has a comfortable cabin with “zero-gravity” seats that Nissan says 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.