By KBB.com Editors
When Nissan redesigned its midsize sedan for 2002, it turned out as big as the "flagship" Maxima. Because that Altima has sold strongly, Nissan kept the 2007 redesign evolutionary, concentrating on improvements. Lower engine mounting, for instance, aims to cut "torque steer" to near-zero. Either a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) may be installed with the four-cylinder or V6 engine. This CVT, Altima's first, provides a kickdown comparable to regular automatics. Shift modes provide normal, economy and sport operation, with no strange "rubber band" sensation. A gasoline/electric hybrid sedan will arrive soon, followed by an Altima Coupe.
If you like CVTs as well as a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power, the Altima is an appealing, sportier contender when compared to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Anyone who values firm control on winding and challenging roads, without a loss of ride comfort, should appreciate the merits of the Altima's taut suspensionespecially the sport-tuned setup of the 3.5 SE.
Naturally, if you simply cannot get used to the gearless operation of a CVT, the Altima isn't likely to appeal to you unless it has a manual transmissionthough the kickdown feature makes the CVT feel more like a conventional automatic. Reducing the availability of anti-lock braking (Nissan offers it as standard only on V6 models, and not available at all for the base 2.5 sedan), is an unfortunate choice that several automakers are making lately as a cost-cutting measure.
Slightly smaller in this fourth generation, Nissan's midsize sedan can have an Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) for the first time. Striving for the best-performing front-wheel-drive sedan in the world, Nissan claims to have addressed perceived weaknesses of the 2002 through 2006 models, including interior quality, noise levels and steering effort.
Driving Impressions Seriously substantial, each Altima model demonstrates superior handling capabilities coupled with a satisfying ride. In 3.5 SE form with manual shift, it's especially enjoyable on twisting roads. A beautifully-behaved clutch...adds to the pleasure, though the shifter is a bit vague. Although the taut suspension yields greater body motion on imperfect surfaces, ride comfort doesn't suffer. The four-cylinder sedan also blends ride comfort with adept handling. You hardly notice lesser bumps, and Altimas make quick work of deeper ones. Even the four-cylinder delivers exuberant energy with only moderate engine noise. As expected, Nissan's CVT performs with satisfying smoothness.
Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Nissan has taken the lead with CVTs, which have been produced since 1992, though not installed in U.S. vehicles until more recently. For the Altima, the CVT benefits from a passing kickdown feature as well as a choice of three modes, and the CVT-equipped sedan accelerates without excessive engine noise.
Sport-Tuned Suspension (3.5 SE)
With its tauter suspension and undeniably sporty control, plus excellent steering characteristics, the V6-powered Altima 3.5 SE performs masterfully on twisty two-lane roads, offering fine road feel and connection to the pavement.
Seat cushions in the "high-hospitality" interior have been lengthened and offer good thigh support. Seatbacks are taller, but back support isn't quite up to par. Especially with leather upholstery, you may sometimes feel as if you're about to slide downward. Front occupants can stretch out comfortably. Abundant glass translates to super visibility and a low cowl permits expansive views ahead. Gauges are basic, but easy to read. Doubled in volume, the glovebox is now deemed "jumbo-size," because no part of the air conditioner is behind it. A new dual-pivot brake pedal promises normal "feel" at both low and high speeds.Exterior
Built on an all-new "D" platform, the Altima rides a wheelbase that has shrunk by nearly an inch. Overall length is 2.5 inches shorter than the 2002 through 2006 models, and windshield pillars have moved forward. In its 2007 form the sedan's "stance is still aggressive," according to Nissan, but in a slightly smaller size. In consideration of the car's many new features a shorter wheelbase was needed to keep weight down, but Nissan claims the Altima offers "the same room inside." Wheel arches are considerably more pronounced. Taillamps were reworked, but have kept the basic look of the prior generation. Body rigidity has improved, too.
Even in the base 2.5 trim level with a four-cylinder engine and stick shift, the Altima includes power locks, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, "Intelligent Key" with a pushbutton start feature, a split-folding rear seat and 16-inch tires. Three additional trim levels are offered: Four-cylinder 2.5 S (with SL package available), plus the 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL. The 2.5 S adds air conditioning and a CD player. Sport-minded drivers can choose the 3.5 SE, which includes a sport-tuned suspension, V6 engine, power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels. Curtain-type and seat-mounted airbags are standard. Anti-lock braking (ABS) is standard with V6 models, but optional for four-cylinder models (except the base sedan). Traction control is standard with the V6, and upper models may be fitted with optional Vehicle Dynamic Control.
A navigation system with Real-Time Traffic information is available. Additional options include a RearView monitor, Bose-developed nine-speaker audio, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio and heated front seats. High-intensity discharge headlamps are offered on V6 Altimas.
Nissan's fourth-generation 3.5-liter V6 generates 270 horsepower (up 20) and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder develops 175 horsepower. Both engines can work with either a six-speed manual gearbox or Nissan's continuously variable transmission (CVT), which incorporates 700 algorithms and a kickdown feature and offers a choice of three driving modes. A gasoline/electric Altima Hybrid sedan goes on sale early in 2007.
2.5-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
180 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 (manual), 26/34 (automatic)
270 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 22/28 (automatic)
By Humble on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to drive, excellent ride."
Cons: "Speedometer calibrated in 20MPH steps"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Had the Altima for three years and never a problem. Dealer easy to deal with for required maintenance."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Phil on Monday, March 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value and comfort for the money"
Cons: "Required additional set of snow-worthy tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car has been excellent for both in town and road driving over 7+ years. Physically and in performance it has met or exceeded all expectations. Best car I have ever had as to value and performance to costs."
By Meg on Thursday, March 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Better than ice cream.....go buy one now!"
Cons: "Poor visibility when looking rear"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I LOVE my Nissan coupe! I have all the power I need to use when necessary, like moving beyond a vehicle who suddenly swerves into your lane, or driving safely up and down steep mountains, or ending a game of "pass me at 75 & then drive 60" - now I can, within seconds! Okay...basically I think this car is nice looking too...I have leather, heated power seats...Bose sound, moon/sun roof, Bluetooth, auto headlights etc., none of which I have had before....this is all a lovely, fun, and since used, affordable dream to me, which I absolutely deserve. And yes, I do drive carefully....... I think everyone should own a car like this at least once in a lifetime....most definitely !! Unless you are a cat with 9 lives...then take your time doing what is on your bucket list . Me? Next will be a new coupe!"
By amcinak on Tuesday, March 17, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I bought this car in the summer when there was no snow. I purchased it because of the ratings on gas mileage and because it is roomy inside but still looks somewhat sporty. I have driven in snowy/icy road conditions for thirty years and this is by far the worst handling car I have ever owned for these type of conditions. This is with new all weather tires. The ride is smooth on pavement but if you go over any type of speed bump, enter/exit a parking lot with any type of hump/bump you will bottom out. And that is going as slow as possible and still actually moving. It's also got some type of felt like/fabric covering on the wheel wells, which I don't understand. Snow and ice builds up on it and rubs the tires consistently. I do like the fact that it is roomy and comfortable to drive and I get about 28 mpg highway in cold temps."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By RockitMan on Saturday, February 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to drive sporty quick subwoofer cool car"
Cons: "small not cheap bad in snow not good mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"80% of the reason I bought the car was the salesperson claimed 32mpg average. Turns out one person got 32mpg with straight highway driving. I'm getting 24-25 with 90% highway driving and cold weather. NO long warmups. Not easy to enter/exit for a fit 60 year old, but I knew that. I just thought I could handle it. Sporty handling means jarring bumps. Low ride height means you can't see well down the road. Headlights are not the best even with upgraded bulbs (not HID). No fog lights on mid-range model?? Corners well. Brakes don't stop well for such a light car, until you're nearly stopped, then they really grab. Not easy to see out of. Four headrests and 3rd brake light occupy much of the rear view mirror. Not worth squat in snow. Tires spin and brakes anti-lock. Tires are Michelin MX4, Consumer Report's top-rated tire. Trunk is large and so is the gas tank. Most panels are held together with plastic buttons. Superficially, this is a neat car. Am I just getting old? What in the world was I thinking when I bought this car??"
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Alan on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great economy,roomy,and easy to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have seen these vehicles all over,and decided to trade my 02 Impala in...Best thing I ever did Loved the Impala,but love the Altima just as much..I plan to trade every 10 years or so,and im sure it will continue to be a nice ride..."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful