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2009 Nissan Altima

Overview
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2009 Nissan Altima Review

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After a successful redesign in 2007, the 2009 Nissan Altima carries on with only minor changes. Spun from Nissan/Renault's robust D-Platform architecture, this stylish front-drive four-door continues as the volume leader in the division's lineup, having been joined by a limited-production, gasoline-electric Hybrid variant as well as a sporty Coupe model (both reviewed separately). Even in conventional form, the Altima sedan covers a lot of competitive ground, offering four trim levels, both four- and six-cylinder power and the choice of a six-speed manual or Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). That wide selection helps it face off against the current best-seller, Toyota's popular Camry, as well as the Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord – both formidable foes in one of America's toughest market segments.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Altima's breadth of powertrain and packaging choices opens the door for lots of comparatively affordable variations on the theme that can meet and exceed the needs of all manner of mid-size sedan buyers – whether they're seeking basic transportation or want something with a more sporting character.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Anyone who regularly plans to carry adults in the rear seat will find the Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry all offer a bit more usable "stretch space" in the aft quarters than the slightly smaller Altima package.

What's New for 2009

The base 2.5 model receives more standard features including new 16-inch wheel covers, a CVT automatic transmission, power side mirrors, a trip computer and outside temperature gauge. The 3.5 SE trim receives Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), HID headlamps, fog lamps and a rear spoiler.

Driving the Altima

Driving Impressions An extremely rigid body structure serves as a great foundation for all Altima models. Even with their smaller wheel-and-tire packages, the four-cylinder variants have a semi-sporty feel, and things get...

more overtly engaging when you step up to an SE V6 variant. While not quite as dynamically sophisticated as the new Accord, the Altima's suspension soaks up minor road imperfections while delivering a comfortable and well-controlled ride over most surfaces. The four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are competent and consistent stoppers. Both the 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL also offer the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) group that adds both driver-selectable stability and traction controls to deliver an extra measure of confidence.

Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Standard on the base 2.5 and 3.5 SL and available on all others, the Xtronic is Nissan's third-generation CVT. This computer-controlled stepless shifter helps improve performance, economy and emissions. In "Sport" mode, it even creates six "virtual" gears that closely approximate the response of a conventional manual gearbox.

Optional 2.5 SL Package
This fashionable extras group gives buyers who want a more fuel-efficient four-cylinder Altima 2.5 S virtually all of the main upscale trappings of a 3.5 SL, adding leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, a moonroof, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, HomeLink universal garage-door opener and numerous lesser luxury touches.

2009 Nissan Altima Details
2009 Nissan Altima photo Interior

The Altima's airy cabin has a contemporary appearance supported by nicely textured plastic, lots of stow space and numerous soft-touch surfaces that contribute to its welcoming character. White-on-black main gauges are easy to read, the ancillary controls and center-stack switchgear is logically arrayed and the Altima's generous glass area provides the driver with good sightlines to the outside world. The front buckets, although comfortable, could use a bit more lateral support. Even though the Altima skews to the smaller side of the official EPA "mid-size" category, its 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat can still accommodate two average adults or three kids while enhancing the flexibility and utility of its 15.3 cubic feet of trunk capacity.

Exterior

Even a quick glance shows that the Altima is rich in Nissan family cues, most notably in its grille, headlamp and taillamp treatments. However, the lines and contours of its crisply rendered sheetmetal display a bit more aggressive edge than you'll find in the Sentra or Maxima. A well-defined shoulder ridge complements bold flaring on fenderwells that house 16-inch 215/60 tires on steel wheels on 2.5 and 2.5 S models and 215/55 rubber on 17-inch cast-alloy wheels on 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL versions. Only six-cylinder Altimas offer front fog lamps, which are standard issue on SL trims but optional on SEs.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the low-volume, special-order Altima 2.5 base model (available only with a CVT transmission) includes anti-lock brakes, power locks, air conditioning and "Intelligent Key" push button start/stop. The 2.5 S, which accounts for the majority of all Altima sales, adds an audio system with CD player and offers the luxury-oriented SL Package as an option. In addition to V6 power, the 3.5 SE appeals to enthusiasts with a sport-tuned suspension, six-speed manual transmission and performance tires, while the 3.5 SL has leather, a Bose audio system, automatic up/down passenger's front window and standard CVT automatic. All Altimas have front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

An impressive array of upgrade packages are offered for all but the base 2.5. Even the 2.5 S can be outfitted with leather upholstery, a dual-zone climate control system, power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, premium Bose audio system, XM Satellite Radio, rearview camera and lots more. The V6 3.5 SE and SL step it up further with dedicated packages like the Premium Package that brings all of the 3.5 SL's luxury features to a 3.5 SE. New standalone options include a power sunroof and VDC.

Under the Hood

Conventional Altima sedans offer the choice of an inline-4 or a V6. Both engines are made from lightweight aluminum, have four valves per cylinder and use continuously-variable valve timing to improve response and efficiency across their entire operating ranges. The 2.5-liter four (2.5 and 2.5 S) develops a solid 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque while the 3.5-liter V6 (3.5 SE and 3.5 SL) raises those figures to 270 and 258, respectively. Both can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox (2.5 S/3.5 SE) or Nissan's Xtronic CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission), which is optional on the 2.5S and 3.5 SE but standard on the base 2.5 and 3.5 SL.

2.5-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
170 horsepower @ 5600 rpm (California)
180 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
175 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm (California)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 (manual), 23/31 (automatic)


3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (manual), 19/26 (automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2009 Nissan Altima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 1014 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

very satified

By on Sunday, April 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Good price, comfortable and reliable"

Cons: "Balky CVT transmission"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"My Altima has never had a mechanical failure. I'm happy with the comfort, seating space and trunk space. I'm satisfied with the handling and gas mileage. At 77,000 miles and 7 years, I have replaced nothing but the tires. At low speeds, the CVT transmission is sensitive to gas pedal and takes some getting used to. I have heard that later Altima model years have not been as good."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Excellent Car For Normal Use

By on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Very good and dependable car for 7+ years.

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Power when you need it!

By on Thursday, March 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

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!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Smooth ride, bottoms, out, HORRIBLE in snow

By on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

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."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Some may like this car cozysporty goodacceleration

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

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??"

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?