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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 951 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
    9.2/10

Great car. Have never had any issues.

By on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This car is a great steal. Great on gas. Maintenance is very reasonable. Comfortable ride. Inside is very roomy. Comfortable seats. Overall a great car!"

6/10 expected more features

By on Monday, July 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "nice ride if you trying to save on gas"

Cons: "outside mirrors are to small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I like this car and wanted a new one until I found out that there are not many coupes available; nor do the come with power seats, no sun tops, 3-5 CD palyer,automatic lights. I often forget ot turn mine on. It's nice but it could have more options"

Great, reliable vehicle

By on Friday, June 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, reliable"

Cons: "Lights burn out on interior quite often"

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

"I've had the 2011 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR for over 3.5 years and have never had any issues mechanically. It still drives about as well as when I purchased it back in Nov 2010. Great car!"

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

I got with 11 miles now at 61K still running great

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great car"

Cons: "It dont like the heat."

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

"I got with 11 miles now at 61K still running great, Less Las Vegas HEAT. My car DONT like 103 degrees or more, which is my only complaint. Completed all maintainance on time and have never had any serious problems other than heat related!! I guess I need to expand on the heat statement a little: this happened about 3~4 times in the 7 years that I have owned this car, over 103 degrees it operates as if it were governed, it is just very sluggish, you would almost think it was bad gas or a dirty gas filter. The engine will loose RPM's and the transmission will just slow down, it even died on me one time (However it started right back up and off we went). I do have 1 door ding now but it is still in perfect shape."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

smooth, good on gas, new brakes, estras

By on Saturday, June 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "sun roof, spoiler, navy blue, built to last"

Cons: "very light scratches"

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

"great car, has it all, navigation system, low mileage, extras and looks good and runs fast and great"

Excellent commuter car!!!!!!!

By on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great little sports coupe!! Fast n cool..."

Cons: "TPMS had to replace many times...on all wheels"

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

"I own the Altima 3.5SE. It's Fast, comfy, and most of all very reliable car and gets good gas milage around 23or 24 combined MPG.Got a 140,000 miles on this one so far and climbing every day as my comute is over 100 miles per day! One of the best v6 engines on the market. this car is just starting to break in. These cars hold there value well also. I've owned alot of Nissans since the 1980S and the Altima is the biggest bang for the buck..."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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