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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

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2009 Nissan Altima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 994 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 bought new as my first dream car when 17

By on Friday, December 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfort, styling, beautiful, controls, engine,"

Cons: "CVT, backseat room, no VDC on 2.5s"

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

"I wrote a review a while back about my 2007 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL this is the best car I have ever owned. Halloween got the 100,000 mile schedule maintenance the dealer changed spark plugs and got back rear wheel bearing replaced noticed the car sounding like a motorcycle taking off thought exhaust/catalytic converter needed an replacement which have extended warranty got all repairs fixed cheaper which were minor things had done on my car nothing major. The CVT does have issues back in May when at drug store my service engine light came on took to dealer said I needed an transmission but Nissan paid the cost so got a free repair. Still a comfortable vehicle it rides and handles awesome look like brand new when first bought it has all the bells and whistles. 4 cylinder engine is powerful purrs every time taking off under acceleration gets 30 mpg city/highway this car goes all across southern states of LA and MS without no problems a very flawless car. I wouldn't sell or get rid of this car a dependable car only backseat is little small but otherwise it's a gorgeous luxurious car being sporty though it's the SL Luxury oriented model like these Altima's from 2007-2012 better than newer Altima. Altima is equipped with top of the line features has navigation, bluetooth, rearview camera, moon roof, push button ignition start, and more. Intelligent key comes handy no fumbling or reaching in my pocket loving the safety features this car have. I am planning driving this car 200,000-250,000 miles doing nothing but well maintain my Altima as take care proper maintenance it would last me a long time changing fluids and tire rotation. These are great cars think that the Altima's from 2007-2012 are the best ever built to last Nissan did an excellent in 1st Award of Excellence 2007 making a excellent quality car."

solid dependable and affordable

By on Friday, December 19, 2014

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

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
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "value for the price"

Cons: "needs more movment in the drivers lumbar support"

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

"this is about the 9th nissan our family has owned and its as reliable as the others and built very well. great value for the price point , did not get navigation, i have that in my phone. gas mileage runs about 33-34 highway if you stay around 73mph. in town is about 19 mpg. i will most likely purchase a new one when this one wears out."

I love this car!

By on Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great control, confident on the turns, Awesome CVT"

Cons: "blind spot, you have to adjust the mirror right"

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

"The design of the car centered on the driver. The control is awesome, turning as if on track. The CVT is so smooth that you do not notice the change of gears. The sound quality is great. I always enjoy the music from the premium sound. The key less feature is so convenient and will not allow key be locked inside."

Pretty cool even though.....

By on Monday, December 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "like it"

Cons: "so far none"

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

"Its a nice car even though I am barely 4'9". I am very short but yet this car is nice to drive, carry passengers and some cargo like a wheel chair or walker. The V6 makes it feel sporty but the issue with the car for me is that I had to give up my money to my brother so he can buy himself one even though this car was a gift to him. I was going to trade it in but I am reconsidering of just keeping it for at least 6 years. Its my first car, even though it was a hand down in mint condition (inside) from my brother to me. Now that I have it, I am taking care of it and now I have it so clean that my brother is regretting getting a new car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive comfortable"

Cons: "Needs transmission"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"The car runs great drives nice and is extremely comfortable but needs a new transmission. It's great on gas getting about 25 miles to the gallon"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

My 2010 Altima SL is an awesome sedan!

By on Monday, December 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very comfortable and reliable; fun to drive sedan"

Cons: "None"

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

"I have owned my 2010 Altima SL for 5 years and have had NO problems whatsoever. It is fun to drive (great pick-up) and very comfortable - even for my 6'3" 200 lb. husband. I recently had a 100k mile check-up, and the only things the mechanic did were to replace the spark plugs and a serpentine belt, and check everything out. He reported that it was in GREAT condition. I actually had to ask friends for a recommendation for a good mechanic because I have never needed one since owning this vehicle. I recently moved to a slightly rural area, and find that I need a vehicle capable of transporting various items that will not fit in the trunk (even though my Altima has a very good-sized one). I am now interested in purchasing a mid-size SUV."

4 people out of 9 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?