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2011 Nissan Altima

Overview
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2011 Nissan Altima Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

Now entering its fifth generation of production, the Nissan Altima remains a strong – albeit aging – contender in the lucrative family sedan segment. 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 three trim levels, both four- and six-cylinder power and an advanced 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.

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. And those who prefer a manual transmission might be better suited shopping Mazda's MAZDA6 or Kia Optima.

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Altima gains a new Special Edition trim (Altima 2.5 S) adding an aerodynamic rear spoiler, front fog lights, auto on/off headlamps, 16-inch alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with audio controls.

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 SR V6 variant. While not quite as dynamically sophisticated as the Honda 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, and the standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) adds both driver-selectable stability and traction controls to deliver an extra measure of confidence.

Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
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 SR, adding leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, rear air vents, HomeLink universal garage-door opener and numerous lesser luxury touches.

2011 Nissan Altima Details
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 2.5 and 2.5 S models and 215/55 rubber on 17-inch cast-alloy wheels on the 3.5 SR.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the low-volume, Altima 2.5 base model includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, power locks, air conditioning and push button start/stop. The 2.5 S, which accounts for the majority of all Altima sales, adds an audio system with CD player, Intelligent Key keyless entry and offers the luxury-oriented SL Package as an option. In addition to V6 power, the 3.5 SR appeals to enthusiasts with a sport-tuned suspension and performance tires. On the safety front, all Altimas feature 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 3.5 SR offers a Premium Package that adds heated front seats, driver's side power lumbar support, rearview monitor and Bose audio with nine speakers. The Technology Package adds Nissan's next generation hard-drive navigation and audio unit complete with streaming Bluetooth, real-time traffic and weather updates and Zagat restaurant review guide.

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 develops a solid 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque while the 3.5-liter V6 raises those figures to 270 and 258, respectively. Nissan's Xtronic CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission), is the only transmission choice.

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

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27

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2011 Nissan Altima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 1022 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

Great car

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

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
9/10

Pros: "See below"

Cons: "See below"

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

"This car is the best I have seen at this price point. Quiet, good ride, excellent pick-up with the 6 cylinders, (though the 4 cylinder lacked pizazze) good handling, interior fit and finish is good. Rear seat room and overall headroom is good as is trunk space. On the down side it sits a bit low so is somewhat problematic for a person with back or other relatively minor mobility issues to get in and out of."

Looks like a sports car!

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Sports car look for a great price!"

Cons: "Rather bland interior/dash,cramped back seats"

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

"This car is a looker, especially in red! I smile whenever I look at this car after it has been washed and waxed. The designers of this car knew what would attract any car admirer! The CVT transmission is amazing! It is only a 4-cylinder, but has plenty of power, and still gets great gas mileage. I have been told that Nissan engines will run forever, as long as you keep them maintained. So glad I bought this car. Only wish I had found one with leather and navigation. Next one I buy, I'll get one with every option offered. What a car!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Mid size sedan with comfort, plenty of room

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This car has plenty of room, comfy for trips and good driving dynamics in general. Even with the 4 cylinder it has decent power but the 3.5 V6 model is fun."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Rusty junk, bad company and bad dealer

By on Sunday, May 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
2/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Transmission and fuel economy are stellar"

Cons: "Rust perforation after 2.5 years"

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

"2010 Altima SL is showing rust perforation and Nissan won't repair it under warranty so I'm frustrated. I like the transmission, the car is comfy, but it leans and sways when cornering. Sound system is good but rarely reads my iPod, so I can't listen to what I want. Power is good. Leather seats are hard. Trunk looks big but the hinges wipe out about 30% of the usable space. Can't wait to trade it in so some other sucker can deal with it. I'd never buy another Nissan. My Camry is still running after 18 years."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

A solid reliable car!

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

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

"My wife drives this altima. A SE 6 cly. This is our 2nd altima. The first one was a 2005 6 cly. Bought them both new. Now shes thinking another new one. A very reliable car."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

This vehicle is an amazing machine.

By on Thursday, April 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,090

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: "Plenty of power, leather seats, bose audio, AC"

Cons: "Slots for coins could hold a little more."

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

"I have been driving this car for a little over a year now, I have no complaints. I am paying above KBB for the car but that was to be expected, my credit wasn't the best. The thing that softens the blow is how amazingly comfortable this car is, as well as how reliable it has been. The features are many and the comforts are just as plentiful, I would recommend this vehicle to anyone looking to purchase."

1 person out of 1 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

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