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2012 Nissan Altima

Overview
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2012 Nissan Altima Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

In the crowded mid-size family sedan segment, Nissan's 2012 Altima remains a viable alternative to the Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat. Although starting to show its age, the 2012 Altima Sedan still has much to offer. While it's not as sleek or modern as the Kia Optima or Hyundai Sonata, the Altima is still an attractive car with a very sporty side that makes it a favorite among enthusiast-oriented drivers who need four doors. With a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines, and even a hybrid model, the 2012 Altima Sedan covers a wide price bracket with features ranging from basic needs to cutting edge. Regrettably, Nissan has chosen to drop its manual transmission, even from the V6 cars, leaving a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) as the only choice. The CVT is excellent for maximizing fuel economy and power, and it even features a program to make it feel as though it is shifting gears like a traditional transmission. But, if you want to know the joy of shifting for yourself, you'll have to look to the Honda Accord, Kia Optima or Mazda Mazda6 for that thrill.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2012 Nissan Altima Sedan is a car with multiple personalities. In base form, it serves those seeking a low-cost source of secure transportation while still enjoying some nice standard features. Go big, and you can be driving a potent V6-powered sport sedan loaded with everything from a Bose audio system to voice-activated navigation.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If the "newest and the latest" are a big part of your car-buying criteria, the aging 2012 Nissan Altima probably won't excite you. The Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata offer fresher skin and cost less when comparably equipped. Others worth considering include the VW Passat, Dodge Charger and Toyota Camry.

What's New for 2012

Changes for 2012 are limited to a new Value Package that includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, auto on/off headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and HomeLink. Bluetooth is now standard on the 3.5 SR and available on the 2.5 S.

Driving the Altima

Driving Impressions The key to the 2012 Nissan Altima Sedan's longevity is a rigid body structure that helps boost the car's sporty driving characteristics. Even the base cars with their smaller wheel...

and tire packages and 4-cylinder engines are fun to drive. The action gets more intense when you move the V6-powered 3.5 SR, which offers 270 horses under the hood, bigger wheels, and a performance suspension. Again, there are newer and better suspensions out there, but the Altima still offers a pleasant combination of comfortable ride and good handling that should satisfy all but the most hard-core drivers. The Altima Sedan's 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) deliver competent and consistent stops, 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 and economy and lessen 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 4-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.

2012 Nissan Altima Details
2012 Nissan Altima photo Interior

The 2012 Nissan Altima Sedan's cabin is a handsome design that has stood the test of time well. Nissan adds a generous helping of quality plastics and soft-touch surfaces, as well as numerous storage spots for drinks, cell phones and valuables. Controls are logically placed and easy to view, backlit with white or red lighting. The instrument cluster houses the tachometer, speedometer, fuel and temp gauges, again with white font and bright red needles. As for comfort, we found the Altima Sedan's seats a bit soft, needing more in the way of lateral and lower back support. Rear-seat accommodations are fine for two adults, but those needing maximum head or legroom will probably want to look elsewhere, perhaps at the Dodge Charger or Honda Accord. The Altima's 60/40 rear split-bench seat can be folded down, accessing the 15.3-cubic-foot trunk.

Exterior
2012 Nissan Altima photo

Covered in traditional Nissan styling details, the 2012 Altima Sedan is trying to keep pace with a rapidly expanding field of newer, fresher competitors, but it's getting tougher every year. New wheel designs help the car look current, as do little touches such as the available rear spoiler and bright metallic paint. Upper-end trims include foglights, chrome trim around the deck lid and tailpipes, and integrated turn signals in the side mirrors.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the low-volume, 2012 Nissan 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 its V6 power the 3.5 SR appeals to driving enthusiasts with its 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 is 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 2012 Altima Sedans offer the choice of an in-line-4 cylinder engine 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 @ 5,600 rpm
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm (California)
180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
175 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm (California)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27

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2012 Nissan Altima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 1033 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

Nissan Altima's the best!! We've owned 3!

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

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

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

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

"We have bought 3 brand new Altima's over the years and now have a Nissan Pathfinder! You get reliability & great looks! These have been the most reliable cars ever!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

all around is the best

By on Saturday, July 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "all around fun car!"

Cons: "they stopped making the coupe!"

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

"Plenty of power,excellent handling and braking, very comfortable especially on a road trip cruising 55-60 gets about 41 mpg, although cruising 78-80 gets about 33.4 mpg and that's 2 people with luggage and the a/c on! What's not to like?! The Bose, the dual a/c, sunroof, power seat and siruis xm are highly recommended! An unsolicited option is the adjustable console armrest; another like!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Good car overall. Poor rear wheel bearings

By on Monday, July 13, 2015

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
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Seat was comfortable for wife's short legs"

Cons: "Locking system is not correct"

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

"Had to replace first rear wheel bearing at 135,000 and other rear wheel bearing at 150,000 6 months later. Did first one myself with bearing costing $150.00 and had second bearing done for $327.00 out the door cost. I have done all needed maintenance at the 100,000 miles mark. Car is well maintained. Worst thing is you cannot count on the car locking you out even with the key(s) close within the noted range. We were locked out with the keys in the car in my wife purse in the front seat and had to have a tow trucker operator unlock the vehicle. Nissan dealer said they needed to recreate or they would not do anything about. Don't know what recreation would have done in diagnosis except to create believably. It is all over the internet about 2009 and before locking problems and they acted like they never heard of it before me coming in dealer. Good things is that a 2010 Altmia owned by family apparently has corrected the non existent problem Some issue with the air bag light and the weight turning it off"

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

3 altimas and more to come

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,500

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

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

"I have had three altimas that was all I have ever own I had a 98 which was great for my first car, no problems and we made and for its age it looked great! than I had a 2008 and I owned that for under a year due to a flood / huge rain storm it look the car and it was a total loss and I got more for it than I paid! now I have a 2009 Altima sl and im in love these are the best car I have no problems with the snow being fwd! I have had the 2015 for a rental and I love it! I really m I Nissan lover for life I love all of there cars! they build great cars! Nissan is the way to go they hold up in value and mine still looks new people stop me and say is that a maxima lol"

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Bought NEW in 2007 and has been the best car ever!

By on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,500

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: "dependable, fuel efficient and looks nice too"

Cons: "none - 100% pleased"

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

"I purchased this 2007 Nissan Altima NEW (had a 2005 Altima - lease previous and loved it). The 2007 has been an excellent, dependable and fuel efficient car. New tires in almost 8 years - that's it! My husband owns a 2007 Nissan Murano (also purchased NEW same year) and it has been awesome as well. Nissan lovers for sure."

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

I Love my car and take it serious!

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,829

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great car to own I enjoy the ride on freeways"

Cons: "I see me coming and going"

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

"Over all review I want to keep my car no longer than 5 years. I have rode this car drove this car and heads turns when I ride up in this car, especially young men. I have pinstripes professionally done, added sun visor to the moon roof and spoiler profession done. Windows are limousine tinted with minor wear and tear. I have added a navigation system attachment."

4 people out of 5 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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