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2011 Nissan Altima

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2011 Nissan Altima Review

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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 1053 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

2.5 SL Sedan - Disappointing Reliability

By on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfort, gas mileage, style"

Cons: "The Key FOB sets off alarm by accident. Quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I have owned my Altima since new. Like the driving dynamics, Roomy Interior, and Gas Mileage. Unfortunately, I have had 2 major things go wrong. 1) the A/C compressor went after about 70,000 miles. 2) the CVT transmission went and stranded my daughter at 98,000 miles. Fortunately, Nissan recently doubled the CVT warranty due to so many problems but it still quit way too soon. I guess it was too much to ask for 100K miles of trouble free driving like I've seen with many other vehicles."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Best &most reliable vehicle ever!

By on Sunday, June 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

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: "outsatnding vehicle in every aspect!!"

Cons: "newer models size reduced"

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

"Outstanding car! the inside has soooo much room and trunk as well! But nissan made the models(altima 3.5 sr) after 2010 smaller to compete with the mileage and the roominess was drastically reduced!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Love

By on Tuesday, June 7, 2016

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

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

"I own this car and love it. 2007 white with only 65,000 miles. I'm keeping her until she dies her last breath. With regular check ups you couldn't ask for a better car. If you find one with low miles buy it! You won't be sorry."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Effortless Ownership

By on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "value, responsive, comfort, interior, spacious"

Cons: "none"

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

"I purchased this car for my son. Wanted the most reliable and safest car out there. Also wanted something with enough zip that he could easily avoid trouble, but not so much zip that he'd be spinning the wheels. I ended up driving the car myself for a year before he got his license. I hated to give it up and since then the car has not disappointed. Just make sure you change the oil and rotate the tires. That is about all the maintenance that is required. This car has not disappointed and I imagine it will last another 70K miles minimum. Can't recommend it enough."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Hybrid technology works!

By on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,535

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: "Easy driver, great economy 29-32 MPG"

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

"This car has required new tires, brakes all around, new engine battery, Serpentine belt, fluids changed, new wipers and dealer safety check. Total out of pocket over 9 years is about $433.00/yr. Not bad for a family and commute car. I would do it again."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Silver Bullet

By on Thursday, April 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, great gas mileage, leather"

Cons: "I can't think of any...."

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

"I bought this car 4 years ago to save on gas as I commuted 140 miles a day. My commute was a "set it and forget it" commute - I set my cruise control at 74 mph and didn't have to touch the brakes until I arrived at my exit....so, all the miles are highway, easy miles. I have consistently had the car serviced and don't drive it near enough now....I work from home and have not commuted for the last 10 months. I am looking to purchase a SUV and either trade my car or sell it. My silver bullet has been fun to drive - it has many bells/whistles for comfort and entertainment."

9 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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