The midsize sedan market is about the toughest segment in the industry – led by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord – so if you're coming to play, you'd best bring your A-game. With the 2014 Altima, Nissan has done just that, earning it our praise as one of the 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000 for 2014. Not only has the automaker maintained the cool look and sports-car-like handling that made the original Altima such a success, they've done so while thoroughly modernizing the Altima in ways crucial to younger buyers. A new Apps-based music and navigation system spearheads the effort, as do a 38-mpg fuel economy rating (2.5 model) and premium materials throughout the handsome cabin. Nissan has done a masterful job making complex audio and navigation systems easy to operate and understand – something both old and young will appreciate.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you like choice, the 2014 Nissan Altima delivers a broad range of models, features and engines including an available V6. Impressive fuel economy on the 4-cylinder model will likely win over most buyers, as will the very affordable Navigation and Technology packages.
You May Not Like This Car If...
While the Altima offers a lot of great features, it is outgunned by more lavish (and expensive) offerings from Kia, Hyundai and Chevrolet. Those seeking a hybrid or diesel option will need to shop elsewhere.
The big news for the 2014 Nissan Altima is the addition of the latest version of NissanConnect, an apps-driven infotainment system for iPhone and Android smartphones. The system allows connectivity to such apps as Facebook, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Online Search powered by Google. Hands-free text messaging is also included.
Driving the Altima
Nissan's 2014 Altima may be the best driving family sedan the company has ever produced, thanks in part to the advanced multi-link rear suspension and what is arguably the industry's...
... best continuously-variable automatic transmission. Nissan engineers benchmarked such premium sedans as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series when designing the Altima and the results speak for themselves. The Altima is nimble and light in around-town driving, yet sufficiently aggressive in tight turns as to satisfy the most demanding enthusiast. So long as the road surface remains smooth, so does the Altima's ride, but over rough patches the taut suspension can fell a bit harsh. The 3.5-liter V6 is strong, but the massaged 2.5-liter four is more than adequate – Nissan clocks it at 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds – at least for light loads and level roads. The unique multifunction rearview camera performed its lookout jobs well, and the NASA-inspired seats proved as fatigue-reducing as claimed.
EASY FILL TIRE ALERT The Nissan Altima's tire pressure monitoring system does more than simply providing individual tire-pressure information. When adding air to any tire, the hazard lamps flash to tell you the system is working, then the horn beeps to let you know when you have reached the correct pressure.
MULTIFUNCTION REARVIEW CAMERA Part of an available Technology Package, the Altima's rearview camera provides not just the usual what's-behind-me view when reversing, but also Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection, the latter two firsts in this segment.
2014 Nissan Altima Details
The 2014 Nissan Altima sedan's cabin is finely crafted with soft-touch materials, but its prime attraction is NASA-inspired "zero gravity" front bucket seats, which approach the relaxed "neutral posture" that the human body assumes in a weightless environment. We can't test them in space, but we appreciate the research, development and attention to detail that have gone into making them as fatigue-reducing as possible by lessening muscular and spinal loads and improving blood flow. Cloth seats and piano-black trim with chrome accents are standard, leather and metallic or faux wood are available, the former with a charcoal interior, the latter with blond.
The 2014 Altima rests on the same wheelbase as the 4th-generation car last produced in 2012, but with 1.4-inches-wider tracks and 0.8-inch-deeper fenders to accommodate larger wheels and tires giving the sedan a strong, athletic stance. Its drag coefficient is a slick 0.299. And while the new Altima's nicely sculpted new body is less expressive than the Sonata's and maybe a bit less pretty than the Malibu's or Fusion's, it's easily more distinctive than the Camry's or Passat's.
The base Altima 2.5 offers a 6-way manual driver's seat and a 4-way front passenger seat, plus a 60/40-split/folding rear bench seat, power windows and doorlocks, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with touch controls, remote keyless entry with a pushbutton ignition, NissanConnect Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, and a 4.0-inch color customizable Advanced Driver Assist display. Altima S and SV models add features leading up to the top-line 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL models loaded with leather, premium trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, BOSE Premium Audio, and heated front seats/steering wheel/outside mirrors, plus 18-inch wheels and tires on V6-powered models.
With most major features attached to specific models, the Nissan Altima for 2014 offers six option packages and a few stand-alone and dealer installed options. A new Sport Value Package is offered on the 2.5 SV and includes 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, remote start and a rear spoiler. The Convenience Package and a Navigation Package are available on SV models, and a Technology Package further loads up SV and top-line SL models. On SV and SL Altimas, NissanConnect comes with a 5.0-inch color audio display, integrated Hands-Free Messaging Assistant (it lets you listen to incoming texts and verbally respond with stock replies), SiriusXM satellite radio, and NissanConnect. With Navigation, NissanConnect gets a 7.0-inch touch screen with voice recognition, split-screen display and 3D-effect map views.
Under the Hood
Running counter-trend, Nissan continues to offer a V6 as its "up" engine. The 2.5-liter four is designed for lighter weight and higher efficiency, while the 3.5-liter V6 is improved to reduce its fuel consumption. Both drive the Altima's front wheels through the only gearbox offered, Nissan's next-generation Xtronic continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). Not everyone loves a CVT, which drives engine revs ahead of vehicle speed during strong acceleration, but this one accounts for both the 4-cylinder and the V6's impressive fuel economy, and it comes with fixed-ratio-simulating manual shift paddles on uplevel models.
The 2014 Nissan Altima starts just under $23,000 MSRP (including destination), a bit more than the comparable VW Passat and Hyundai Sonata, but on par with the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu. A loaded 3.5 SL V6 stickers for about $31,000. To make your best deal on a 2014 Nissan Altima, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price which shows what others in your area are paying for their cars. The Altima's resale value should also be mid-pack, a little less than perennial favorites Camry and Honda Accord, but better than the rest in this highly competitive class.
Pros: "Great gas mileage and exterior/interior styling"
Cons: "Wind noise and excelleration not as great as 2011"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Being a loyal Nissan customer for the past 30plus years I took it for granted there is no disappointment with this Brand. I traded my 2011 for the 2015 and expected more, well learned a valuable lesson and will research first in the future and not go by past experience. Car has a windy sound from window or door, not sure where. Also problem with defective front passenger seat casing came apart same day so far has been repaired twice. Hoping this is not my first lemon and plan to give a second chance. Still great gas mileage and smooth driving experience surpasses any other brands I've driven. Price is excellent for luxury items which are standard in the SL model."