By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.1
The 2017 Nissan Altima follows the lead of such cars as the Hyundai Sonata, Chrysler 200 and Ford Fusion by remaking itself with more styling, a better interior and more cutting-edge features, all while keeping its price low and its reputation for quality high. Unlike many competitors, the 2017 Altima sedan offers buyers a choice between a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder and a more potent V6. No turbos or diesel engines here, just proven stalwarts that offer exceptional efficiency and longevity. While not as roomy inside as a Honda Accord or Kia Optima, the Altima is comfortable place for four adults, and its interior is both stylish and sophisticated. However, there is no hybrid model, and Nissan’s infotainment systems feel a bit behind the times.
Nissan’s 2017 Altima family sedan isn’t the most powerful car in its class, nor is it the most cutting-edge. You’ll find more sophisticated infotainment and driver-assist features in a Chevy Malibu and Hyundai Sonata, while the Ford Fusion and Subaru Legacy offer the option of all-wheel drive.
KBB Expert Ratings
After a complete makeover last year, the 2017 Nissan Altima returns with no new changes.
With the exception of the sporty SR trim, the 2017 Altima sedan is all about delivering a comfortable ride, quiet cabin and competent, but not sporty, handling abilities. Think Chevy...
... Malibu and Hyundai Sonata rather than Ford Fusion or Mazda6. The SR trim does improve the Altima’s handling, adding a stiffer suspension and 18-inch wheels, but no extra power. In 4-cylinder form, the Altima keeps pace with the base family cars from Honda, Subaru and Toyota, but it’s the 270-horsepower V6 in the 3.5 models that turns this demure family sedan into something a bit more sinister. Delivering excellent acceleration and passing power, the 3.5-liter works well with the CVT automatic, although we really wish Nissan would build in predictable shift points as Subaru has done with its CVT. We also miss the option of a manual transmission on this model.
PREDICTIVE FORWARD COLLISION WARNING (PFCW)
The 2017 Nissan Altima’s Predictive Forward Collision Warning system not only sees the car directly in front, but also the one after. The system can detect if the second car is braking, giving you more time to react to the car directly in front when it begins to slow.
EASY FILL TIRE ALERT
No more fiddling around with tire-pressure gauges in the cold or dark of night. Nissan’s Altima for 2017 will flash its lights and honk the horn when the tire you’re filling with air reaches the proper pressure.
The 2017 Altima has room for five with good legroom in back, although headroom is snug. Up front all Altimas feature Nissan's zero-gravity seats. Said to be inspired by NASA, the seats are indeed comfortable for a variety of body shapes, whether outfitted in the standard cloth or optional leather. A tidy, C-shaped center stack included on all but base models houses a helpful color information screen. The front cup holders can now accommodate cups with handles, and with 15.4 cubic feet of space the Altima's spacious trunk can be made larger by folding down the rear 60/40-split seatbacks.
Nissan’s new Altima bears a strong family resemblance to the rest of the company’s car line, with Nissan’s familiar V-shaped grille design and sleek headlight housing. Around back, the Altima’s rear sports an expressive bumper, and taillight housings that extend horizontally into the trunk door. SR variants are distinguished with a subtle integrated spoiler. All models feature a pair of chrome exhaust housings for an athletic vibe. Overall, we'll call the Altima's shape handsome and on the conservative end of the sedan spectrum. It may not pop as much as others, but the design should hold up well in the years ahead.
The Altima is available in seven trims, from the base 2.5 to the top-line 3.5 SL. Spring for the least expensive and you'll get an automatic transmission (optional on some rivals) and basic amenities like power doors, windows and air conditioning, along with push-button ignition, keyless entry and Bluetooth connectivity. The base audio system is a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input but no USB port. We suggest spending the extra $400 to step up to the Altima 2.5 S, which includes a rearview monitor, cruise control, hands-free text-messaging assistant, NissanConnect suite of mobile apps, automatic headlights and 5-inch color monitor.
Continuing to climb trims brings amenities like a power driver's seat, leather interior, aluminum-alloy wheels, power moonroof and LED headlights. Many extras are bundled into packages and vary by trim. Highlights include a navigation system with upgraded 7-inch touch screen, a cold-weather package with heated front seats and steering wheel, and technology packages with everything from blind-spot monitoring and dynamic cruise control to the Predictive Forward Collision Warning we praised in Favorite Features. Audio buffs can delight their ears with a 9-speaker Bose premium sound system.
Unlike many rivals that offer hybrid, diesel and various turbocharged gasoline powerplants, the Altima keeps it simple with two offerings: a 4-cylinder in 2.5 models and a V6 in the 3.5. Both use a CVT automatic transmission. Nissan’s 2.5-liter is made more efficient thanks to active grille shutters, revised engine compression ratio and less internal friction, all of which contribute to its nearly 40-mpg highway estimate. V6 models, meanwhile, still post a respectable 32 mpg, and both engines run just fine on regular unleaded.
179 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/39 mpg, 26/37 mpg (SR models)
270 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Nissan Altima has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $23,335 for the base model. But for $400 more, it's a no-brainer to step up to the 2.5 S, which boasts significant features like a rearview camera, cruise control and 5-inch color display. The sporty SR variant is still a good deal at $25,305. A V6 Altima starts just over $28,000. Fully loaded, a 3.5 SL Altima can reach the mid-$30,000 mark. These prices are in line with major rivals like the Camry, Accord and Ford Fusion, and are slightly above the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Nissan. As for the Altima's resale value, we expect it to be about average, trailing leaders like the Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.