We have just received a Nissan Altima S in our Top Speed test fleet. Although this looks like a basic four cylinder midsize five passenger people mover, that is because it is. Beneath our Altima’s gold painted body, connected to the stylish 16 inch wheels; is a continuously variable transmission. This Xtronic CVT replaces the traditional cog swapper and is supposed to hold the engine at a desired RPM, while varying the distance between two different sized sprockets, which makes the vehicle accelerate. This has the benefit of smoother acceleration, as well as a more efficient drive. Pretty neat stuff, eh?
Aside from the tranny, our Altima 2.5 S is pretty ordinary. There are black cloth seats, cloth door panels and the usual bright gauges and orange glowing radio from the Nissan parts bin. The only part of the interior that makes you forget that you are driving a four cylinder midsize sedan is are the a/c vents in the middle of the dash that trick you into thinking you’re behind the wheel of a 350Z. From the outside the Nissan Altima is what you would expect from the Japanese automaker. The sheet metal is simple, but the lines are bold and hint at unseen performance. The rims get the job done, but they are nowhere close to the 19 inch rims we saw on our Altima Coupe .
Continued after the jump.
If you need a car to get to work and back in the carpool lane, and your passengers don’t mind riding around without luxuries like leather, navigation or a big engine; the Altima 2.5 S is a good option. At just over $25,000 the QR25 powered Altima is an affordable new car and the fuel saving CVT is also a more affordable option than a hybrid Altima . Judging by Nissan’s track record, this car will put a smile on your face on a daily basis.