The Altima is a hot item for Nissan, giving it competition in the midsize rink with The Camry and Accord for best-selling bragging rights. The stakes are high in this sedan segment, with average sales figures topping 350,000 units a year. None of the three automakers can afford a mistake here.

Nissan upped the ante for 2013 with its fifth generation Altima, a sedan that took on a more sculpted look, a refined interior, and two engine options that cater to those wanting good fuel mileage or sportier performance.

I recently spent a week behind the wheel of the 2014 Altima. My tester came equipped with the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and the top-line SL trim package. It was loaded with nearly every feature available, including Navigation, blind spot and lane-departure warnings, Moving Object Detection, a moonroof, power everything, and a nine-speaker Bose sound system, among other things.

The Altima proved to be a competent daily driver with enough pep to maneuver through traffic while providing a comfortable ride and a no-nonsense demeanor. Its updated looks earned a few fans from my family members while its less-than-stellar steering earns a few gripes from my inner enthusiast.

For the full review and conclusion, click past the jump

  • 2014 Nissan Altima - Driven
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    CVT
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    182 @ 6000
  • MPG(Cty):
    27
  • MPG(Hwy):
    38
  • Torque @ RPM:
    180 @ 4000
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    131 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; FWD
  • Price:
    30625
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

TopSpeed Garage

Exterior

2014 Nissan Altima - Driven Exterior
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2014 Nissan Altima - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2014 Nissan Altima - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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It has an overall shapely appearance with accent lines and swoops helping it come across as more premium

The Altima is a decent looker. It has an overall shapely appearance with accent lines and swoops helping it come across as more premium. The front grille is covered in chrome while the headlights and lower turn signals shine just as bright. The Altima’s side profile is helped by the curving beltline that runs from the front fender rearward, kinking down under the side-view mirror.

Things out back are chromed up as well. The badges and applique above the license plate are all made of the shiny stuff while the clear lens sections of the taillights further brighten things up. Chrome door handles and window surrounds act as the final piece.

Interior

2014 Nissan Altima - Driven Interior
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2014 Nissan Altima - Driven Interior
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2014 Nissan Altima - Driven High Resolution Interior
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Ergonomics are good with every switch and knob easy to reach

My tester’s interior came covered in cream-colored leather and plastics accented by dark wood. Satin-chrome bits are also scattered in several places. The piano-black backing to the center console makes the infotainment screen and white-lettered buttons very easy to see. The HVAC controls get their own section and are incredibly intuitive and easy to use.

Ergonomics are good with every switch and knob easy to reach. The stalks on the steering column fall directly where they should and are easy to operate. The gauge cluster is easy to read at a glance and the chrome rings help dress it up. The proximity key and push-button start make the start-up process a simple task.

Rear seat room is quite generous with more than enough space to sit comfortably behind a larger front-seat occupant. Air vents keep back seat passengers cool and a folding center armrest makes extended drives a more pleasant experience.

Overall interior comfort is high. Wind and road noise is at a minimum, and the suspension keeps passengers isolated from most forms of uneven pavement. The Altima proved to be a great highway cruiser, especially with its great fuel economy.

Drivetrain

2014 Nissan Altima - Driven Drivetrain
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Nissan has obviously tuned the four-cylinder and its CVT for good gas mileage

Speaking of great fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2.5-liter Altima at 27 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined. That’s impressive considering the Altima doesn’t employ any sort of hybrid system.

Nissan has obviously tuned the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and its CVT for good gas mileage, but the pair still motivate the car with reasonable pep. The engine makes 182 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. While it may not sound like much, Nissan makes that 180 pound-feet feel like much more. The CVT works to keep the revs below 2,000 rpm during regular driving. The engine even gives off a deeper-than-expected rumble while pulling away from a stop.

Trying to enact sporty characteristics from the four banger results in some rubber banding from the CVT. NVH levels increase and torque steer becomes more noticeable. Neither are terrible, but the hooning the Altima is best left for the 3.5-liter, V-6 version.

Pricing

2014 Nissan Altima - Driven Emblems and Logo Exterior
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The Altima runs the gambit of pricing with is base model starting at $22,300. Opting for the top trim level, V-6-powered version increases the price to $31,950 before options.

My tester came nicely equipped with the top SL trim package with the base, 2.5-liter engine. According to the window sticker, the base MSRP is $27,760. Options included the moonroof package ($800), carpeted floor and trunk mats ($185), and the Technology Package ($1,090). That last option includes the seven-inch navigation screen, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and the Moving Object Detection system.

Tack on the $790 destination charge, and the grand total comes to $30,625.

Competition

Toyota Camry

2015 Toyota Camry Exterior
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Toyota is giving the Camry a much-needed refresh for 2015, making it more fun to drive, quieter inside, and more appealing to look at. While the outside changes, the greasy bits underneath are carrying over. That means the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the 3.5-liter V-6 make their returns. The hybrid version carries over as well.

The 2.5-liter I-4 makes 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque; less than the Altima on both counts. Toyota also offers the 3.5-liter V-6, which makes 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque.

Pricing for the Camry starts at $22,970 and rises to $29,980 for the top-trim hybrid version.

Honda Accord

2014 Honda Accord Touring - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Honda is known for making high-quality and reliable sedans for decades. That doesn’t change with the Accord, though it is the oldest of the trio. Like the other two, the Accord comes with two engine options: a 2.4-liter I-4 making 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.5-liter V-6 making 278 horses and 252 pound-feet. A six-speed manual and a CVT are offered.

Pricing for the Accord starts at $21,995 and tops out at $33,480 before options.

Conclusion

2014 Nissan Altima - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Overall the Altima made a positive impression. Its ability to cruise softly down the highway, its surprising fuel economy, and number of features make it a solid choice for those looking for something less edgy and more practical. Like its competitors, the Altima makes good on the promise of reliable point-A to point-B transportation. With an as-tested price just north of $30,000, the Altima represents a great buy. Just don’t sign at the dotted line expected to get a four-door sports car. Nissan has plenty of other products that fit that bill.

  • Leave it
    • * Lifeless steering
    • * CVT prevents high revving
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