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 Nissan Altima, Nissan has done just that. Not only has the automaker maintained the cool look and sports-car-like handling that made the original Nissan Altima such a success, they’ve done so while thoroughly modernizing the Nissan 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.
What’s New for 2014
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.
2014 Nissan 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 Nissan Altima and the results speak for themselves. The 2014 Nissan 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 2014 Nissan 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.
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 Nissan 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 Nissan Altima‘s nicely sculpted new body is less expressive than the Hyundai Sonata‘s and maybe a bit less pretty than the Chevrolet Malibu‘s or the Ford Fusion‘s, it’s easily more distinctive than the Toyota Camry‘s or Volkswagon Passat‘s.
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.
2.5-liter inline-4 (2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SL and 2.5 SV)
182 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/38 mpg
3.5-liter V6 (3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL)
270 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg
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