Thursday, May 09, 2013

Nissan Altima test drive.

I do like the design of the new Altima. I have to admit I was suspicious when I saw the 1st spy shots. But in real life, I really like the car. It has a nice upscale look to it. For a car that starts at about $22 000.
It really makes life very tough for the $37 000 Loaded maxima. As a loaded V6 Altima is about $5000 less.
The model I drove for a week was the 2.5 SV with Convenience package, for a total of $27 005.

 The interior is also a very nice place to be. My car did not have leather. But a very nice looking tan cloth interior. Which is actually refreshing, as I am not such a big fan of leather. The top of the dash and doors are black, which gives it a nice upscale look.

And, no fake wood! At least in my car...

A few nice details make the interior quite interesting too. This is such a better place to be than the Passat I was driving the week before.

The seats are comfortable, everything feels solid and the stereo sounds really nice.
The back seat is pretty much in between the Malibu and the Passat. There is plenty of room for most people, front and back.

I just wish the doors didn’t sound so tiny when you close them. This is really too bad. Especially since the new Sentra does much better in that area. It is a small thing but it just doesn’t give the sense of quality you’d expect…

 The steering is firmer than many other family sedans out there. Even though it still feels pretty artificial.

At least it is better than most on long freeway trips. As most new cars these days have such light steering feel.

 The suspension is fine. Nothing special. The car does feel a bit light in general. So it doesn’t have this “heavy” reassuring feel I like in European cars.
But it does a fine job. There is a bit of road noise at some freeway speed, but cruising is mostly quiet.

The engine has enough power for most uses. But nothing more.

It gets quite a bit noisy and rough when pushed. This is not, from far, the smoothest operator around. 

As I mentioned before, the worst part is the really bad vibration you hear and feel at around 1500 RPM. Which is apparently due to the calibration of the CVT.
 It just feels like there is something wrong with the car.

Mileage is a big selling point for Nissan with the new Altima. It is rated at 27/38.
I was never able to get close to 27 in the city. No matter how slow I was driving. The best I got was 23.
But on the freeway, I was able to get over 40 without any problem. 

The new Altima is a good choice for an affordable, roomy family car.
You could do much worse. It is not nearly as engaging as the Buick Regal (and the Malibu Turbo) to drive. But, at least to me, looks much better, inside and out, than the Camry or the Accord.

The CVT vibration being its main problem.  (Although some people here have mentioned that Nissan dealers can fix this)


los angeles body shop said...

The car is looks so good. It's design and color is very nice. It will be great in design.

Soul Brother No. 7 said...

Yeah, there's a problem with the car dented the right rear fender!

Anonymous said...

Person opinion
1. Ford Fusion
2. Honda Accord
3. Nissan Altima
4. Sonata
5. Mazda 6
Although I have a G37 and will be getting the Q50hybrid.

6-speed said...

Nissan dealers can fix things? That's news to me!

Anonymous said...

For me: fusion, mazda6, altima, accord, sonata, passat, Camry. Vince?

Anonymous said...

The Altima is sooooo vanilla. I won't even rent them if anything else is available. The Fusion is vastly better looking and more fun to drive. The Passat is more stately looking, and larger. Even the uber bland Accord is more substantial.

The Altima is better than the Camry, and I do prefer it over the Sonata. But that doesn't make it good.

Anonymous said...

There are 2 "vibration" issues with the car currently:
1) a vibration resulting from the serpentine belt flapping around because not enough tension is put on the belt (2.5L only). Nissan has a temporary fix for this. The permanent fix is coming soon they say.

2) the vibration caused by the CVT "lugging" because it is forcing down the RPMs too low while under load (ie going up a slight hill). No fix for this unless Nissan offers a software update for the CVT controller. This lugging bothers some people, but some others don't care about it.

Bottom line, I'd wait until 2014 model year to let Nissan work out the final bugs.

Anonymous said...

Love the scenery. Great pictures. Never been out west but yearn to go. Thanks Vince.

Anonymous said...

1. Honda Accord
2. Nissan Altima
3. Mazda 6
4. Ford Fuion
5. Sonata

I do not have a G37, since I am not a liar, and I am not about to get the Q50 hybrid.

Anonymous said...

The real sleeper in this range is the Chrysler 200. LED tail lights; projector headlights+LED bar; 31MPG & (almost) 300HP. But here's the real shocker: it's $5k LESS than any of the above with a better warranty!

Anonymous said...

nissan is making mistake the new 2013 sentra should be altima since it has both LED head & taillights & size rear legroom interior bigger than altima & trunk side too
park both the sentra & altima beside without the names & you not tell which is sentra/altima & I think nissan should just keep 3 sedan good enough versa & altima & maxima all ending a because the name sentra not standout compare by telling people what you drive cruze & focus & civic & elantra & forte & mazda 3 & lancer & Jetta & dart & will see what new 2014 corolla soon

Anonymous said...

The more I see of this--and they seem to be selling like hot cakes--the more I like it. Great job, NISSAN!