• Sub-$30K starting price; value and equipment levels; interior space and storage options; relaxed four-cylinder when cruising; sweet, refined V6; ride comfort on 16s
  • No Bluetooth audio streaming in ST; bouncy ride; four-cylinder coarse at high revs; steering slightly vague in non-V6 models

OUR RATING
7 / 10



Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review

The Nissan Altima is not a replacement for the Maxima, despite the former arriving as the latter departs.

That’s the word from Nissan Australia, which reasons that the Altima is a medium car while the Maxima is a large car, despite the former measuring 4885mm, some 35mm longer than the latter.

Nissan speaks openly about its determination to avoid the Altima being dumped into the declining large-car segment, so strong now is the negative perception of what was for decades Australia’s most popular class.

Regardless, the Thai-built Nissan Altima is still a family car of the traditional kind, offering loads of rear legroom and interior storage space, an effortlessly comfortable highway ride, and a sweet six-cylinder-petrol engine.

The majority of sales – Nissan predicts at least 60 per cent – will be to fleets, however, and most of those are expected to opt for the $29,990 Nissan Altima ST, which costs $500 less than the base model Toyota Camry Altise.

The entry-level Nissan Altima is reasonably equipped, coming standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, auto headlights and keyless entry with push-button start.

Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review

With metallic paint the only option for the ST, a jump to the $35,890 ST-L is required to get the likes of Bluetooth audio streaming, satellite navigation, rear-view camera, parking sensors, leather-accented electric seats, and the NissanConnect web-linked app-based smartphone integration system.

The $40,190 Ti introduces a number of advanced safety systems, including blind spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection – features only matched by the top-spec $46,810 Mazda 6 Atenza. (Full Nissan Altima pricing and specification details here.)

With the exception of the flagship $45,390 Altima Ti-S, all grades are equipped with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 127kW of power at 6000rpm and 230Nm of torque at 4000rpm – aligning the Altima closely with the 133kW/231Nm 2.5-litre Camry Altise and the 129kW/225Nm 2.4-litre Honda Accord, though slightly off the pace of the class-leading 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre Mazda 6.

The 1435kg Nissan Altima is the lightest of the bunch – thanks in part to its segment-exclusive lightweight aluminium bonnet, roof and boot lid panels – undercutting the Mazda 6 by 27kg, the Camry by 30kg and the Accord by 75kg.

With claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 7.5 litres per 100km, Altima narrowly beats all but the Mazda (6.6L/100km), and the petrol-electric Camry Hybrid (5.2L/100km).

Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review

With the exception of the Camry Hybrid, the Altima is the only one to send its power to the front wheels via an automatic continuously variable transmission (the rest all feature conventional torque converter autos).

Like many CVTs, the powertrain combination responds best to moderate throttle inputs but less favourably to more aggressive throttle use. The former, more measured approach contains engine revs and provides steady progression, while the latter – typical of overtaking manoeuvres and more enthusiastic driving – sends revs flaring beyond 4000rpm where the engine sounds a tad coarse and feels a little breathless.

The upside is how well the CVT settles when holding a constant speed. The engine spins below 1500rpm at 100km/h, minimising powertrain noise, which aids cabin refinement.

Oddly, the transmission features two ‘sport’ modes. Shifting the gearlever one position below ‘D’ engages ‘D Sport’, which sharpens the throttle response and introduces pre-set ‘steps’ to provide a sensation akin to an auto changing gear. The second ‘Sport’ mode – which essentially raises the engine speed around 1500rpm for more responsive performance, useful for driving up hills – is engaged by pressing a button on the inside of the gearknob.

The Sport button is traded for steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters in the Altima Ti-S, which gains the larger and more powerful 3.5-litre V6 that addresses the four-cylinder unit’s shortcomings.

Producing 183kW at 6400rpm and 312Nm at 4400rpm, the V6 feels more relaxed, delivering stronger performance across the rev range and more refinement at higher engine revs.

Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review

Two laps around the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit as part of the Altima’s local launch proved that the V6 still sounds sweet at 160km/h with the engine nudging 7000rpm.

The V6-powered Ti-S also has the best steering of the Altima range. It’s 69kg heavier than the identically equipped four-cylinder Ti – the majority of that additional weight over the front wheels. The result is slightly heavier steering – a positive, as it removes the on-centre vagueness of the four-cylinders.

The opposite is true of the Altima’s ride, however, which provides the most cushioning over coarse surfaces on the entry-level ST’s chubby 215/60-aspect tyres that wrap around 16-inch alloys. It becomes progressively less compliant on the ST-L’s 17s (215/55 profile) and the 18s(235/45 profile) of the Ti/Ti-S.

Tyres can only do so much, however. The Altima can be slow to settle after hitting bigger bumps and it lopes over undulations, the body bouncing slightly, highlighting a slight lack of body control.

The suspension set-up is perfect for highways, however, where the Altima rolls smoothly and offers excellent cruising comfort.

The Altima’s seats – developed using research into ergonomics conducted by NASA – also provide plenty of cushioning though they offer little lateral bolstering.

Rear legroom is on par with the vehicles in the next size class (whose names must not be mentioned…) though headroom becomes tight for those around 180cm tall.

Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review
Nissan Altima Review

The dashboard layout is clean and user friendly. Soft-touch plastics cover the dash and doorsills, while the silver, piano black and carbonfibre-look trim blend well together and look high quality.

The central screen (five-inch in the ST, seven-inch in all other grades) gives access to the car’s infotainment system together with a smaller display in the instrument cluster, which in Ti and Ti-S grades provides information about their advanced safety systems.

The Altima is equipped with six airbags and electronic stability control, among other active and passive safety systems, though is yet to be crash-tested by ANCAP to receive an official star rating.

The deep glovebox is the highlight of a cabin that offers excellent storage options throughout.

The Altima’s 488-litre boot is 18L smaller than the Maxima’s and 27L down on the Camry, though 50L larger than that of the Mazda 6. A 60:40 split fold rear seat allows owners to expand the cargo area.

The Altima is covered by Nissan’s six-year/120,000km capped-price servicing program. The first six services (completed at six-month/10,000km intervals) cost a total of $1759.40 for both engine variants. Like all Nissans, the Altima also comes with a three-year/100,000km warranty.

The entry-level ST is the best cruiser, the V6 the sweetest engine, and while the Nissan Altima doesn’t take any revolutionary leaps forward, it’s a solid mid-sizer that gets the basics right at a good price.


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NISSAN ALTIMA BREAKDOWN

Nissan Altima Review
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  • zahmad

    A good looker, should do well for Nissan if it can hold it together and be a true Camry rival…

    • sam

      A good looker? Are you being sarcastic?

      • Zaccy16

        has to be sarcastic, it looks fugly, proportions all wrong and too much chrome, mazda 6 looks much much better

    • marc

      Saw one. Shocking. Less power, torque than the old Maxima. One for bowls club members.

      • matt

        for how big it is, it is a good effort in weight though, its only 20kgs heavier then a base holden cruze auto.

      • fred

        exactly you saw one, you didnt sit in one and drive one. so on paper things are different to driving it.

        Ive driven one in the US. they are far superior to the maxima and the maxima was always said to be one of the nicest to drive – just not to look at. This is a vast improvement

      • guest

        Id hardly use the term shocking. Power and torque is adequate for the class. Buyers would be looking for a quiet refined ride, smooth power delivery, and low fuel consumption. How can a car like this stir up so much emotion? Maybe its better than I am giving it credit for.

      • Zaccy16

        yep only an sub par alternative to the equally cr*p malibu and camry

    • Stevie Wonder

      I agree.

    • dave

      are you serious – that thing is pig ugly

  • from ere

    I’d totally buy one but there just isn’t enough badges on the boot.

  • BrianDH

    A real shame, this one, for Nissan. It look ‘OK’ until you compare it to the best of the competition, the Mazda 6. Then it pales into insignificance visually and spec-wise. Nissan has such resources you would think they would, well, THINK before releasing this into the same market a the Mazda 6 – if only on looks!

    • Too High!

      I think you are right, but only in part.

      The Mazda 6 starts at approx 37k. You can’t compare the two. Most people wont buy the high spec Altima and as such wouldn’t even consider the low spec Mazda 6.

      Even against the high spec Altima, the Mazda 6 base spec wouldn’t even be a look in. The base spec 6 really doesn’t look that good and cloth interior…

      Reality is, at the 37-40k mark, the SL Camry and high grade Altima out spec the base spec Mazda 6. Next spec up Mazda 6 is over 40k.

      I do agree that the Mazda 6 is a better car, but in that up to 40k price range, there are so many good cars and well spec cars, that the base spec Mazda 6 is somewhat over priced.

    • fred

      Not everyone likes the 6 nor is a Mazda lemming. The highest spec Altima without the v6 has better spec than the high spec Mazda and is $8K cheaper. and you can get the v6 which craps all over the Mazda 4 cyl for less.. i know what i would buy

      • Zaccy16

        not the diesel 6, the diesel 6 has 100 more torques than this petrol V6! also it looks and drives 1000 times better

        • Petrus

          “100 more torques” you should go to England and start up a BBC motoring show!

  • Guest

    Even years old Hyundai i40 looks miles better than this(though I know it only offers 2.0L 4 cyls)

  • Bahman

    I drove a near new ST rental car in the US recently for over 3600km and found it to be extremely comfortable and adequately powered for its intended market. The suspension was indeed quite soft/bouncy, but very comfortable for highway cruising, and good around town. Steering was lifeless.

    When I picked up the car the fuel consumption average over the past 7K was showing 24mpg. When I handed it back the fuel consumption average had dropped to 38mpg!

    Can’t understate the comfort of the drivers seat. Truly exceptional and worth considering for anyone who regularly does long distances.

    All round I found this car far more endearing than I had expected to. A bargain at 30K.

  • Anthony Mindel

    Way too bloated looking,Id rather have a Camry or Accord Euro.

  • qwerty

    “aluminium bonnet, roof and boot lid panels”… bigger dents from hail stones?

    • jetk

      No……the opposite.

  • zxcv

    ‘Under Carlos Ghosn, Nissan has been aggressively forming overseas joint ventures, locating new plants and R&D outside of Japan, to a degree that threatens to dilute and weaken the Japanese stylistic, quality, and “feel” characteristic that make Japanese cars competitive.’

    Forbes columnist Stephen Harner, questioning whether Nissan is losing its soul under Carlos Ghosn.

  • Sumpguard

    Styling is awful just like the new pathfinder and patrol. Nisan can do better than this, Next year’s x-trail is proof they can get it right.

  • F1orce

    The exact same car in USA makes 201kW ?

    • Zaccy16

      yeah, and its amazing how they can only achieve 318 torques from a 3.5 litre V6!

      • ERROLRODMAN

        what is this torques? Do you mean NM?

  • motoring

    Its good enough for me. Not as commanding in looks as the Mazda 6 but I d sure choose this one over the boring Camry! If the build quality and equipment is up to standard and pricing starts below the 6, I can’t see why it shouldn’t find its way to many homes soon.

  • Grant

    They have got Nissan power figures wrong again – go check out the other accurate reviews – 136kw/244Nm and 201kw/350Nm are the correct figures. Come on!

  • MisterZed

    In the first photo, the rear parking sensors stick out like a sore thumb. Very ugly. Why don’t Nissan use flush-fitting sensors?

  • Adam

    Looks a little like a Camry. Names sounds close to Camry Altise, which is a clever marketing ploy. What’s disappointing is the extra cost of having the model with Sat-nav, reverse camera, auto lights & wipers, when most of these features are slowly becoming stock standard in today’s motor car. Given Nissan’s undoubted reputation as a extremely competent car maker, I am a little surprised.

  • Ash

    Seats designed by NASA? – they should take the opportunity to shoot the whole thing into space – what a bland box… another Nissan dud.. stick to the work utes

  • Godzeller

    NISSAN V6 Engine is best Engine in the world. However, NISSAN couldn’t built good quality car. I like NISSAN Engine but I don’t like the car which NISSAN built.

  • lorena

    That is one boring car. If I’m going for a six cylinder car then I’ll go for a Commodre and keep an Australian in a job for another few days.

    • guest

      Yeah because the Nissan dealership employees are all from overseas right?

      • guest

        Australian dock workers unload the cars, Australian truck drivers deliver them to the Australian owned dealership where Australians detail, sell and service the cars and pay Income tax and GST to the Australian government. It is most likely insured by an Australian company and employs Australians for maintenance such as painting, pluming, electrical work. Now here is one for you… what is more beneficial to our economy?? The Australian who assembles Holden’s out of imported parts and holiday’s in Bali, buy’s online imported products and maybe put his cash into some foreign investments or The guy who works at Nissan supports Locally made products, holidays in Australia and maybe volunteers his time to CFA or charity?

  • ERROLRODMAN

    Can I fit more than one body in the boot?

  • NotaDumbSkippy

    Typically ugly (and made of tin and cheap, hard plastics) Asian car – and, like all Asian cars, totally and utterly overrated!

  • Onlynissan

    The V6 engine is smooth and quiet, you will be surprised when you drive the car as the acoustic treatment is far surpass any Japanese brand. Try it and drive for a thousand km and you will not have mental fatigue like driving any other car!

Nissan Altima Specs

ST : 2.5L MULTI POINT F/INJ - CONTINUOUS VARIABLE - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
NISSAN
Model
ALTIMA
Variant
ST
Series
L33
Year
2013
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
230Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
127kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
88.5W/kg
Bore & Stroke
89x100mm
Compression Ratio
9.6
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
CONTINUOUS VARIABLE
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.828
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
65
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1435
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1470mm
Length
4885mm
Width
1830mm
Ground Clearance
134mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
7x16
Rear Rim Size
7x16
Front Tyres
215/50 R16
Rear Tyres
215/50 R16
Wheel Base
2775
Front Track
1585
Rear Track
1585
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control
Interior
Cloth Trim
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-18
Country of Origin
THAILAND