What is it? In the competitive family sedan segment, automakers need to make their cars stand out from the pack. While the Nissan Altima has been a high-scoring car in our tests, its design has not changed significantly in two generations. Going up against the redesigned sales-juggernauts Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, it was clear Nissan was going to have to deliver fresh styling.
The Altima’s styling has been enhanced with a sloping rear roofline, wider stance, and revised front fascia that Nissan claims help to improve aerodynamics. Inside there is a new “NASA-inspired” seat design aimed to help reduce fatigue and improve comfort. The new center display in the instrument cluster includes navigation information, text-message notification, and audio data.
The Altima will be offered with a choice of two engines: a revised 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an estimated 182 hp and the existing 3.5-liter V6, both matched with CVT. Fuel economy is targeted to be 38 mpg highway on the 2.5-liter engine. No hybrid variant has been announced.
What is new or notable? The sedan offers NissanConnect, an integrated smart-phone-connected infotainment system with standard Bluetooth connectivity for streaming audio and hands-free phone capabilities, Pandora, and Google-powered real-time location search. It also offers safety technologies such as blind-spot and lane-departure warning and moving object detection.
The Altima also receives the Easy Fill Tire Alert, which first appeared on the Nissan Quest, and lets the operator know when the correct pressure is reached through a beep of the horn.
CR's take: The family sedan segment is about to be reshuffled with the refreshed Altima competing with a new Honda Accord, the striking Ford Fusion and the recently launched Chevrolet Malibu.
When will it be available? Summer 2012