“Nissan Altima: A class above”
After two decades, the Nissan’s top-selling model, the Altima, entered its fifth generation last year with an all-new model lineup that included 6 specific choices, with two engine options and two distinctively different feeling Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT). For the 2014 model year, the Nissan Altima will come in four models powered by a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine including a base model, an S model, an SV model and an SL model – with three available option packages: the Convenience Package, a Navigation Package and a Technology Package. 2.5-liter powered models begin at $22,170. and all connect to an XTronic CVT gearing power to the front wheels.
The remaining three Nissan Altima models will continue to draw their motive force from a 3.5-liter V6 that drives the front wheels through an XTronic CVT that features a manual shift mode with column paddle shifters. The trim levels include: a 3.5 S; the 3.5 SV and the top-of-the-line 3.5 SL. 3.5-liter model pricing starts at $26,320. And there are two option packages available: the Navigation Package and the Technology Package.
Option Package pricing is: $1,350 for the Convenience Package; $590. for the Navigation Package; and $1,090 for the Technology Package.
Both engines are transversely mounted up front, and are fed by sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection and four valves per cylinder with CVTC. The 2.5-liter four-banger makes 182 horses along with 180 pound feet of torque, while the 3.5-liter engine delivers 270 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque. The 2.5-liter engine delivers 38 mpg in highway driving without added eco mode charges as with some manufacturers.
Nissan’s Ellure concept show car strongly influenced the final exterior design outcome for this latest iteration Altima, with evocative, emotional styling, projector headlights, LED taillamps, curved rockers and pronounced wheel wells and fender suggestions. The sweeping accent shoulder line carries in a graceful rising rearward slope, while the greenhouse arches gently from the hood, over the sharply raked windshield and into the abbreviated rear deck lid. In profile, the new Altima reflects a coupe-like image with its blacked-out “B” pillars and reverse kink “C” pillar, outlined by a chrome window surround. The deep-draw stamping technique imparts a bold presence, featuring the deepest draw trunk in Nissan’s history.
The interior displays a sophisticated execution with NASA-inspired ‘zero-gravity’ seats that aids in the increase of blood flow, decreased muscular load and a lower fatigue factor. There’s also an advanced Drive-Assist™ Display that appears between the tachometer and speedometer.
For the 2014 model year, Altima lead the expansion of NissanConnectSM connected car services with NissanConnectSM Apps, a global smartphone integration platform that includes invehicle smartphone integration for Android and iPhone® operating systems. Apps includes Online Search powered by Google™ (navigation equipped vehicles only), Pandora (Android only) and Facebook, and are planned to include iHeart Radio* and Pandora (iOS) at a later date.
The NissanConnectSM apps experience isn’t limited only to the owner of the vehicle, other drivers and passengers can also set up their own apps. All app profiles and settings are personalized and unique to each driver’s phone, so users don’t have to worry about sharing personal account information. In addition, to the new app integration, the NissanConnectSM with Navigation system’s capabilities now include SiriusXM Travel Link® (fuel prices, movie times, stock updates, weather).
Other Nissan Altima enhancements for 2014 include a range of refinements including upgraded seating materials and improved quietness and comfort. A new Sport Value Package with 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, remote engine start and trunk lid spoiler (2.5 S models) is added, along with expanded availability of the Technology Package (2.5 SV and 3.5 SV grades). The Technology Package will include NissanConnectSM with Navigation and SiriusXM Travel Link® , plus Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection and Lane Departure Warning. A new Display Audio Package, available on 2.5 S (standard on 3.5 S) includes a 5.0-inch color display, RearView Monitor, USB port, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), NissanConnectSM Apps* and diversity antenna.
The driving experience of the new Nissan Altima is enhanced by a redefined rear multi-link suspension, CVT, Active Understeer Control, lighter weight and higher rigidity level. Next generation technology adds to the driving experience and confidence level with the Advanced Drive-Assist Display, streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, Blind Spot and lane departure warning, and Smartphone integration via NissanConnect. Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection were both segment firsts last year.
My test 2014 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL was finished outside in Cayenne Red and inside in Beige leather, with a base price of $27,920 and a final sticker of $29,230 after adding a Moonroof Package, carpeted floor and trunk mats and Destination and Handling charge.
SUMMARY: The design philosophy ‘Kamishino’ was employed in producing last year’s Nissan Altima models, and delivers a rewarding visual appeal in a longer, wider and lower vehicle, while maintaining a similar footprint to its predecessor. It was the most innovative Altima ever. It was also quieter, with enhanced and improved insulation.
Driving the 2.5-liter version Nissan Altima delivers totally adequate acceleration except in extreme situations, such as passing in a hill, in which scenario, a stepped CVT and manual control paddle shifters would be beneficial. The 3.5-liter powered Altima obviously provides a more pleasing level of power with less effort, and the stepped, manually shiftable CVT is more closely akin to driving a conventional automatic with the same properties. The CVT belt represents a 40 percent reduction in friction, and is expected to last for the life of the car.
The 2014 Nissan Altima continues as one of Nissan’s most popular vehicles, with a host of standard equipment and features as well as an impressive portfolio of safety gear to enhance one’s driving experience at an affordable price, with an appearance that still ranks as a “class above”.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL
|Price as Tested:||$30,830.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.5-liter QR25DE inline 4-cylinder V6 with sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection and 4-valves per cylinder with CVTC.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||182 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||180 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Xtronic CVT – manual shift mode.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.|
Front – Independent strut w/ coil springs and 22.2 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link independent suspension with improved toe angle, and improved camber control and 22 mm stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with 4-wheel, 4 channel, 4 sensor ABS, EBD and BA.|
|Tires:||Continental ContiProContact – 215/55 R17 93V mounted on 5-double-spoke (thick/thin combination) alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||191.5 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,230 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||18 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||27 mpg city /38 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.