by Cheryl Eldridge and wire reports
Nissan’s slogan “Innovation that excites” came true during my one week test drive.
The 2015 Nissan was breathtaking, surreal and definitely placed a great impression on me.
The 2015 Nissan Altima continues to be a top choice among family sedans, delivering excellent fuel economy and a rare blend of comfort and agility. My son and daughter even enjoyed the moonroof, stereo and smooth ride which turned heads when cruising by.
So here’s what everyone is amazed by: impressive acceleration and fuel economy with either engine; strong crash test scores; satisfying ride and handling balance; capable and user-friendly electronics; above-average cabin quality.
When the Nissan Engineers put the 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL together three words came to my mind: Power, Agility, Technology.
The 2015 Altima 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL trims now come standard with the Technology package (including touchscreen navigation and upgraded safety features), which remains optional on the 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL. Also, the remote ignition system can detect the ambient temperature and activate climate/defrost functions accordingly, and all SV models get a standard eight-way power driver’s seat.
The 2015 Nissan Altima is available in two main configurations: 2.5 or 3.5. The number signifies the engine specified (2.5-liter four-cylinder or 3.5-liter V6). From there, you’ll have your choice of a base model (2.5 only) or increasing amounts of features through the S, SV and SL trim levels.
The base 2.5 Altima sedan starts with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, a 4.3-inch LCD information display in the gauge cluster, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary input jack.
The 2.5 S steps up to automatic headlights, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, a six-speaker sound system and an optional power driver seat with six-way adjustability (i.e., a powered version of the standard seat). It’s also eligible for the Display Audio package, which contributes a 5-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, a USB port, satellite radio and smartphone app integration (NissanConnect).
The V6-engine 3.5 S comes with all of those features (including the Display Audio package) plus 18-inch alloy wheels and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The 2.5 SV trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the contents of the Display Audio package and remote ignition. The 3.5 SV is the same but keeps its 18-inch wheels.
My tester, the 2.5 SL, boasts LED taillights, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power front passenger seat and a nine-speaker Bose sound system. You can also get two additional packages for the 2.5 SL: The Convenience package includes a sunroof, rear air-conditioning vents and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, while the Technology package bundles a 7-inch touchscreen, voice controls, a navigation system and electronic safety features including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning.
The Altima 3.5 SV and SL are equipped similarly to their 2.5 counterparts, but both come standard with the contents of the Convenience and Technology packages. The 3.5 SL also comes exclusively with xenon headlights.
All 2015 Nissan Altimas employ front-wheel drive and a CVT.
The Altima 2.5 models are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 182 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, an Altima 2.5 zipped from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, one of the quicker times measured for a four-cylinder family sedan. EPA-estimated fuel economy is an extraordinary 31 mpg combined (27 city/38 highway).
Safety is number one when it comes to all Nissans. The 2015 Nissan Altima comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional on the 2.5 S and standard on the 3.5 S and all SV and SL models. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning are available on the 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL and standard on the 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL.
There’s nothing wrong with adoring the finer things in life and Nissan definitely steps up to the plate. The 2015 Altima has one of the nicer cabins in its class. The overall look is simple yet upscale, while a closer inspection reveals tight construction and mostly high-quality materials. Behind the sporty three-spoke steering wheel, the crisp driver information screen is flanked by a large speedometer and tachometer, all of which are easily read at a glance.
Drivers and front passengers of all shapes and sizes should have no problem finding their comfort zone in the standard NASA-inspired “zero gravity” front seats, which are remarkably well-shaped and supportive. The backseat, however, is so-so, with limited headroom and just average legroom for a family sedan. Normal-sized adults will be fine back there, but six-footers may feel a bit cramped.
The Altima’s technology roster is highlighted by the widely available NissanConnect Apps system, providing support for various smartphone applications. The system is paired with a 5-inch touchscreen by default, and it can accommodate multiple users by storing individual profiles for app connectivity. The Technology package adds a navigation system, voice controls and a more advanced 7-inch touchscreen, as well as the safety technologies discussed above.
Overall, I found these systems very easy to use.
Trunk space is pretty standard at 15.4 cubic feet, but the opening is conveniently wide.
By the way, my $31K tester was loaded with 27mpg in the city; 38mpg on the highway.
Until next week, drive safe and buckle up, it’s the law.