Nissan Altima 2.5 S
By Ron Amadon
OCEAN CITY, MD – There comes a time when one must escape the every day and, regardless of distance, go hide somewhere.
The warm waters of the Atlantic off this resort city appealed to this writer’s Swedish legacy and the wife’s Scottish heritage.
Once the journey over the spectacular engineering feat that is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is complete, the trip to the waves is long, flat and mind-numbing event, the main highlight being 5,000 produce stands. Thus, the choice of vehicle is most important.
That Nissan’s 2.5 S Altima midsize sedan more than fit the bill says a lot about the nation’s third best-selling car and seventh best-selling vehicle overall.
Standard is a 2.5-liter four rated at 189 horsepower with 180 lb-ft of torque and a CVT transmission that performed rather well for the species.
It allowed the engine to just loaf along at highway speeds of 50-65 mph that are enforced by overworked radar devices. Robust use of the right foot did increase engine noise in the cabin yet the little four’s acceleration is in line with competitors and tops some.
The upside to all this is a very quiet interior at cruising speeds and laudable gas mileage.
I came away with 34 mpg on our trip over mostly flat ground on two and four lane roads. The test car carries an EPA rating of 27/38/31 mpg on regular unleaded.
A 3.5-liter, 270 horsepower V6 is available with 251 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is rated at 22/32/26 mpg.
Standard on the base model is cloth seating with a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear bench seat with armrest and fold down release in cabin and trunk. These were the Zero Gravity Seats that Nissan said were developed using research from NASA to render a relaxed position that the body takes in a weightless environment.
I found the seats to be extremely comfortable after a fair amount of fidgeting with the controls as did Mrs. Auto Writer with fewer adjustments. Taller passengers might find the rear seats a bit cramped.
A 4-inch color display between the key instruments imparts information about the audio system, MPG, trip computer, tire pressure, and Navi (if installed). Being a base model, navi in this case was provided by the carried on board Smartphone.
The ride is on the softer side for this is no sports sedan, but it also handled various road imperfections quite well. Concrete highways sent increased tire noise back into the cabin.
Included in the 2.5 S are steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control, push button start, in-cabin microfilter, and tire pressure monitoring with individual tire pressure readouts.
On the safety front, the Altima came with Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control. Lane Departure Warning, Moving Object Detection and Blind Spot Warning are available on the SV, one notch up the lineup from the S.
Optional on the S is a “Special Edition Package” that brings forth the six-way power driver’s seat with seatback pocket, Smartphone integration, 5.0-inch color audio display, USB port with iPod connectivity, hands-free text messaging assistant, satellite radio, rearview monitor, 16 inch aluminum alloy wheels, and remote engine start. I recommend it.
With that $995 package and floor mats, one could take this car home for about $23,690 sans transportation.
Those seeking a bit more standard equipment can move up to the SV at $24,720, or the SL at $28,150. An SL with the V6 starts at $32,350. All rather reasonable in today’s market for a comfortable economical sedan that comes with some credentials
The Altima was named one of the “10 Best Sedans Under $25,000” by Kelly Blue Book. It was also named “Most Popular Midsize Car” by Edmunds.com and Best Retained Value in the midsize sedan segment.