The Nissan Altima has been sold for nearly two decades, starting out as a midsize sedan and maturing into a full-fledged family sedan. There have been five Altima generations thus far, with the third generation marking the key shift to mainstream dimensions and specifications. Altima offers a fun-to-drive character and has had several significant evolutions in features, finesse and frugality.
Current Nissan Altima
The Altima is available with one of two engines. The standard 2.5-liter, 182-horsepower four-cylinder returns an impressive 31 mpg combined, while the 3.5-liter, 270-hp V6 achieves a respectable 25 mpg combined. Both are equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). There are seven trim levels to choose from, designated as either 2.5 or 3.5 depending on which engine’s under the hood. If you’re having a hard time choosing between the four-cylinder and the V6, consider that the four offers a rare combination of excellent fuel economy and relatively swift acceleration.
Used Nissan Altima Models
The current, fifth-generation Nissan Altima debuted for the 2013 model year. It benefits from overhauled styling inside and out, with a focus on a more upscale look and feel. Fuel economy is excellent for both four-cylinder and V6 models, while updated suspension and steering systems maintain the Altima’s reputation as one of the market’s best-handling family sedans.
The previous, fourth-generation Nissan Altima sedan was produced from 2007 through 2012 and marked the arrival of the now-ubiquitous CVT. It is in many ways similar to its successor, so a used one could be a good budget-friendly alternative. A coupe version debuted in 2008 and was produced in modest numbers through 2013.
The fourth-generation Altima went without major changes for most of its run, though used car shoppers should note that there were some styling tweaks for 2010, along with the addition of an iPod interface and enhanced audio and navigation systems. Both the sedan and coupe were broken into 2.5 and 3.5 model ranges. The 2.5 models had a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produced 175 hp. The 3.5 SR (originally called SE) models had a 3.5-liter V6 that produced 270 hp. Though these powertrains are similar to those of the fifth-generation Altima, they were considerably less fuel-efficient. A CVT was mandatory on the sedan, while the coupe got a standard six-speed manual transmission with the CVT as an option.