• Car Review

2018 Nissan Altima Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 4, 2020

Quick Facts:


  • Best-in-class driver's seat comfort, with Zero Gravity seats.
  • Decent value in mid-level trims.
  • Good standard safety tech and crash results.


  • CVT transmission doesn't deliver.
  • Tech features lag behind competition.
  • Aging design is evident in a class of mostly new cars.

Would we buy one? Maybe but consider a Honda Accord, Kia Optima, or Mazda6 first.

Vehicle Type: 4-door, 5-seat midsize sedan.

Price Range: $24,155-$34,525, including destination.

Powertrain: Two drivetrain options are available for the Nissan Altima.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the standard engine, making 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

The available 3.5-liter V6 makes 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque.

Both engines are front-wheel drive and backed by a CVT; no AWD option is available.

Competitors: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, and Hyundai Sonata.

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Overall Score: 7/10

Safety Features: 9/10


Standard safety features include traction control, side-curtain airbags in both rows, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Higher trim levels receive rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, and adaptive cruise control.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety chose the Nissan Altima as a 'Top Safety Pick' thanks to good crash test results and the included and available safety features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also awarded good safety ratings, giving the Nissan Altima an overall five-star rating.

Value: 7/10


Five trim levels are available for the 2018 model year Altima, and buyers will find a reasonable value in each, depending on the desired levels of luxury. The Altima matches the value of similar trims across the class but doesn't deliver exceptional value at any particular level. Its aging design feels somewhat dated inside and out.

The value sweet spot in the lineup is the Nissan Altima SV with the added Technology Package. It nets some of the luxury and most of the top-end tech, but at a more palatable price.

The Nissan Altima includes a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty. Also included is a three-year roadside assistance plan.

Tech Features: 6/10


The Nissan Altima S gets Bluetooth, air conditioning, keyless entry, a five-inch infotainment screen, a USB port, and a backup camera in base trim. The Nissan Altima SV is a big leap in added tech, including automatic climate control and satellite radio.

Important tech features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a navigation system are exclusive to the Altima SL luxury trim level or optional Technology package. This package also specs a larger infotainment touchscreen, power moonroof, premium Bose sound system with nine speakers, remote start, and a heated steering wheel.

Practicality: 7/10


The Nissan Altima will comfortably seat four to five adults. The Altima's 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space is about average for the class, but it's only about half what Nissan's Rogue compact SUV has. The rear seat, a 60/40 split-folding bench, can make room for longer cargo when folded down.

With 45 inches of front-seat legroom, the Altima is one of the segment leaders. However, at 36 inches, rear-seat legroom may leave backseat passengers slightly more cramped than in most of the competition.

A LATCH child-seat anchoring system is present in the rear seats, and with the ability to fit up to three child safety seats, this sedan is a good option for families with small children.

Styling & Design: 7/10


In the final year before a redesign, the Nissan Altima isn't as sharp as more recently redone competitors, but it is far from unattractive. The Nissan Altima SR trim gets a sportier look with the addition of a rear spoiler. The special-edition Midnight Package adds black-painted alloy wheels and several other black exterior accents, giving the Altima a more modern and sporty look.

The Nissan Altima's interior is a pleasant environment if a little dated. Materials and upholstery are no longer up to the standards of the segment. The cloth seats in the base model are adequate. However, when equipped with Zero Gravity front seats, the Altima leads the class in seat comfort. Many reviewers found the interior to be one of the quietest cabins as well. The Midnight Package includes black faux-leather with a blue stripe and contrast stitching.

Driving Experience: 6/10


The Nissan Altima suffers significantly due to its continuously variable transmission. The unit largely saps the power of either engine option, and the available paddle shifters behind the steering wheel offer more frustration than fun. Compared to the new Camry, the Altima's powertrain is uninspiring. In the SR trim, the sport-tuned suspension does add to driving enjoyment.

Though the Altima doesn't get the blood pumping, it does deliver excellent comfort and a smooth ride. For buyers who value comfort over sportiness, the Altima delivers.

Fuel Efficiency: 7/10


The base Nissan Altima comes equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which receives an EPA-estimated 27/38/31 mpg city/highway/combined. Those numbers drop by one mpg in SR trim.

The 3.5-liter V6 gets fuel economy numbers of 22/32/30 mpg. It virtually matches the recently redesigned Honda Accord's gas mileage but falls just short of the new Toyota Camry.

More Photos

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