$15,707 - $22,572

2017 Nissan Altima Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Nissan Altima was new.


Performance: 7.2

Overall, the 2017 Nissan Altima provides a smooth and comfortable ride, but it lacks refinement, and redesigned rivals may offer better performance. Although its handling is predictable around corners or driving on winding roads, its ride can be a bit rough over less-than-perfect pavement. The Altima doesn't offer a sporty driving experience, and though the SR trims' sport-tuned suspension helps a little, don’t expect a sports-car-like drive. If you upgrade to the optional V6 engine you'll get a more fun drive with better acceleration. Additionally, the Altima's continuously variable automatic transmission feels responsive and operates smoothly.

  • "With the exception of the sporty SR trim, the 2017 Altima sedan is all about delivering a comfortable ride, quiet cabin and competent, but not sporty, handling abilities. Think Chevy Malibu and Hyundai Sonata rather than Ford Fusion or Mazda6." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Overall, the changes to the Altima's components have eliminated the old model's wallowing, loose feeling, creating instead a tighter, more substantial machine that no longer embarrasses itself when called on to be driven more aggressively." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "One important ingredient in the Altima's formula is its smartly tuned ride and handling. The Altima feels more focused and responsive than many rivals do, yet it doesn't beat you up over bumps. That's the sort of thing that stands out on a test-drive, and the same goes for the Altima's continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is a factor in the car's excellent fuel economy … and strong, seamless acceleration." -- Edmunds (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Nissan Altima comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 179 horsepower. The upgraded 3.5-liter V6 engine makes 270 horsepower. Acceleration with the base engine is adequate, although you may have to floor the pedal if you need to get up to highway speed quickly, which can also result in some unwanted engine noise.

The V6 engine impresses with excellent passing power and strong acceleration. The Altima’s standard continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic, is more responsive and quieter during acceleration than competitors' CVTs.

The Altimagets 27 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway with the base engine, and 22/32 mpg city/highway with the V6. These numbers are above average for its class.

  • "Nissan has done well historically with continuously variable transmissions (CVT), and the Altima continues that tradition. The CVT is more responsive when you press on the gas pedal compared to its competitors, and the simulated stepped gears reduce some of the engine drone that others suffer from. Still, drivers of an Altima 2.5 will feel the need to floor the pedal to get up to highway speeds confidently, and it will seem overly noisy and loud in the process." -- Edmunds
  • "In 4-cylinder form, the Altima keeps pace with the base family cars from Honda, Subaru and Toyota, but it's the 270-horsepower V6 in the 3.5 models that turns this demure family sedan into something a bit more sinister. Delivering excellent acceleration and passing power, the 3.5-liter works well with the CVT automatic." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "For most drivers, the presence of a CVT won't matter -- the four-cylinder Altima isn't sprightly, but it's not slow either." -- Cars.com (2016)

Handling and Braking

The Altima’s handling is just average – its redesigned competitors offer improved dynamics. Still, it has predictable handling through turns and curves and generally provides a comfortable ride, though a few critics find that it can feel stiff over rough roads. The SR trims' sport-tuned suspension makes for a slightly sportier ride. The steering has good feedback and offers a good feel of the road.

  • "The Altima used to hold a handling edge over other family sedans, but recent redesigns to its class rivals have eroded that advantage. It remains composed and predictable on a winding road, but the overall ride quality is slightly less refined over rough pavement. Like many things about the 2017 Nissan Altima, it neither excels nor fails." -- Edmunds
  • "Being motoring journalists, we picked the SR for our test drive and found that improvements made to the electrically assisted power steering are more worthwhile. It offered pretty good feel and feedback through the steering wheel as we pushed through the esses of a rural road on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. Beside providing better grip and filling the wheel wells, the 18-inch Michelins added some road noise despite the updated model's new acoustic windshield and larger and denser dash insulator." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)
  • "The Altima's electrohydraulic power steering has been reprogrammed across the lineup for a weightier feel and a bit more feedback, and on the street the SR feels poised and well-planted." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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