2018 Nissan Altima

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MSRP: $23,260 - 33,630

2018 Nissan Altima Review

The 2018 Nissan Altima offers excellent fuel economy and comfy seats. Still, it ranks near the back of the midsize car class due to its weak base engine, subpar cabin materials, and aging technology.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: N/A
Performance: N/A
Interior: N/A
Safety: TBD
Reliability: TBD

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious, comfortable seats
  • Lively V6 engine available 

 

  • Small infotainment screens
  • Mediocre cabin materials
  • Weak four-cylinder engine

 

New for 2018

  • Forward collision warning with brake assist is now standard
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now available

 

Is the Nissan Altima a Good Car?

The 2018 Altima meets many of the requirements that midsize car buyers have. It rates well for crash safety, offers good gas mileage, and provides a comfortable cabin with plenty of seating space. For 2018, Nissan adds forward collision warning with brake assist to the Altima’s list of standard features.

Ultimately, though, the Altima is not a standout car in this fiercely competitive class. Its lackluster acceleration, drab interior, and merely average predicted reliability rating leave room for improvement.

Should I Buy the Nissan Altima?

The Altima will get you where you need to go without any drama, but there are more refined and better-equipped options in this class, including the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Hyundai Sonata.

Compare the Altima, Camry, and Accord »

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Altima?

The 2018 Altima is part of the sedan’s fifth generation, which debuted for 2013. While you can save money by shopping for older models, we recommend limiting your search to models from 2016 and after. The 2016 Altima saw a major mid-cycle refresh with updated styling, a retuned transmission, and several new options, including forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control. There were no major updates for 2017. However, forward collision warning is standard for 2018, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now available as options.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Nissan Altima »

We Did the Research for You: 45 Reviews Analyzed

Our Nissan Altima review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 45 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision. This 2018 Nissan Altima new car review includes applicable data and research from the 2013 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Nissan Altima Cost?

The base Altima 2.5 S trim starts at $23,260. Additional trim levels include the 2.5 SR ($24,320), the 2.5 SV ($25,910), the 2.5 SL ($29,110), and the V6-powered 3.5 SL ($33,630). These are only suggested retail prices, and not necessarily how much car shoppers are paying. For great savings at your local Nissan dealer, check out our U.S. News Best Price Program. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Altima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry?

With its redesign for the 2018 model year, the Toyota Camry raises the bar for the midsize car class. The new generation improves the already high-ranking Camry with an updated infotainment system, more standard advanced safety features, and a standard navigation app. The 2018 model also adds a more powerful engine and improved handling. Unlike the Altima, however, the Camry doesn't offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Regardless, the Camry is the better choice with a more enjoyable ride, a nicer interior, and more standard features.

Which Is Better: Nissan Altima or Honda Accord?

The fully-redesigned 2018 Honda Accord is a standout midsize sedan. For about the same price as the Altima, you get a more engaging driving experience, a longer list of standard safety features (including traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control), and a modern and easier-to-use infotainment system with a larger screen. Go with the Accord over the Altima.

Which Is Better: Nissan Altima or Ford Fusion?

If you're looking for a vehicle with a good amount of athleticism, you'll likely prefer the Ford Fusion to the Altima. The Fusion delivers sharper handling yet still provides a comfortable ride. It also has one of the best infotainment systems around (SYNC 3). For practicality, go for the Altima; it has superior gas mileage and more standard driver assists.

Compare the Altima, Camry, and Accord »

Altima Interior

How Many People Does the Altima Seat?

The Altima seats five people, with enough headroom and legroom for adults in both rows. The front seats are especially comfortable for most, in part because of Nissan's Zero Gravity seat cushions. The Altima provides more front-seat legroom than both the Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry.

Altima and Car Seats

You shouldn't have any trouble finding the Altima's three tether anchors. Its two sets of lower anchors are located deep in the rear-seat cushions, though, and on models with cloth upholstery, it's difficult to attach a child seat to the passenger-side set of anchors.

Altima Interior Quality

The Altima may come with a higher starting price than most midsize cars, but the extra expense isn't evident inside. Some cabin materials feel second-rate compared to trimmings inside rivals like the Nissan Murano, and the styling doesn't have the same fresh energy as recently designed competitors.

Altima Cargo Space

The Altima gets a thumbs-up for its storage. The 15.4-cubic-foot trunk is wide and has a low liftover height for easier loading. There are ample small-item cubbies in the cabin.

Altima Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The standard infotainment system in the Altima is uncomplicated and easy to use. It comes standard with helpful features like Siri Eyes Free and hands-free text messaging. However, next to competing systems, the Altima's standard and available screens seem undersized, and they're mounted too low in the center stack. If it's in your budget, we recommend upgrading to the interface with the 7-inch touch screen. Standard in the 3.5 SL and available in select midlevel trims, this system includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a user-friendly navigation system.

Read more about interior »

Altima Performance

Altima Engine: Decent but Not Dashing

The Altima's base four-cylinder engine adequately delivers you from point A to point B, and commuters will appreciate its thrifty nature. This engine isn't particularly brisk, and some test drivers say the accompanying CVT (a type of automatic transmission) is slow to respond and can cause the engine to drone loudly. The available V6 engine comes with a significant boost, but it's attached to a $33,500 price tag.

Altima Gas Mileage: Fuel-Efficient

When outfitted with the base four-cylinder engine, the Altima is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Gas mileage with the V6 engine is an estimated 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway.

Altima Ride and Handling: Comfortable and Stable

The Altima isn't the most engaging midsize sedan you can drive, but it is composed and smooth enough to satisfy most urban commuters. The Altima 2.5 SR edition adds a hint of sportiness to your drive, but it lacks the overall poise you'll find with a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion. All 2018 Altima models come with front-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

Altima Reliability

Is the Nissan Altima Reliable?

The 2018 Altima has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is average for the class.

Nissan Altima Warranty

The 2018 Altima comes with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Altima Safety

Altima Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Altima a 2018 Top Safety Pick. The sedan earned the top score of Good in all areas tested. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Altima a perfect five-star rating for overall, front, and side crash safety, as well as four stars for rollover safety.

Altima Safety Features

Every 2018 Altima comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which Nissan Altima Model Is Right for Me?

Most Altimas come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (as designated by the 2.5 trim name). For zippier performance, Nissan offers the V6-powered 3.5 SL model. Within the 2.5 trim levels, the 2.5 SR is the sport-oriented model, while comfort features constitute most of the differences among the remaining editions. 

If you're looking for a good value on a midlevel sedan, we recommend starting with the 2.5 SV and adding the $1,280 Technology package. This bundle gets you an upgraded infotainment system (complete with a larger touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto), along with navigation, heated front seats, and a moonroof. Below, you can see more on what's included in each trim level.

Nissan Altima 2.5 S

The entry-level Altima 2.5 S comes with a 5-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, hands-free text messaging, six speakers, keyless entry with a proximity key, push-button start, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, a four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera. Pricing starts at $23,260.

Nissan Altima 2.5 SR

The sporty Altima 2.5 SR ($24,320) features paddle shifters, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Nissan Altima 2.5 SV

Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are added to the Altima 2.5 SV ($25,910), along with dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Nissan Altima 2.5 SL

The $29,110 Altima 2.5 SL builds off the SV trim, adding a nine-speaker Bose premium sound system, ambient lighting, leather seats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, and rear passenger air conditioning vents.

Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

In addition to its more powerful engine, the Altima 3.5 SL ($33,630) features paddle shifters, a heated steering wheel, a sunroof, a 7-inch infotainment touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice commands, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

See 2018 Nissan Altima specs and trims »

The Final Call

For shoppers looking for a well-built, amiable sedan, the Nissan Altima is a decent option. Its high points include fantastic fuel economy, good safety ratings, and supremely comfortable front seats. Move past the practical elements, though, and the Altima isn't as appealing. Those looking for enjoyment from their ride will likely find its handling and base engine too bland, while tech enthusiasts will wrinkle their noses at the aging infotainment system. Several competing cars offer most of what the Altima does but with fewer downsides.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "We've generally like[d] the Altima over the years, but this particular generation is getting on in years. The newest crop of rival sedans further highlights the Altima's deficiencies in the areas of technology, interior quality and performance. To Nissan's credit, the 2018 Altima does have some useful enhancements. … But the segment has so many strong competitors that even a decent choice like the Nissan Altima has a hard time differentiating itself." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2017 Nissan Altima follows the lead of such cars as the Hyundai Sonata, Chrysler 200 and Ford Fusion by remaking itself with more styling, a better interior and more cutting-edge features, all while keeping its price low and its reputation for quality high. Unlike many competitors, the 2017 Altima sedan offers buyers a choice between a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder and a more potent V6. … While not as roomy inside as a Honda Accord or Kia Optima, the Altima is [a] comfortable place for four adults, and its interior is both stylish and sophisticated. However, there is no hybrid model, and Nissan's infotainment systems feel a bit behind the times." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The 2017 Nissan Altima gets most of the basics right. The car is as spacious as you'd expect, and it's quicker than other midsizers from Hyundai, Ford, [and] Chevrolet. … The updated front styling isn't for everyone (I'm not a fan), but if the low-mounted 7.0-inch touchscreen doesn't bother you and CVTs don't scare you, add the 2017 Altima to your list." -- Motor Trend (2017)
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