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2018 Nissan Altima Review

Commuters will love the 2018 Nissan Altima's cushy front seats, outstanding fuel economy, and excellent safety scores. But numerous drawbacks, including its uninspiring interior styling and technology, keep this sedan in the bottom half of our midsize car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Superb front seats
  • Quiet, smooth ride
  • Great fuel economy
  • Excellent safety scores
  • Dated infotainment interface with small screens
  • Uninspiring handling and base four-cylinder engine
  • Dull interior styling and materials

New for 2018

  • Standard forward collision warning with brake assist
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Nissan Altima Overview

Is the 2018 Nissan Altima a Good Used Car?

The 2018 Nissan Altima is mostly a good car. It checks off many requirements for a family sedan, but many midsize car competitors outshine this Nissan when it comes to entertainment and excitement.

The 2018 Altima has some nice qualities:

  • Superb crash test and front crash prevention scores
  • Tremendously comfortable front seats have lots of legroom
  • Quiet cabin
  • Average used car price is among lowest in the class

But several shortcomings hold it back:

  • Infotainment system has a small screen and a dated appearance
  • Ho-hum cabin styling and materials
  • Base four-cylinder engine isn't especially exciting
  • Handling isn't particularly responsive or nimble
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Nissan Altima review includes far more than just one person's opinion. For this full review, we collected professional evaluations from more than 46 sources and combined them with concrete data such as fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

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 Is the 2018 Nissan Altima?

Based on listings for the 2018 Nissan Altima on our site, the average list price is $16,200, which is well below average for the class. Prices range from $14,000 to $20,500 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Nissan Altima Cost to Own?

The 2018 Altima’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $23,200, or $4,640 per year. That’s about average for a midsize car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Altima?

Nissan fully redesigned the Altima for the 2019 model year. It launches into its new generation with two new engines. A more powerful four-cylinder is standard, and the optional engine is a lively turbocharged four-cylinder that's more fuel-efficient than the V6 previously available. Technology also gets a boost, with a larger touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and additional USB ports among the standard enhancements. Retail prices for this new car start at $24,000, which is $7,800 more than the 2018 model's average price of $16,200. We recommend buying a used Altima with the Technology package, which will get you many of the tech upgrades while also saving you a few thousand dollars.

Read about the new Nissan Altima »

The 2018 Altima belongs to a generation that started with the 2013 model year. Within this generation, the 2016 and newer editions are best. For 2016, the Altima received a styling refresh, a retuned transmission, and available advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning. The latter became standard for 2018, along with new options such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. To get the best value, we recommend seeking out the oldest model that has the features you want.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Altima »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Nissan Altima?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Altima a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Altima reliability »

2018 Nissan Altima Recalls

At the time of writing, no recalls have been issued for the 2018 Nissan Altima.

See more information on Nissan Altima safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Altima Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Nissan Altima comes in four trims: S, SR, SV, and SL. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, and a 3.5-liter V6 is available only in the SL trim. For the most part, each trim level builds off the previous one. The exception is the Altima SR, which stands alone as the sport-focused edition.

The base Altima S comes with a nice set of standard features, and it's a good pick for budget-minded shoppers. Few options are available for this trim, however. If you want a mix of premium interior amenities and additional safety features, the SV is more appealing. For an added dose of luxury, seek out an SV model with the Technology package. This adds an upgraded infotainment system with navigation and Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear passenger air conditioning vents, and a moonroof, among other treats.

  • Nissan Altima S: The entry-level Altima S comes with a 5-inch infotainment display, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, hands-free text messaging, proximity key entry, push-button start, manually adjustable front seats, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera.
  • Nissan Altima SR: The SR is the sporty edition in the lineup. Among its standard features are paddle shifters, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Midnight Edition package is exclusive to the SR, embellishing the exterior with black emblems, black wheels, a black spoiler, black mirror caps, and a black grille.
  • Nissan Altima SV: Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are added to the Altima SV, 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 SL: The 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. In addition to the V6 engine, the Altima 3.5 SL 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.

See 2018 Nissan Altima trims and specs »

What Does Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like rental car reimbursement, a three-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a Security+Plus Extended protection plan, towing, and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Nissan’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Mazda, Honda, and Chevrolet all have more robust programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Altima?

The 2018 Nissan Altima received a Top Safety Pick designation by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, partly because it aced every crash test evaluation. The standard automatic emergency braking earned this sedan five out of six points for front crash prevention, which is a Superior rating. For the headlight rating, models equipped with LED low-beam headlights received the second-highest rating of Acceptable, while all others got the lowest rating of Poor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Altima a five-star overall safety rating out of five. It awarded five stars for frontal and side crash tests and four stars for the rollover test.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • adaptive cruise control
  • front and rear parking sensors
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert

See Altima safety scores »

2018 Nissan Altima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Altima or 2018 Honda Accord?

The 2018 Honda Accord lands near the top of our midsize car rankings, while the Altima lands in the bottom half. The Honda is roomier than the Nissan, with more rear-seat legroom and a larger trunk. An impressive amount of safety features comes standard, including high-tech systems such as driver drowsiness, road departure mitigation, and traffic sign recognition. These attributes are among the reasons why the Accord was a finalist for our 2018 Best Midsize Car for Families award. However, average prices for the Accord sit $8,600 above the Altima's. If you can afford to spend more, go for the Accord. Otherwise, the Altima is a decent runner-up.

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Altima or 2018 Toyota Camry?

The 2018 Toyota Camry and the Camry Hybrid rule the roost when it comes to our midsize car rankings. You are likely to spend around $4,100 more for a Camry, but in return you'll get a peppier base engine, better fuel economy, nimbler handling, and a higher predicted reliability rating. The Camry also comes with more standard features. These include tech such as a 7-inch touch screen and smartphone integration, along with safety features such as pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control. Overall, the Camry is a better vehicle and a better value.

Compare the Altima, Accord, and Camry »

2018 Altima Performance

How Does the 2018 Nissan Altima Drive?

The Altima is an efficient, composed daily driver. Its base four-cylinder engine and accompanying continuously variable automatic transmission are suitable for commuters, though it's not exactly a thrilling powertrain. On the highway, comfort and stability are in high measure, and the steering and brakes are adequate, but there are no undertones of sportiness here.

Nissan offers a couple of options for shoppers who want to turn up the volume on performance. The available V6 is significantly more powerful. Unfortunately, it only comes in the top SL trim and is a pricey upgrade. The midlevel SR trim is less expensive and gets enhancements such as a sport-tuned suspension and paddle shifters.

  • Base engine: 179-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Does the 2018 Nissan Altima Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Altima's base four-cylinder engine is one of the most fuel-efficient in our midsize car rankings, outside of the available hybrid sedans. The available V6 engine gets so-so fuel economy and will cost the average driver an additional $300 each year at the gas pump.

  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder: 27/38 mpg city/highway
  • 3.5-liter V6: 22/32 mpg

Read more about Altima performance »

2018 Altima Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Altima Seat?

The 2018 Altima seats five people. Its front seats are among the best in the class. There is lots of legroom, and even after a full day of traveling, the supportive cushions still feel comfortable. The rear seats have enough room for an average-size adult. The cabin is quiet on the highway, but its design isn't very fresh, and many of the interior materials are mediocre.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • six-way manually adjustable driver's seat
  • four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat
  • folding rear seats with a 60/40 split

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • heated front seats
  • heated steering wheel
  • eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat
  • four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Nissan Altima?

The 2018 Altima has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. On models with cloth upholstery, you'll need extra elbow grease to clip a car seat into the lower anchors, partly because the hardware is buried in the seat cushions.

The LATCH hardware in these vehicles gets the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Because the lower anchors are a little easier to use with the available leather seats, these Altimas have the second-highest rating of Acceptable.

2018 Nissan Altima Features

Every 2018 Altima comes with conveniences such as Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free text messaging. The NissanConnect interface is simple enough, but it isn't very high-tech. Both the standard display and available touch screen feel undersized, and their low placement can be inconvenient for quick glances while driving. If you have a choice, seek out a model with the upgraded infotainment system. You'll be thankful for its larger touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch infotainment display, six speakers, Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and hands-free text messaging
  • Available infotainment features: a 7-inch infotainment touch screen, a navigation system, a nine-speaker Bose premium sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice commands, and satellite radio
  • Additional standard features: proximity key entry and push-button start
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control and ambient lighting

See 2018 Nissan Altima specs »

Read more about Altima interior »

2018 Nissan Altima Dimensions

Nissan Altima Cargo Space

The Altima has a 15.4-cubic-foot trunk, which isn't gigantic for a midsize sedan. In comparison, the 2018 Ford Fusion and 2018 Honda Accord have 16 or more cubic feet in the back. Though it’s smaller than average, the Altima's trunk is wide and deep, and the back seats fold with a 60/40 split. Numerous cup holders and small-item cubbies are on hand.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Nissan Altima Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet
  • Curb weight: 3,212 to 3,463 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,226 to 4,414 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Nissan Altima Built?

Nissan built the Altima in Tennessee.

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