Nissan Altima has been on sale in Australia since November 2013 and competed in the midsize sedan field. Leading the sales race was the Toyota Camry, with Ford Mondeo, Mazda6, Subaru Liberty and VW Passat also in the mix.
Styling is a strong point of the Altima and it takes its own route, with wide horizontal chrome dominating the grille and a large badge in the centre. Indeed, it was a leader in style department as just about everyone else has taken up the big-grille look in in the years that followed.
A fascinating feature of the Altima is that the US space agency NASA helped to design its front seats. With a big emphasis on comfort the seats have what NASA calls a neutral posture, a relaxed position that the human body takes in a weightless environment. The seats help reduce muscular and spinal loads and improve blood flow.
Altima owners tell us they are pleased with their seats and that they step out of their cars on long trips feeling relaxed.
Altima has seating for four adults with good leg and headroom and decent space in the back. Five isn’t too much of a squeeze, but two adults and a child in the rear works better.
Sales were never strong and the Altima was pulled out of the Australian new-car market midway through 2017 Oddly, the Nissan Altima was imported as V8 and only for V8 Supercar racing.
Nissan Altima is available in four variants: ST, ST-L and Ti have a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder Altima engine has 127 kW of power 230 Nm of torque.
The big gun is the Altima Ti-S which has a powerful 3.5-litre V6 that gives a delightful 183 kW of power and 312 Nm of torque.
All models have a CVT (continuously variable transmission) driving the front wheels. This makes sure you get the exact amount of the engine’s torque to suits road conditions and the amount of performance you want.
If you disagree with the ratios selected by the CVT you can choose from different driving models. The V6 has manual mode that can be operated by steering-wheel paddle shifters.
Nissan is well established in Australia, having been here since the Datsun days of the early 1970s. Many Nissans were built in Australia to take advantage of tax rules. However, the Altima was fully import from Japan. Consequently, there are experienced dealers in many areas Downunder.
There’s the usual concentration of Nissan dealers in the big metro areas, but the popularity of Nissan in the SUV field, with the rough, tough Patrol standing out means there’s a fair number of dealerships and mechanics in the bush.
Spare parts are generally available and prices about average, perhaps a little higher at times, for the class. Some of the more unusual bits may not be available back of Bullamakanka, but can often be shipped there in a couple of business days.
Best that you leave just about everything to those who know what they are doing in the way of repairs and maintenance because Altima is a complex model with a lot of high-tech features behind the imposing grille.
As the Nissan Altima hasn’t been a big seller in Australia insurance companies will have had varied experiences with them. Meaning there’s a larger than average spread in prices. Shop around – but be sure to do correct comparisons.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Altima is built to a high standard and we hear of no routine problems. But it’s wise to have a professional inspection after you have done an initial look over to root out anything obviously wrong.
Our favourite starting point is the front-left wheel, it and/or the tyre can be damaged by poor parking. Which may also be a sign of crook driving.
Walk around to look for body damage, or signs of repairs such as ripples in the panels, tiny paint spatters on unpainted areas such as the glass.
Look over the complete interior, including the boot for signs of harsh treatment.
Check that the engine fires up within a couple of seconds and idles smoothly. The four-cylinder should be good, the V6 is exceptional in its balance.
The CVT should be all-but unnoticed as it changes from ratio to ratio, but if it seems slow at changing, and/or holds onto to gears too long there may be problems.
Using the owners’ handbook as a guide, make sure that everything operates correctly.
Budget on spending from $7000 to $11,000 for a 2013 Nissan Altima ST-L; $9000 to $13,000 for a 2017 ST; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2014 Ti-S; $11,000 to $16,000 for a 2017 ST-L; $12,000 to $17,000 for a 2016 Ti-S; and $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2017 Ti-S;
CAR BUYING TIP
It’s wise to keep an eye on the used car market for whatever you’re thinking of buying. This give you a feel for what’s selling and how much is being paid.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/