2018 Nissan Altima Expert Review

4.0 Overall Score
Performance 3.9Comfort 4.2Styling 3.6Value 4.2

Editor's Overview

A popular family sedan, the comfortable, sporty and sophisticated 2018 Nissan Altima is improved with new safety technology and features. Every new Nissan Altima now comes with standard Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning. Four trim levels are available, and unlike many competitors, the 2018 Altima offers buyers a choice between a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder and a more potent V6.

You'll Like The 2018 Nissan Altima If...

If you’re looking for a stylish and comfortable family-friendly sedan with a solid reputation for reliability and value, you’ll like the 2018 Nissan Altima. Drivers wanting a little more performance will like the 2.5 SR trim level, which adds a manual mode to the automatic transmission, paddle shifters, a sport-tuned suspension and larger 18-inch wheels and tires. 

You May Not Like The 2018 Nissan Altima If...

Nissan does not offer a hybrid version of the 2018 Altima. If you’re looking for ultimate fuel efficiency in the midsize-sedan class, check out the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Honda Accord Hybrid. Also, the Altima is not available with all-wheel drive like the Ford Fusion and Subaru Legacy.

What's New

For 2018, Nissan has simplified the Altima’s lineup; the 2.5 and 3.5 SR trim levels are no longer available. Also, Automatic Emergency Braking and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning are now standard on all Altimas and the top-of-the-line Altima 3.5 SL receives standard Intelligent Cruise Control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Interior Features

While not as roomy inside as a Honda Accord or Kia Optima, the 2018 Nissan Altima is a comfortable place for four adults, and its interior is both stylish and sophisticated. There’s plenty of room for five with good legroom in back, although headroom is snug in the rear if you’re over 6-feet tall. Up front the seats are comfortable for a variety of body shapes, whether outfitted in the standard cloth or optional leather. Visibility is excellent, and the placement of all controls is intuitive. The Altima’s spacious 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space is about average for the class, and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat is standard.

Exterior Features

Nissan’s new Altima bears a strong family resemblance to the rest of the company’s car line, with Nissan’s familiar V-shaped grille design and sleek headlight housing. Around back, the Altima’s rear sports an expressive bumper, and taillight housings that extend horizontally into the trunk door. The 2.5 SR variant is distinguished with a subtle integrated spoiler. All models feature a pair of chrome exhaust housings for an athletic vibe. Overall, we'll call the Altima's shape handsome and on the conservative end of the sedan spectrum. It may not pop as much as others, but the design should hold up well in the years ahead.

Driving Impressions

From behind the wheel, the 2018 Nissan Altima is one of our favorite midsize sedans. It’s comfortable, with a smooth ride and a quiet interior, and it feels solid and substantial. Unlike some of its competition, the Altima is also engaging to drive with good steering feel and response, although the Ford Fusion and Mazda6 are still more fun to drive. The 2.5 SR trim improves the Altima’s handling, adding a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels and tires, but it still rides well. The standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is strong with 179 horsepower. It’s also refined and works well with the automatic transmission, although it can get a bit loud if you rev it past 5,000 rpm. The 270-horsepower V6 in the 3.5 SL model delivers excellent acceleration and passing power, although it’s still out-muscled by the 301-horsepower Toyota Camry XSE V6 and the turbocharged 325-horsepower Ford Fusion Sport.

Pricing Notes

The 2018 Nissan Altima has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at around $24,000 including an $885 destination and handling charge for the base 2.5 S model. The sporty and better-equipped 2.5 SR variant is still a good deal at about $25,000. A V6-powered 3.5 SL Altima starts over $36,000. These prices are in line with major rivals like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion, and are slightly above the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Nissan. As for the Altima's resale value, we expect it to be about average, trailing leaders like the Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

See how the 2018 Nissan Altima compares to the 2018 Toyota Camry!

Notable Equipment

The 2018 Nissan Altima is available in five trims, from the base 2.5 S to the top-line 3.5 SL. Spring for the least expensive and you'll get an automatic transmission (optional on some rivals) and basic amenities like power doors, windows and air conditioning, along with push-button ignition, keyless entry and Bluetooth connectivity. The base audio system is a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input but no USB port. We suggest spending the extra money to step up to the Altima 2.5 SR or 2.5 SV, which include a power driver’s seat and larger alloy wheels. Automatic Emergency Braking and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning are standard on all models.

Notable Options

Continuing to climb through the Nissan Altima’s trim levels brings amenities like power front seats, leather interior, 17- or even 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, power moonroof and LED headlights. Many extras are bundled into packages and vary by trim. Highlights include a navigation system with upgraded 7-inch touch screen, a cold-weather package with heated front seats and steering wheel, and technology packages with everything from blind-spot monitoring and dynamic cruise control to Cross Traffic Alert. Audio buffs can delight their ears with a 9-speaker Bose premium sound system. The top 3.5 SL model even includes rear air-conditioning vents and remote start.

Favorite Features

For 2018, Automatic Emergency Braking is now standard on all Nissan Altimas. The system first warns the driver of a possible collision. If the driver does not act to avoid the accident, the system will apply the brakes for the driver. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning is also standard. Several other active-safety systems are also available, including Intelligent Cruise Control and Blind Spot Warning.

This system is standard on all 2018 Nissan Altimas. It improves both the performance and overall safety of the sedan by lightly braking the inside front wheels during cornering, which enhances traction and the sedan’s ability to turn. Its operation, in combination with the Altima’s traction-control and stability-control systems, is completely undetectable by the driver.

Under the Hood

Unlike many rivals that offer hybrid, diesel and various turbocharged gasoline powerplants, the Altima keeps it simple with two offerings: a 4-cylinder in 2.5 models and a V6 in the 3.5. Both use a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Nissan’s 2.5-liter is made more efficient thanks to active grille shutters, revised engine compression ratio and less internal friction, all of which contribute to its nearly 40-mpg highway estimate. V6 models, meanwhile, still post a respectable 32 mpg, and both engines run just fine on regular unleaded to keep operating costs down.

2.5-liter inline-4
179 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/38 mpg, 26/37 mpg (SR models)

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg

Editors' Notes

Comfortable, sporty and sophisticated, the 2018 Nissan Altima has been improved with new safety technology and features. Every new Nissan Altima now comes with standard Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning. A popular family sedan, the Altima sedan is available in four trim levels, and unlike many competitors, Nissan offers a choice between a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder and a potent V6. Prices start around $24,000 for an Altima 2.5 S with the standard 179-horsepower 2.5-liter engine, but the 2.5 SR model adds a significant list of features and performance for just $1,000 more. Prices climb to over $36,000 for the V6-powered Altima 3.5 SL. With 270 horsepower, it’s one of the most powerful sedans in the midsize-family-sedan class. Both engines work with a smooth continuously variable automatic transmission. Competitors include the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.

Video Reviews

2018 Nissan Altima: Review
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