Surprisingly Good 


We recently spent a little over a week with a 2017 Nissan Altima. Now, I have to say I’ve seen these vehicles routinely during my daily treks. They haven’t changed much in appearance for a few years, so they all look fresh and in style. But this is the first time I’ve spent any length of time with one. To make it quick; I appreciated it. Here’s why. 



This Altima is the mid-sized vehicle in the Nissan line. It is also the middle of the road in terms of trim levels and function. That being said, it was and is a highly satisfying vehicle. Our tester was a slate grey color and though this is a safe choice, it still had a bit of curb appeal. Not too much, but just enough aggressive styling to make it appealing.  

The styling it typical of Nissan vehicles these days. Being a mid-sized applicant, you really needed to look at the badging on the rear to know which model in the Nissan line-up this was. At least for me, that is. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it looks just as good casually as it does elegantly. So, you truly can take this vehicle to any event and not be out of place.  



Since we spend all but the initial walk up to/from time inside the vehicle. This is where the trim and other sensory items make or break the user experience. This vehicle had a cloth type interior instead of leather. This seating was comfortable and breathable. At no point did it pinch, sweat or feel out of place. 

The bucket seats were great and we had no issues finding a comfortable seating position. There were multiple adjustments available including a modest lumbar adjustment. 

Both the front and rear seats allowed more than adequate legroom as well as shoulder room. Headroom these days is never a problem as the like other manufacturers have learned to make headliners thinner and more effective even with sun roofs.  

We enjoyed over 3000 miles in this Altima. At no point did we tire of the seating position and immediate driver controls. This vehicle did not have all of the bells and whistles like some higher trims might, but again we found it more than adequate and not lacking at all. There were provisions for options like lane keeping assistance and others but our tester did not have it installed. Again, being a careful operator, we didn’t miss it. 

There was plenty of storage space as well as USB inputs and Bluetooth connectivity available. All connections worked as expected. The hands-free operation of the phone and contact list was appreciated. We loaded the car with our luggage and it all fit with room to spare.  


Economy and Performance 

I have to say, this is where this Nissan Altima shined brightest. This is the area that would make me consider getting one for myself as a reliable daily driver. 

Performance was a pleasant surprise. This SL model comes with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that produces 179 hp and 177 pounds of torque. It’s mated to a constant velocity transmission. The surprising part was that we really didn’t fall short in application of power when we needed it. The CVT was smooth and made the vehicle feel like it had more torque than the stated numbers. 

During our time with this Altima, we had the opportunity to visit Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Though I’ve been to the top of the mountain before, THIS time we decided to take the Mount Washington Auto Road and drive ourselves to the top. Advertised as not for the faint of heart or for those with a fear of heights we found it easily manageable in this vehicle. The steep incline and occasionally loose aggregate gave us a little slippage in one part, but the front wheel drive pulled us through.  

The reason I mention this particular excursion is the trip down comes with its own subset of challenges for vehicles. Beforehand you are warned to put your car in a “low-gear” as well as pull over occasionally to cool your brakes. Well, being a CVT we don’t have that option. Not a clear selection anyway. We followed the manual on how to “hold” the transmission in a lower ratio. It was not clear cut but it seemed to work to a degree though not as effective as a true geared transmission. 

Now for the overwhelmingly good news. This Nissan Altima is rated at 25mpg city or 39mpg on the highway. I have to say this was a very pleasant surprise for a vehicle in this class to get approximately 40 miles per gallon during our travels. 

Yes, there was quite a bit of highway travel, but even with the majority of our days in the city and local roadways, we still averaged over the stated 39mpg. This is amazing. I’ve been in smaller, and allegedly more efficient vehicles lately that didn’t come close to this mileage. All the space and comforts included with the ease and efficient travel makes this car a winner. 



Now that I’ve been introduced to this Nissan Altima, I notice them everywhere. This model is obviously a huge seller. I can attest that I understand it. I would not hesitate to get one for routine family driving. The great thing is it is adequately equipped at a decent price point. There would be no need to go up level and push for leather or other options. This is a solid performer at any of the trim levels. 

It’s almost time for Nissan to refresh this model. But I’m sure they’ll do it proud.