Last year, the Nissan Altima was a hot commodity for the automaker. Nissan sold more than 333,000 units amid an extensive mid-cycle redesign. That trend is repeating itself for 2016, particularly as the 2017 Nissan Altima enters the picture. The Altima continues as Nissan’s biggest seller through August, with the sporty SR trim accounting for over 30 percent of total sales.
The 2017 Nissan Altima is offered in nine colors, seven trim packages, and with two engines.
“Energetic flow” is the term used by Nissan’s designers to describe the 2017 Altima’s expressive look, first seen on the Murano and Maxima. Characteristics include the low front fascia, body lines, LED boomerang headlights, and the infamous “V-motion” grille, seen on the mighty GT-R. The “energetic flow” design is duplicated in the rear by more boomerang styling through the taillights.
Designers also focused on reducing Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH). An acoustic laminated windshield, along with sound barriers and insulation in the firewall were utilized. Efforts were made throughout the vehicle to curb road and acceleration noise. For example, larger engine mounts were used to help prevent the transfer of sound into the cabin.
Aerodynamic features include active grille shutters, underfloor aero covers, and the front and rear fascia and windshield designs. The 2017 Nissan Altima has a coefficient of drag of just 0.26 Cd (SV and SL models).
Engines & Transmission
A 2.5-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder and a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 are offered, with upgraded performance enhancing technology. The Xtronic transmission includes Nissan’s third-generation D-step Shift logic for more responsive driving. The feature, also found on the Murano and Maxima, is meant to refine acceleration, be it from a standstill or when passing other vehicles.
2.5-Liter Inline 4-Cylinder
The engine maintains a flat torque curve for better power delivery through the use of variable valve timing on both exhaust and intake camshafts. The 2.5-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder creates 179 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque. EPA estimated fuel economy is 27 city, 39 highway, and 31 combined.
Ratings for the 2017 Altima SR with this engine are 26 city, 37 highway, and 30 combined.
3.5-Liter DOHC V6
The 2017 Nissan Altima’s most powerful offering features specially manufactured piston rings and sodium filled valves for lower internal friction. Air intake resistance is minimized while exhaust variable camshaft timing is employed for increased performance. The 3.5-liter DOHC V6 is rated at 270 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque.
Fuel economy is an EPA estimated 22 city, 32 highway, and 26 combined.
The 3.5-liter DOHC V6 is found in the 2017 Altima 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL.
Steering & Suspension
Nissan’s Electronic Hydraulic Power-Assisted Steering mimics the feel of hydraulic steering but provides the benefits of an electric system. An independent front strut design compliments the steering in the 2017 Nissan Altima; the multi-link rear suspension was modeled against and compared to leading European sports sedans. The overall design features high lateral suspension stiffness, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, and ZF SACHS shock absorbers for greater control and ride comfort.
Smoked headlight housings are exclusive to the more sporty Altima SR, along with machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels. Never before have 18-inch wheels and tires been offered on a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Altima. Suspension upgrades include the revised damper tuning and an increase in front and rear stabilizer bar stiffness. The stabilizer bar diameters are increased as well: 24.2 mm versus 22.2 mm front, and 26.5 mm versus 20.0 mm rear. Furthermore, front and rear damping force is changed for the SR compared to non-SR models, reducing body roll by 20 percent.
The Altima SR gets a spoiler too.
Safety & Security
The 2017 Nissan Altima offers a variety of safety features, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, radar-based Blind Spot Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. An available Predictive Forward Collision Warning system spotds things a driver may not readily or immediately see. The technology senses the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle ahead. It also catches vehicles traveling in front of the preceding one and will help alert a driver of a potential forward collision.
Radar-based Blind Spot Warning is standard on SV and SL trims. In addition, SV and SL trims offer Rear Cross Traffic Alert to warn of approaching vehicles when operating in reverse.
Active Understeer Control provides further security. Nissan describes the technology as “intelligent control logic” with “high-response brake actuators.” The combination lightly brakes the inside front wheels during cornering as required to increase the yaw motion. With the 2017 Altima’s Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control Systems, Active Understeer Control is rarely noticeable.
Pricing & Availability
There are seven trim levels: 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, 3.5 SR, and 3.5 SL. Other features, depending on trim level, include auto on/off headlights, climate control, heated, leather front seats, heated steering wheel, Siri Eyes Free, Bose Premium Audio, and NissanConnectSM with Navigation. Eight other vehicle packages are available.
Pricing starts at $22,500 (USD) for the 2017 Altima 2.5. The MSRP for the top end Altima 3.5 SL starts at $32,690, by comparison.
The 2017 Nissan Altima is assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi. Altima engines are assembled in Decherd, Tennessee. The vehicle is available at Nissan dealerships nationwide.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan