Sedans are on the way out…well, not so fast! There is also a small groundswell that points towards a trend back to sedans for those who do not need an SUV.
I will admit that I have been waiting to drive one since this current generation was introduced five years ago. You’d think that after a string of rented Toyota Camrys and other summary mid-size family sedans that I would encounter one at least in this workflow.
Finally, I was able to check out a Nissan Altima. It seemed like the right time to do so.
But, why? Sedans are on the way out…
Well, not so fast! Have you seen what Hyundai and Volkswagen have concocted on their electric vehicle platforms? There is also a small groundswell that points towards a trend back to sedans for those who do not need an SUV to maintain their lifestyle.
After all, there is nothing wrong with a sedan. That is why Nissan still builds them – at least the Versa, Sentra and Altima.
About the Nissan Altima, it is a mainstream product that has plenty of flair to go along with its purpose. For 2023, Nissan updated the Altima with a mid-cycle refresh that makes it bolder and extroverted. Not that this current generation was a demure car to begin with.
One of the things that attracted me to the Altima was its sharp looks. It is lower, sleeker, and looked pretty cool. For example, the floating roofline – attractive, isn’t it? More importantly, the recently revised front end and bolder, wider grille. In all, Nissan does a great job distinguishing the Altima from everyone else.
My tester is the luxurious SL model, featuring a set of 19-inch alloy wheels with multiple spokes. Add some ample chrome, and you have a nice package to roll in.
That level of luxury is immediately found inside the Altima SL. To me, luxury is defined by an engaging driver environment with a mix of analog and digital elements inside the instrument binnacle. That includes two sizeable analog dials with a seven-inch information screen.
Throughout the cabin are a series of controls that are also easy to use and good to the touch. That also includes the climate control system, with its circular vents across the instrument panel, then downward onto the center stack and the console. Two crowning touches that I love about the Altima are the thick steering wheel rim and the short shifter.
New for 2023 is a free-standing tablet-like 12.3-inch infotainment screen tops the center of the dashboard. Our SL adds a nine speaker Bose audio system for superb audio playback.
The seating in this SL tester is swathed with a black leather upholstery that looks and feel great. The Zero Gravity front seats themselves are very comfortable and supportive. Not to mention that there is plenty of space of plenty of drivers behind the wheel. Rear seat room is great for adults, even with the low roof line.
Trunk space is pretty generous with 15.4 cubic feet of space that is expandable with the rear seatbacks folded down. There is a slight step-down off the rear bumper for loading larger items, such as suitcases.
Motivating this Altima SL is a 188-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This is connected to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission that sends power to all four wheels. I like the poise this CVT has when “changing” gears and cruising. Simply none of the drama found on most CVTs in its class.
As far as fuel economy is concerned, I was unable to measure an average. However, the Environmental Protection Agency shows that this driveline states that it would average 26 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway.
The ride quality felt very balanced. It does a great job handling rougher road conditions. The Altima also corners very well and can manage evasive maneuvers with ease.
We found the steering system on the Altima very good, with a tight turning radius and great response to the road. On-center feel is strong, and the Lane Departure Warning definitely kept us in check. Steering wheel weight is excellent and instill a lot of control for the driver to command this sedan. We also like the brakes with its great pedal feel and stopping power. We enjoyed solid stops in normal and panic situations.
For this luxurious 2023 Nissan Altima SL with all-wheel drive, the sticker price came to $37,645. Keep in mind that there are five Altima trim levels to choose from. At the top of the class is the SR VC-Turbo model with its boosted 248-horsepower variable compression engine. The Altima lineup starts at $25,490.
You know I love a good mid-size family sedan. One that is comfortable, smooth, roomy, and nice to drive. Something that does not require me to step up for a better view on the road – although it does help sometime.
Just to reiterate that I have not forgotten about the Nissan Altima. Quite the contrary. I was hoping all along to get one to drive. To experience Nissan’s offering in this segment – one that has seen more competitors simply fade away.
Let’s just say I came away pleased with the Altima. If you have not driven one, please do so.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Walser Wayzata Nissan, Wayzata, MN
All photos by Randy Stern