2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL

"Driving an Altima Could Be the Best Part of the Day"
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
September 8, 2014 Updated: September 8, 2014

Altima is rather handsome on the outside. Deep creases and dramatic lines start out on a designer’s sketchpad. From the designer’s mind, it takes on an innovative metal stamping process and Altima is born. 

17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, auto on/off headlights, LED tail lamps, heated outside manual folding mirrors with LED turn signals, and dual chrome exhaust finishers add great functional purpose to the already eye-catching aerodynamics of Altima.

The SL is the premium trim with either the 3.5-liter V6 or the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. The 2.5 liter DOHC 16-valve motor with Xtronics CVT (continuously variable transmission) delivers 182 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 180 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, while achieving 27 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, combining for a 31 mpg average.

The Altima provides more than enough power to quickly take the on-ramp, and it changes lanes easily with a determination to help you sit back, relax, and enjoy the drive.

The best feature concerning the interior was the leather appointed “zero gravity” front seats. Nissan has designed an articulated front-seat that offers continuous support from the pelvis to the chest, along with seat cushions that flex in response to the body’s pressure points. I found the seats refreshingly comfortable and great for reducing fatigue.

A recent trip from Dallas to Galveston went quite nicely. Even with the wife constantly giving instruction, guidance, and critiques of my driving ability along with a running dialogue on needs for driving improvements. Well, scratch that dialogue part, which would indicate that we both talked. Actually, traffic flow analysis, on-coming traffic, navigation suggestions and punctual bathroom break potential, didn’t keep me from enjoying a comfortable drive. 

Altima SL is equipped with a remote engine start system, allowing you to warm up or cool down the cabin from up to 195 feet away. Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control and heated front seats and steering wheel are also there to ensure occupant comfort. 

A 9-speaker Bose Premium Audio System and SiriusXM satellite radio help keep you hooked up to great music and talk radio. 

The 5-inch color audio display handles navigation while NissanConnect with Mobile Apps integrates with your smartphone and provides hands-free phone calls and audio streaming via Bluetooth. 

Throughout the cabin you have an immense amount of powered equipment and accessories that help to make your drive comfortable and convenient: 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, 4-way power front passenger seat, power door locks with auto locking, and one-touch auto up-down and automatic reverse front power windows.

Altima’s 370Z-inspired multilink rear suspension maximizes tire contact and helps you feel a sense of agility and assurance in the corners. The suspension layout allows the rear wheels to turn slightly to match the front, giving you the sense of riding on rails. 

Altima shocks reduce vibrations for a smooth, flat ride. A rebound spring in each absorber minimizes roughness and makes cornering more secure. Active Understeer Control helps you to steer smoothly through the turn by imperceptibly applying braking to the appropriate wheels when needed.

Manufactures suggested retail price is $28,150. There is a moon-roof package that adds another $800. Also available to the SL model is a $1,090 Technology Package comprised of a 7-inch color display, voice recognition, Blind-Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Moving Object Detection. 

For those of you that have a little more purse and a desire for more horses, the 2015 Altima 3.5 SL offers you a 3.5 liter V6 engine which puts down 270 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Not only do you get incredible acceleration from the engine, but the Xtronic CVT features three drive modes that help you customize your driving experience. Shift into the common “D” (Drive) mode for every day, or “Ds” for sportier shift, or you can go “hands on” manual with paddle shifters. The shifters are mounted right on the steering wheel column, placing precision shifting at your fingertips. You don’t need a clutch. Just pull back a paddle and your gear changes on command.

The V6 engine gives you 32 highway mpg. With gas prices falling it places you in the category of Cheap Fuel-More Miles. 

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.