FULL CIRCLE IN THE ALTIMA
The 2017 Nissan Altima
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Nov 6, 2016
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright
Over a decade ago, a younger and less bald version of me drove the Nissan Altima for the first time. It was the first car I ever drove as a member of the press. It was, of course, awesome. Test-driving a car, any car, was great. Trying to make sure that I remembered everything I experienced, so that I could write a decent article, was top priority getting into the car. Once inside, it felt like another world; I was driving a band-new car, with all the bells and whistles (of the time), way before I could dream of responsibly affording to purchase a new car.
Testing vehicles is something I would go on to do many many times, but that first car always has a special place in my history as an automotive journalist. The Altima, therefore, holds a certain sentimental value, maybe making me a little biased. Not only biased in a positive way, but in some aspects negatively biased as well. Maybe I remember that first Altima as a lot better than it really was, giving any new Altima a less-than-fair chance and winning my heart? I don’t really remember how big the Altima was, or how luxurious it felt. Neither how well the car drove. I do remember that it was lot of fun, and that my first step in this career was exciting!
Fast forward a whole bunch of years, to present day Southern California. And to the newest Altima, the 2017 Nissan Altima.
I arrived at LAX from a trip to Europe, and made my way to where the Altima was parked. An Altima isn’t the type of car that gets car-people all excited (except when it’s the first car they are testing as journalists), nor was it ever meant to be. The Altima is supposed to be a great daily driver; for families, couples, or pretty much anybody who wants a car with four doors. Approaching it you may therefore be surprised by its looks. The front grill and overall design of the hood and lights creates a pretty aggressive stance. The lines from around the headlights carry on over the hood, bringing that speedy feeling all the way up to the windshield.
Once inside, a couple of things stand out. First and foremost, this Altima is nice. I mean really nice. Like the type of luxury that you can feel with all your senses, not even having to touch the leather with your hands. Obviously there are other cars that feel this way (and even more luxurious), but the Altima, and other cars in the same price range, have come a long way in offering really nice rides to ordinary people. To get all this fluff in a luxury brand vehicle you would have to be ready with double the amount of cash.
So, we’ve established that the interior is nice. Luxurious. And so on. The driver can find what they are looking for without having to think all too much. Most dials and controls are pretty straight forward. One note on this aspect is that I could not for the life of me figure out how to manually move around on the map in the navigation system. If I wanted to zoom in on a particular place somewhere other than where my car is, the nav-system kept adding “points” on the map wherever I pushed my finger. This got pretty annoying, and I hope there’s a way to do this that I just happened to miss.
I often use the map to figure out what is close by, and during traffic jams to see if I can find a short cut the nav-computer might have missed. However, the computer behind the nav system does seem to be pretty smart (smarter than the average navigator in the passenger seat? probably). It will redo travel calculations and routes on the fly and inform you that you are still on the fastest route to your destination. Comforting.
The rear seat has plenty of space as well, with ample room for two (total of four persons in the car) LA Car journalists during a two-hour drive out to an event in the dessert. Even with all the extra weight, the car did not feel sloshy, handling nicely at highway speeds as well as cruising around town. The Altima trunk easily swallowed all of our four suitcases (albeit rather small, we were only going to be away for a short stay), and one of our editors even felt so good in the Altima back seat that he led a cross-country telephone conference. Apparently, the car is quiet enough to do that.
If there is one thing I wish to change in the new Nissan Altima, it’s the placement of the blind-spot warning system. For cars that have this installed, there’s a little orange light located somewhere close to the outside rear view mirrors that lights up (sometimes flashes) to alert the driver that there’s another vehicle in its blind spot. This is a great feature I recommend to any new-car-buyer, so I’m not dissing the function per se. However, the placement of the Altima’s light is not great. Sometimes I notice it had lit up, warning me of a vehicle. But when the sunlight hits the mirror, it creates a glare making it hard to notice the warning.
All in all, I am impressed with the new Nissan Altima. Even with my unrealistically high expectations, based on the fact that the Altima holds a special place in my heart, the Altima once again exceeded my expectations, this time more unbiased than last.
For more information about Nissan products, go to nissanusa.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2017 Nissan Altima Price: $28,570 (base) $30,760 (SL, as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 27 city/39 highway miles per gallon EPA vehicle size classification (based on actual interior volume): Midsize sedan