2015 Nissan Altima
In its never ending quest for advancement, mankind does some funny things. Take cell phones for example; when they first came out, they were big, heavy things. Then they morphed into little bitty flip-phones that you could lose in a deck of playing cards. Now, some of those new smartphones are nearly as big as Zack Morris' Motorola, and the battery usually dies as soon as you turn it on. So is that really an "advancement"?
Similarly, the Nissan Altima started as a small, entertaining alternative to...a Saturn. And now, it's grown into a much larger, and some would argue, a more entertaining alternative to big sedans like the Accord and Camry. But is the redesigned 2015 Nissan Altima really an "advancement"? Let's find out...
2015 Nissan Altima - What's New?
The 2015 Nissan Altima is all-new this year, with more contemporary styling, a more competitive interior, and a new chassis that lives up to Nissan's fun-to-drive reputation. The engines, and CVT are revised versions of last year's offerings. But that's not a bad thing. Nissan's beloved VQ 3.5L V6 returns to the party with 270-hp, and the trusty 2.5L 4-pot is back with 182-hp. Pared to the next-gen Xtronic CVT, the 4cyl 2015 Nissan Altima is supposed to be capable of a class-leading 38 mpg on the highway. But you're going to need a light foot to achieve those numbers.
The 2015 Nissan Altima 3.5 is easily capable of sub-6 second 0-60 mph runs, making it the bad boy of the family car bunch. The 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 isn't quite that fast, but it's no slouch for a heavy 4-cylinder family sedan. It may take you a minute to get used to the gear-less CVT, which never seems to change gear. But you can switch up the ratios by putting the gear shifter in Drive Sport. And you can also cycle through a preset range of "gears" with the column-mounted paddles (on some models). The trade-off for the constant engine drone (which is well isolated by the way) is better fuel economy.
Like the previous generation, the 2015 Nissan Altima feels more connected to the road than most of its softly-sprung competitors. The new 4-wheel independent suspension is calibrated to minimize bodyroll, while the ZF shocks and front/rear stabilizer bars keep all four tires firmly planted on the ground. The ride is a bit stiffer than you might expect, but that's the price you pay for composure. And speaking of composure, the 2015 Nissan Altima comes with something called Active Understeer Control. This nifty bit of computer code reads sensor data to determine when you're turning, then it lightly brakes the inside front wheel to help the nose of the car turn in faster. It works well, and adds to the car's sporty demeanor.
Other neat tech includes a lane departure warning system, a blindspot warning system, and a moving object detection system that uses a single rear-mounted camera. Where most of these systems use a combination of cameras and sensors, Nissan's uses just one camera, fitted with a tiny spray nozzle to periodically spray the camera lense with windshield washer fluid, and another fitting blows a puff of air from an onboard compressor to dry the lense. But that's not the neat part. What is cool, is how the 2015 Nissan Altima can interpret images from that camera, then recognize" lane markers, and moving objects/obstacles. The 2015 Nissan Altima may be more aware of its surroundings than some drivers. Scary, but cool at the same time.
Besides all of the A.I. Features, the 2015 Nissan Altima gets a tasteful, upscale interior, with lots of soft-touch materials (glaringly absent in the previous model), and some of the most comfortable front seats in the business. Called 'Zero-Gravity" seats, Nissan says these front thrones were "NASA-inspired:". We all know, that's a fancy way of saying 'Memory Foam', but who cares. They're unbelievably comfortable.
So there you have it. A self-aware car that compares favorably against such Suburban heavyweights as the Honda Accord & Toyota Camry. But is the 2015 Nissan Altima truly an advancement? Go drive one and see.