Fighting The Good Fight

2024 Nissan Altima SR Premium

Price: $36,998 CAD

Colour: Ethos Gray

There was a time when the Nissan Altima was a ubiquitous site on Canadian roads. It was one of those cars that became part of the landscape. In recent years however, the vile scourge of the SUV has largely relegated the Altima to an after thought. To see a newer model on the daily commute is a rare site. With the demise of the Maxima, the Altima is the only offering from Nissan in the mid-sized sedan segment. While the 2024 Altima isn’t loaded with cutting edge tech, it does make a solid offering.

Power & Performance

The Altima used to be available with a 2.5L or 3.5L (my personal favorite) mated to a universally loved CVT or a fabulous 6-speed manual. Today, you can only get the 2.5L in Canada with the elastic band. That’s your only option. The engine itself is fine but I do believe this engine has been on offer since the mid-60’s. That being said, the 182hp and 180 lb/ft is enough to move the Altima with an acceptable bit of gusto. Mated to a standard AWD system and you have a very pleasant driving experience. The Altima will bob and weave and feels very stable the entire time you’re behind the wheel.

I wouldn’t want you to think that Nissan is completely behind the times. If you live in the US, where the Altima still sells well, you have the option of a fancy 2.0L turbo charged engine in the top shelf SR VC-Turbo model. This gives you almost 250 horsepower and 267 lb/ft of torque. These are tasty numbers. I think this would give the Altima a real edge on its competitors and offer consumers a reason to give it a look. There is a problem, however. If you opt for this power plant you can’t have AWD. It’s FWD only. Why this compromise is necessary is beyond me. I’m sure there are complicated and boring technical/financial reasons but none of that matters to me. This engine should be an option to bring the Altima alive in all forms.

Exterior

The Altima has been around for over 30 years. It started out as a pretty bland sedan but has matured and evolved over time into a rather handsome vehicle. This most recent generation (introduced in 2019) is a huge leap forward. It’s a truly good-looking car. If you skip colors like Ethos Gray (why Nissan makes this their color choice for their press fleet is beyond me) it looks great from any angle. It gives a sporting impression that is sort of backed up when you climb behind the wheel. While I think this redesign shares far too many elements with its little brother the Sentra, making them look mighty similar from a distance, it doesn’t detract from what a beautiful car it is.

Interior

You get a nice interior in the Altima. It’s full of all the usual stuff from the Nissan parts bin but it’s arranged nicely. The focus of the front seating area is the 12.3” Infotainment screen which is nice for a unit from Nissan. They’ve never been leading edge with their cameras and screens, so this is a nice improvement. In Canada, this option is included with the Premium package which also comes with wireless CarPlay/Android Auto and a Bose stereo among other good equipment so it’s worth the $2200 CAD.

You get a real shifter in the 2024 Nissan Altima. It’s connected to the wonderful CVT that everyone adores. It’s nice to have somewhere to rest my right hand while driving. Buttons are fine, but this is better and its nice to see.

Synthetic leather-like seating surfaces and trim pieces are everywhere on modern cars. Nissan’s offerings are not typically top shelf. Their “Prima-tex” leatherette is okay but has always felt a little sub-par. In the Altima I’m pretty sure you get real leather seats which is a nice upgrade. I could do without the strange stitching choices, but you can’t win them all.

Rear seat room is good in the Altima. You can transport four adults without bouncing their heads off the roof every time you hit a speed bump. The seats are comfortable and allow easy access to the rear HVAC controls as well as the USB ports provided to keep your children’s devices charged so you can ignore them during the daily drive.

Quality

Nissan has had a choppy history in recent decades with their quality. Some of their cars feel well made and have genuine longevity, others not so much. CVTs are a defined issue and its presence on the Altima would be a concern to me if I were purchasing one. Otherwise, the vehicle feels well made.

CQI – 8. Decent carpet in the Altima.

Value

The Altima still has plenty of competitors to choose from. The two heavyweights are the Camry and Accord. The Accord doesn’t offer AWD in any trim and starts at nearly $40,000 CAD but it’s a Honda and, while a little bland, is a great car. The Camry is the real spoiler because for similar money you can get AWD and similar equipment as the Altima. It’s the better car and is just as good looking. Decisions, decisions. 

Final Thoughts

The mid-sized sedan segment gets smaller every year. Canada in particular has abandoned these vehicles with particular fervor in favor of one SUV or another. We won’t have them for much longer and the Altima will likely disappear from Canada before another refresh. There is a lot to be said for the sedan driving experience and we should enjoy it while we still can.

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