Nissan's 2018 Altima, a popular midsized sedan, has earned Consumer Report's "Recommended" rating because the automaker has made advanced safety features standard across all trims and its reliability improved to above average.

CR awards extra points to a vehicle’s Overall Score if it has forward-collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) as a standard feature on all trim levels, says Shawn Sinclair, a CR automotive engineer. The two systems reduce rear-end crashes and save lives.

The extra points lifted the Altima's Overall Score to 72. Previously, these advanced safety features were available only on more expensive versions of the car. As CR noted after testing the older 2017 Altima, the cost to add optional FCW and AEB meant pushing the car’s price to almost $32,000. Now those features can be had in 2018 models that start as low as $24,000.

A lower price for added peace of mind is part of a growing trend in the car market. Consumers don’t have to automatically choose luxury models or upper-trim levels to get important safety features. (Read "You Don't Have to Buy a Luxury Car to Get These 4 Advanced Safety Features.")

More on Advanced Safety Systems

In response, more automakers are fitting these safety systems into their vehicles. This move is being done in cooperation with agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as part of a long-term plan to make FCW and AEB standard on nearly every new vehicle by 2022.

“Making AEB standard on the 2018 Altima, plus on six of our best-selling products, means a million Nissan vehicles will feature this important safety innovation,” said Michael Bunce, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America.

Safety is of course important to family car shoppers, but it's not the only concern. The Altima does well in some other key areas, delivering good fuel economy and rear-seat room, and being “super-friendly to child-seat installations using a seat belt," as CR's road test notes.

But this is a very competitive category, and the Altima came up short in several other areas, our testers found. CR’s review of the Altima made note of the car’s mediocre driving behavior, which included “overly light” steering and a ride that felt “superficially soft.” Although CR recommends the Altima, it does rank near the bottom of its category. If you’re considering buying it, make sure it meets the needs you’re most concerned about.  

Read the complete Nissan Altima road test.

2018 Nissan Altima forward-collision warning