Despite a few high points, the Nissan Altima is not competitive among midsized sedans. In a segment brimming with better cars, the Altima is a lackluster choice. It ranks below virtually all of its competitors with a humdrum driving experience and a below-par reliability record. Among its virtues are a roomy rear seat and good fuel economy. With the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder, we measured a commendable 29 mpg overall.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2008. Side and head protection air bags available from 2000, standard from 2007. ESC available from 2007, standard from 2010.
Road Test

Despite a few high points, the Nissan Altima is not competitive among midsized sedans. In a segment brimming with better cars, the Altima is a lackluster choice. It ranks below virtually all of its competitors with a humdrum driving experience and a below-par reliability record. Among its virtues are a roomy rear seat and good fuel economy.

With the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder, we measured a commendable 29 mpg overall.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • CVT
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter 4 (182 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 (270 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2016 Nissan Altima owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Water leaks occurred when the drain holes next to the moon roof clogged. No where that I could find in the owners manual did it mention it. Luckily my body repair company knwe about and used high pressue air to clean them out. When this drain system clogged water leaked in the cabin roof area."

Anonymous, MS (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Carpeting on the driver's footwell was wet. Found water dripping from under the dash. Nissan dealer found that the sunroof water drain had become clogged."

Anonymous, NY (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"The driver's side door loosened and sagged enough to allow wind noise around the door seals"

David R., FL (2016 Nissan Altima SR 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"rattle in left rear area of car."

Anonymous, PA (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"There was a loud rattle at a specific low RPM when the car was started. The rattle went away after the car warmed up. The dealer said it was an exhaust heat shield. He tightened some brackets and the noise diminished but has not completely disappeared."

Anonymous, (2016 Nissan Altima S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Getting some rattles from the console and some were in the right side dash, glove box or some place in that area once in a while"

Anonymous, IA (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Loose/rattling heat shield

"Excessive “rattling” noise."

Anonymous, AR (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Other/unsure

"The passenger airbag would remain off, even with a 240 lb man in the passenger seat"

Anonymous, MN (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"light doesn't go off, so passenger air bag not active"

Anonymous, NC (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"passenger airbag light stays on with passenger in seat."

Francis S., RI (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Would not work properly. When you tried to use ACCEL car would take off at full throttle until you hit cancel."

Ernest B., ON (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Wouldn't work - the 3 problems seemed connected. All problems were corrected twice. 2nd time seems to have corrected the problem permanently."

Ernest B., ON (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Torque converter

"it started about a year after purchase. It was a recall issue but Nissan would not fix it even though the problem occured long before the car was totalled due to high water damage to engine but not the transmission."

Anonymous, MS (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Noticed a problem on Friday, by Saturday it was a complete equipment failure."

Anonymous, MO (2016 Nissan Altima Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"transmission went bad was replaced on warranty for $100.00 fee / copay"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Nissan Altima Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The transmission would slip sometimes mostly when turning and they replaced it. I also received an extended warrantee"

Anonymous, (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Normal routine brake wear

"During inspection last year it was noted that brakes needed to be replaced due to normal rear"

Anonymous, PA (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"I've owned several cars in the past over 10 years and only had breaks replaced once in 10 years. I've owned the altima 2 years and the breaks are already squeaking. I drive about 10 miles a day without traffic and am more of a coaster than a break person therefore I believe the breaking system is inefficient at best."

Anonymous, TX (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaking

"The front calipers squeaked only in reverse. While still under warranty I took it to my dealer and was told that it was winter and I did not drive my car enough nor did I apply my brakes hard enough. Problem would resolve itself as soon as it warmed up. I told them that was not a satisfactory answer and I talked to the owner of the dealership. He told me his wife had the same problem with her Altima he told her to turn the radio up. I put on new calipers myself for less than $200, problem fixed. I will never take my car back to this dealership nor buy a car from them! Called corp. and got nowhere also."

Anonymous, IN (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I drive 10-15 miles a day in light to no traffic and am a coaster instead of a break person and after 24 months my breaks are squeaking. Can't imagine what they would be like if I drove in traffic and had to use them frequently"

Anonymous, TX (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"Driver has frequent problems with CVT transmission. Often it will not shift allowing to vehicle to highway speeds. This occurs when there is frequent stop-and-go traffic. This would be why the primary driver would not buy a new car with CVT transmission,"

Anonymous, DE (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

"It was slipping and they replaced it with an extended warrantee"

Anonymous, (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"Check engine light came on and had it checked out. Turns out it is a shift solenoid. I haven't had any problems with the transmission shifting though."

Bruce W., CO (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"Problem with front right shock or strut, has taken 2 dealers to try and fix it. Waiting for parts."

Manuel M., PR (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear shocks prematurely failed."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Nissan Altima S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Started about 3 months after buying. Took it twice to car dealer, problem came back. Went to diff. dealer, fixed it in 30 minutes."

Anonymous, PR (2016 Nissan Altima 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Backup or other camera/sensors

"when it gets overly humid/wet outside, the camera fades in and out. I have no idea what the real problem is, but it could be poor electrical relays"

Anonymous, IL (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"from time to time the display goes dark unfortunately it never happens at the dealership so as of now hasn't been fixed."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Nissan Altima Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Issue involved ability to enter multiple destinations. System would freeze when attempting to continue to second destination, requiring me to restart engine, re-select destination. There were also broken links: Certain saved destinations no longer worked. When selected, I would get the most recent destination instead."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Nissan Altima SL 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Locks and latches

"Back door could open while driving"

Anonymous, OH (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"a valve needed to be replaced inside the engine and the engine reprogrammed which my local mechanic could not do and had to be taken to a dealer for reprogramming. I was without the vehicle for the better part of a week."

Anonymous, PA (2016 Nissan Altima S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveline vibration

"The engine / transmission fluctuates RPM's while engaged in D .. the check engine light appeared, returned to dealer who replaced the 'lower portion' of the trans; After recently making a 3000 mile trip to Dallas, Tx., from SW Fl., the problem still exists, yet the dealer acknowledges the existing problem, yet is unable to get a Computer Code to verify that the Transmission is faulty and needs replacement. The problem is inherent to the CVT in the Altima models as admitted to by Service Director at Nissan, but without the Computer Code the dealership is unable / unwilling to address the situation for fear of not being compensated by Corporate Nissan. And, this is the second Nissan Altima which has had the same unresolved CVT failure without resolve."

Fred E., FL (2016 Nissan Altima S 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"this past week the AC does not cool. Fan works. I have to turn system/fan/mode/??? off & on. Not sure exactly what really makes the AC start to cool. It takes about 10 min. of messing w/all of the buttons before the AC starts to cool. I plan on taking car to dealer"

Sandra M., TX (2016 Nissan Altima SV 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

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