Buyer's Guide

2021 Nissan Altima
Select a Different Model (9 Available): Platinum AWD Sedan
Fuel Economy $ 25 / 35 mpg
Safety (IIHS) Best Pick
Horsepower 182@6,000
Torque 178@3,600
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2021 Nissan Altima MODEL OVERVIEW


  • Good fuel economy
  • Impressive optional ProPilot Assist
  • Available AWD


  • Lack of steering feel
  • High depreciation
  • Poorly tuned CVT in 2.0T model

Positioned above the compact Sentra and below the full-size Maxima, the Altima is the middle child of Nissan's sedan lineup. Nissan issued a full redesign of the Altima for the 2019 model year, and the family sedan has been relatively unchanged since. The Altima competes in the midsize sedan segment alongside cars such as the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, and Subaru Legacy.

What's New

  • Reshuffled trim levels with SV repositioned below SR
  • 2.0T engine now only available on SR, no longer offered with Platinum
  • Available SV Premium package
  • Safety Shield 360 now offered on all trims
  • Driver Assist package available on Altima S

What We Think

The Altima's 2019 redesign brought the midsize sedan's style more in line with the Maxima, which Nissan refers to as a four-door sports car. Unfortunately, the Altima looks sportier than it actually is. The chassis is lifeless and unrefined. It wouldn't bother us as much if the snooze-worthy handling was a side effect of soft, cushy ride quality, but especially on 2.0T cars, that is not the case.

The interior isn't class-leading, either. Even though the seats are comfy and the cabin design is clean, some material choices are subpar. The base engine is acceptable if a little loud, and we wish that the CVT linked to the variable compression turbo-four engine were tuned better. That said, we appreciate that the Altima gives consumers another affordable AWD option besides the Subaru Legacy.

Although the Altima offers strong fuel economy, a great ProPilot semi-autonomous system, and decent standard equipment, it fails to impress in this space. In our recent family sedan comparison, the Altima finished dead last.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Most Altimas use a 2.5-liter non-turbo I-4 mated with a CVT automatic. FWD is standard, and AWD is optional on most trims, though choosing AWD necessitates a slight drop in power. The 2.5-liter is rated at 182-188 hp and 178-180 lb-ft of torque, depending on the drive type. When we tested an AWD Altima 2.5SL, it reached 60 mph in an acceptable 7.4 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 25-28/35-39 mpg city/highway.

Nissan's novel variable-compression 2.0-liter turbo-four is offered exclusively on the Altima SR 2.0T and only with FWD. Its output measures 236 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Our testing reveals a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds, and this engine's novel tech means you don't lose much in terms of efficiency. The Altima SR 2.0T returns 25/34 mpg.


The Altima is a strong performer in IIHS safety testing. It earns perfect scores in all six crashworthiness tests and Acceptable or Marginal ratings for the LED and halogen headlights, respectively. In the two front crash prevention evaluations, the car earned Superior and Advanced ratings (available scores are basic, advanced, and superior). The Altima is a 2021 Top Safety Pick+. It also earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

Every Altima includes automatic emergency braking with forward collision warning as standard, but the full Safety Shield 360 suite is standard on all trims but the entry-level Altima S. It includes emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams. Nissan's ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving tech is standard on the Altima SL and Platinum and available as an option on the SV.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Every Altima seats five passengers with 43.8 inches of legroom up front and 35.2 inches in the back seat. Cargo volume in the trunk measures 15.4 cubic feet.


Although the base Altima S makes do with a 5.0-inch infotainment display, all other trims feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six-speaker audio is standard. Navigation is included on the SL and Platinum trims, as is a nine-speaker Bose premium audio system. All trims include remote engine start.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 2.5 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, Xtronic Continuously Variable Automatic Mode Select
Platinum AWD Sedan
Passenger Car
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Maintenance Warranty Months
Corrosion Warranty Months
Powertrain Warranty Miles
Full Warranty Miles
Powertrain Warranty Months
Full Warranty Months
Roadside Assistance Miles
Maintenance Warranty Miles
Roadside Assistance Months
IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Nissan announces a Customer Bonus Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021
$500 Nissan announces a Customer Conquest offer towards the purchase or lease of an eligible Nissan to qualifying customers that trade in a Honda vehicle. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$2450 Nissan announces a NMAC Lease Cash offer on select models when financed with NMAC. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021
$0 0% Financing for a maximum term of 36 Months - Nissan announces special APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$0 0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 48, 60 Months - Nissan announces special APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$750 Nissan announces an APR Cash offer on select models when financed with NMAC. 07-06-2021
$1750 Nissan announces a Customer Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021