Rental Review - 2020 Nissan Altima 2.5S

Messages
591
Location
Atlanta, GA
So while my 2012 Sportwagen is stuck in purgatory at the dealership for a new headliner, new sunroof drains and some carpet due to a water leak (CPO is covering it - $50 deductible) and they did not have any loaners (would have loved to try a 2019/2020 Jetta) they booked me with Enterprise where I was handed the keys to a 2020 Nissan Altima 2.5S with ~12k miles on the clock. I have had a number of Altima's as rentals (4th-6th generation) and this 6th generation is just a reminder on how solid of a value these cars are. Even in base S trim it comes very well equipped with pretty much everything you would want if looking in the low $20k price range. Power, handling, ride: So call me crazy but I miss the "real" CVT operation from the 4th gen and early 5th gen. 5th gen switched to simulated shifts but mainly only while driving hard and it still mostly operated like a CVT during normal driving. They have now expanded the fake shifts to some lower speed normal acceleration and in this car they are noticeable - they took 1 of the major benefits of a CVT (shock free shifts) and tossed it out the window. Power is completely adequate for the 2.5 4 banger - I believe its rated at 188HP and 180 lb/ft or about class average. It is a bit slow to get on the boil when you mat it, prior gens seemed to have faster to react CVT's but my last one was probably 2 years ago so my memory may be foggy. It is more sedate driving that the 2.5/CVT combo really shines - when you are riding the big 4 cylinder torque wave you can really get up to speed pretty quicklywith the engine sitting around 2k RPM and you barely hear yourself accelerating. Best thing this side of an electric car for sedate acceleration. Ride and handling are decent enough. I know the Altima has always sat on the sportier side of the midsize segment, but it seems they keep making each generation lean more and more towards the comfort end of the spectrum. The steering is a major buzzkill as its pinky finger light and just feels like it is disconnected from the wheels. The 16" wheels on this car handle bumps quite nicely and the overall structure is incredibly solid. Interior, exterior, styling and features: Interior is pretty ho hum. Perfectly functional and easy to use but its not going to win any styling awards, honestly it is kind of boring. Has standard fare Nissan switchgear which dates back at least 2 generations. Large display screen, Apple Carplay and Android Auto are all standard even in this base model and it was ULTRA easy to connect my phone to the car for music and phone. Base model comes standard with autonomous emergency braking but is strangely missing blind spot warning - I believe there are extra packages that have the lane keep assist and adaptive cruise. Remote start seems to be standard as this S has it. Fuel Economy: I believe the Altima is one of the midsize fuel economy champs at 28/39 - I think the Camry might slightly beat it at 30/40. My short trip commute really sucks it so pretty much any car I have driven gets pretty horrific fuel economy. I reset the fuel economy monitor when I picked the car up and I am sitting about 18MPG average over ~30 miles - 37% below EPA city, 2019 Camry I had as a rental with same commute was about the same over ~30 miles. I will say my turbo diesel does not lose as much MPG with the crap commute - my 2012 is rated at 29 city and I average 24-25 MPG on each fill up so only lose about 16-17% over city. Overall: These really are solid cars and very pleasurable to have as rentals - great long distance cruisers from my experience. I'm still not terribly convinced on the Nissan CVT reliability and resale on the Altima is pretty horrific because Nissan dumps them en-masse to fleet customers. I would vote this one a lease it type car so you can dump it before the CVT can cause issues and not have to suffer from the depreciation hit.
 

pezzy669

Thread starter
Messages
591
Location
Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted by skyactiv
How are the seats. Nissan use to be a little better than the competition in that regard.
They honestly are spectacular and have been across all 3 generations I have driven, these even beat my Volkswagen seats which I have always considered some of the best for long distance comfort. I have done a number of 7-8 hour days behind the wheel of the 4th and 5th generation and never had any issues with starting to get sore/achy. As of the last generation Nissan has something called zero gravity seats which are supposed to be the bees knees for comfort and support, but even the non-Zero gravity seats in the 4th gen were great for long distance cruising.
 
Messages
572
Location
Ohio
I've driven an Altima since 03 and they've been great. My current 09 Is an oil burner, but only use it to run to Detroit airport, park it and leave it set for a couple weeks. Even at that I've never replaced anything but brakes and tires. I spend half the years in rentals and I'm not a Camry fan, the Honda's ride hard, especially in Philly. Hyundai' and Kia feel cheap to me. I got a Nissan SR with the 3.5 and holy crap was that fun. My wife drives a 2018 rogue and when my son gets out of college I'm getting the SR.
 
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wdn

Messages
1,254
Location
NH
The Altima actually gets identical fuel economy to the 2020 Camry LE for city, highways and 32 MPG combined. The Subaru Legacy sedan gets 30 combined but it's AWD of course. The 2020 Impreza Premium which is a hatchback with a 2.0 gets 31 MPG. The programmed shifts on CVT is the direction they are all going. It still has all the fuel economy benefits of CVT but people asked for it. It is funny they use different numbers of programmed shift point for example Camry and Legacy both have 8, while Impreza has 7. I do not have a problem with it but opinions vary. People expect it to shift like an auto transmission, automakers have researched the issue. I rented a Altima a year ago from Hertz in DC/Reston, VA area so would have been a 2019. Probably like yours. it was an OK ride. It was pleasant. Extremely generic car which is not a bad thing. I have driven a lot worse. Traveling on business you don't want surprises in a rental car.
 
Messages
602
Location
Earth
The Altima rents and leases great. Nissan's worth owning and maintaining long term are the FM chassis stuff, Z,G,M,FX,GTR and the pickups.
 
Messages
1,099
Location
MO
I had one of these as a rental in January for a week while on a work trip. I put about 200 miles on it during that time, I agree that overall it was a good car. I could not get used to the CVT however, under fast acceleration it always felt like the transmission was "slipping" and not that quick on power delivery. This was my first time every driving a CVT however so take my comments with a grain of salt.
 
Messages
12,890
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Thanks for the review, it's a good one! smile I like the Altimas and have since I bought my first one in '04. I especially like their overall demeanor(not Accord, Mazda6). More pre 2018 Camry-like demeanor. I really hope NISSAN fixes their reliability problems and gets back to where they once were. Maybe not quite HonYota but, they were a good alternative for those who wanted something different. They've certainly been aware of the issues by now especially their CVTs. And the fact that NISSAN sales are down a staggering ~70%. I mean, for a car company that was ~ 4th largest in sale in the world, you'd fix that $#!+ GEE, ya think?
 
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Messages
2,898
Location
Chicagoland
I was pleasantly surprised by the power of the 2018 Altima rental I had. It was also comfortable and kind of fun, if a bit soft, to throw through corners. Engine/exhaust had a nice sound as well.
 
Messages
989
Location
SE PA
I drove my dad's 2013 Altima a few times, I was very impressed how soft the ride was and the front seats were extremely comfortable! If the CVT's very reliable I would buy one.
 
Messages
15,230
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
Thanks for the review but .... yawn. And, no you don't want to drive the new Jetta pile of junk. I have one parked in the driveway right now. I dont know if anybody makes a fun, really sporty midsized sedan for under 23K anymore. Audi? BMW? Alfa?
 
Messages
2,301
Location
Southwest Virginia
I bought the 2019 Altima 2.5 SL AWD last year and now have 9,500 miles on it. It is my second Altima, having had the 2008 SL for 11 years and 128,000 miles with no problems, just routine maintenance. I agree basic trims are, well, basic - but the fully loaded SL trim is as luxurious as any luxury car I have driven, even better than the BMW 530e I rented in Scotland last year which cost twice as much (and which had the most uncomfortable seats ever!). The ride is smooth and quiet, the seats very comfortable, and it averages 30 mpg even with AWD. On the eight 450+ mile highway road trips I have taken with this car so far I have hit as high as 39 mpg (actual calculation, not car computer MPG). MSRP fully loaded as below was $34,225, but after working 10 local dealers against each other by email and phone I got mine for $29,500. If you are considering a Nissan, be aware their fiscal year ends on March 31st and they need to move them as it approaches. I bought mine on March 27th and it was a lovefest. I couldn't be more happy with this car. Here is a photo of my car in my driveway and a list of its features. [Linked Image] [Linked Image] And the interior from their catalog: [Linked Image]
 
Messages
811
Location
Denver
Originally Posted by ARCOgraphite
Thanks for the review but .... yawn. And, no you don't want to drive the new Jetta pile of junk. I have one parked in the driveway right now. I dont know if anybody makes a fun, really sporty midsized sedan for under 23K anymore. Audi? BMW? Alfa?
Not a sedan or mid size but........... the 2 Elantra GT hatchbacks I have are almost perfect cars for their segment. Fun to drive and around 22K or so. I really can't find a weak spot with them.
 

wdn

Messages
1,254
Location
NH
It is only week 5 of the year and Nissan is already offering $2,000 customer cash on 2020 Altima SL. That plus 10% off MSRP and there is your $5,000 savings off sticker price right there. It just means the sticker price is quite inflated to begin with. It's a current model year and barely into the calendar year. Anything they can make from a retail customer on these cars must be just gravy, so much of Nissan's sales are to Hertz and Avis.
 

wdn

Messages
1,254
Location
NH
Here is an example of how quickly these cars depreciate, or viewed another way how good a deal you can get on just a 2 year old Altima from Hertz Car Sales. Local store has dozens of them within $500 of this price. Certified Pre-Owned 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL Sedan 41,500 miles $13,995
 
Messages
4,500
Location
Los Gatos, CA
Originally Posted by wdn
Here is an example of how quickly these cars depreciate, or viewed another way how good a deal you can get on just a 2 year old Altima from Hertz Car Sales. Local store has dozens of them within $500 of this price. Certified Pre-Owned 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL Sedan 41,500 miles $13,995
The local Silicon Valley Hertz store has like 30 Altimas with 31K to 35K for $13K or less. Most are hundreds less. Pick your color...
 
Messages
15,230
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
Originally Posted by marine65
Originally Posted by ARCOgraphite
Thanks for the review but .... yawn. And, no you don't want to drive the new Jetta pile of junk. I have one parked in the driveway right now. I dont know if anybody makes a fun, really sporty midsized sedan for under 23K anymore. Audi? BMW? Alfa?
Not a sedan or mid size but........... the 2 Elantra GT hatchbacks I have are almost perfect cars for their segment. Fun to drive and around 22K or so. I really can't find a weak spot with them.
I don't doubt it. The Kia Forte Sedan I rented in 2012 was a very well sorted car. Perfect. Compact is big enough for me. But I want RWD I do recall a Buick Regal GS Turbo a few years ago but its a pig a 3800 lbs! Now I recall the Lexus IS 250 which is RWD. Can you get a stick in that?
 
Messages
602
Location
Earth
The rental places sell the base engine Altima's cheap because they know in another 3 years they will be the $4995 special at a buy here pay here store simply do to the quantity made and the price point the engines and transmissions were built to. The only Altima's that hold their value past 7 years somewhat better are the high spec ones with the VQ engines and ideally a manual, but even the Altima 3.5 CVT supposedly has the same Jatco CVT t as the Maxima which is much better then the base one in their volume cars.
 
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