The 2021 Nissan Altima has a lot going for it. It will appeal to many consumers because of its sporty aesthetic, modern technology, and affordable pricing. It has a more athletic shape than what many of its competitors have, and since it has the infotainment and safety systems that have the features people are looking for, it's likely to have many fans.
What's New for 2021?
For this model year, Nissan hasn't made too many changes to the Altima as a whole. One thing that performance-oriented drivers will want to pay attention to is that the turbocharged engine has been taken away from the Platinum trim. If this is something that a customer wants, he or she will have to stick with the SR trim. This move has rearranged the pricing of the various trims. Note that the SV is now cheaper that it was previously, but it also has fewer amenities. There is the opportunity to bump up the SV's level of luxury with the Premium Package.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Nissan Altima – The Pros
1. Turbocharged Engine Available
The regular engine on the Altima is a 2.5-liter model with four cylinders. It actually provides a lot of pep, coming with 188 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. However, there's another option for the drivers out there who love hitting the gas pedal and accelerating quickly when they see green lights or are merging onto highways. The turbocharged engine that the Altima can come with has a displacement of two liters. It can generate up to 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. This would be quite fun to control.
2. VC-Turbo Is Exciting
In addition to being powered by the turbo engine, the SR VC-Turbo model has more unique advantages. It has paddle shifters that can be used in manual shift mode. This lets people decide when to shift gears, just as they would with a manual. This trim has a sport-tuned suspension so it can do a better job of taking turns at relatively fast speeds. It also gets to ride on 19-inch wheels. Its stylistic details include black side mirrors, a carbon-fiber interior trim, and sport cloth seat trim.
3. Respectable Fuel Economy
For not being a hybrid vehicle, the Altima does pretty well for itself in the efficiency department. It can earn up to 39 miles per gallon on the highway. On city streets, it can achieve 28 miles per gallon, giving it a combined fuel economy of 32 miles per gallon.
When the turbo engine is under the hood of the car, things are still fairly efficient. The more powerful version of the Altima can earn an estimated 34 miles per gallon on the highway and 25 miles per gallon in the city. Its combined fuel economy is just shy of 30 miles per gallon.
4. A Nice Infotainment system
The base model features a seven-inch touchscreen, and all the other trims have eight-inch touchscreens. Though the base S trim doesn't have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or SiriusXM Radio, all the rest do. Navigation is available, and it provides people with turn-by-turn directions that take traffic into account. Voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free are standard components, as is Bluetooth. On higher trims, there could be a Bose premium audio system.
5. Sleek Design
The Altima doesn't look like a traditional sedan. Sure, it has the size and shape of one, but it has many strong features that make it stand out. Its LED headlights angle down slightly, pointing toward the V Motion grille. That grille could either be chrome or dark chrome, depending on the trim selected. More chrome could be found on the exterior components, and at the back, there could be dual chrome exhaust finishers. The roof angles down as it hits the trunk, and this gives the car a more aerodynamic body.
6. Safety Shield
Every Altima has at least a few driver-assist systems built into it. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning is a standard part of the safety package, as is automatic emergency braking. The system can even detect the presence of pedestrians in the roadway, and this is a significant bonus feature. Further, the Altima comes standard with Intelligent Lane Intervention. With this system, a driver will receive an alert when he/she starts to drift out of a lane, and the car could correct the steering, in a safe and gentle manner.
On the rest of the trims, there are more features that are included with the safety suite, which the company calls Nissan Safety Shield. The SV and the higher trims all have blind spot and rear cross traffic monitoring. It it seems like the Altima is about to back into an object, the car can automatically apply pressure the brakes. The top-level Platinum has an Intelligent Around View Monitor to provide more information about the car's surroundings.
7. Room for Cargo
The Altima has a 60/40 split bench seat in the back. This gives people the ability to create much more cargo room if needed. When one or both sides of the rear seatback can be folded down, the trunk in combination of the back of the cabin can be utilized for storage. The trunk has a decent size, having a volume of 15.4 cubic feet. Though the Altima looks pretty compact, it's still practical.
8. Remotely Access the Car
Through the NissanConnect Services application on a smartphone, someone can start his or her engine from the comfort of a home or office. This can be useful when it's particularly hot or cold outside and the climate system needs a few minutes to make things more comfortable. Remote access can be used to pinpoint the location of the car, lock the doors, and sound the horn. Since the car can be set to work with Amazon Alexa, people can use voice commands with an Alexa-compatible device to get the engine started.
9. Stay Comfortable
It was just mentioned that the Altima can be set up with a remote start system with climate control capabilities. However, even if that isn't utilized, there are other ways that the Altima can take care of its passengers. Heated seats come on many trims, and the steering wheel can be heated to provide additional warmth. The dual-zone automatic temperature system and rear passenger vents that some trims have can make a difference in the overall comfort level of everyone in the car.
10. The Key Is Intelligent
All of the Nissan Altimas come with something called a Nissan Intelligent Key. This type of key takes convenience to a new level. The car can sense when the key is in close proximity. If this is the case, someone just has to touch the sensor on the door handle to unlock it. To turn on the car, the key can stay tucked away safely as the driver pushes a button to start the engine. There is a handy lockout protection function that makes it impossible to leave one's keys in the car and lock the doors from the outside.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Nissan Altima – The Cons
1. Can't Have a Turbo Engine and All-Wheel Drive
If people want something extra in terms of performance and/or handling, Nissan has limited the opportunities. The company makes people choose between getting the turbocharge engine and the all-wheel drivetrain. The Altima can't have both, unfortunately. For some, this will be disappointing, since they may enjoy having the boost of power and anticipate having to deal with winter weather.
2. Second Row Is Small
Leg room in the second row is only 35.2 inches. That's enough for most people to fit back there, but it's far from being what anyone would call spacious. For short trips, many adults would be fine sitting in the back. On longer trips, though, there may be some competition over who gets to sit in the front, where there is up to 43.8 inches of leg room.
3. No Smartphone Compatibility on Base Model
These days, having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is commonplace. Many automotive companies are integrating these programs into their standard infotainment systems. Nissan has chosen to include smartphone compatibility in the Altima's SV trim and higher. It wouldn't have been difficult to integrate it into the base model as well, but for some reason, Nissan chose not to do so. It's going to be something that potential consumers will notice.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Nissan Altima vs 2021 Subaru Legacy
Subaru is known for building safe vehicles. The Legacy does have many driver-assist technologies, but it doesn't have the available 360-degree camera monitoring system that the Altima does. It also doesn't have anything comparable to the Altima's traffic sign recognition ability.
2021 Nissan Altima vs 2021 Mazda6
Even with a turbo engine, the Mazda6 doesn't hit the mark that the Altima SR VC-Turbo has set in terms of horsepower. To some people, a difference of about 20 horsepower is going to matter. Plus, the Mazda6 is only available as a front-wheel-drive vehicle. This is going to be a deal-breaker for customers who feel that they need their next cars to have the extra traction provided by an all-wheel drivetrain.
For being a sedan, the Altima has a bit of a special flair. It's going to be a fun car to drive, and people will appreciate that it has a more modern vibe than many of the other sedans in the market. The 2021 Nissan Altima would be a smart car to purchase if someone wants a reliable model that has advanced technology and will travel around town in style.
• Why buy a 2020 Nissan Altima? w/ pros vs cons