2018 Nissan Altima: Release date, prices, specs and features

Nissan’s top-selling Altima sedan is back for 2018 with new standard safety features, a simplified model lineup, and new option packages. In 2016, Nissan sold 307,380 Altimas in the U.S., making it the fifth best-selling car, lagging only Toyota’s Camry and Corolla and Honda’s Civic and Accord. Through September 2017, the Altima held its position among the top five cars in U.S. sales, although pickup trucks and crossovers dominate the overall market.

The 2018 Nissan Altima is the sixth year of the midsize sedan’s fifth generation, which started with 2013 Altima models offered for sale starting in June 2012. While there are changes for the 2018 models, the exterior appearance remains the same. Press photos Nissan supplied for the 2018 Altima were from the 2017 model year, a practice we noted with the 2018 Honda Civic, another carryover model.

What’s new for 2018

New standard features for 2018 Altimas focus on safety. This year, all models include Nissan’s Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW) systems. In combination, AEB and I-FCW use radar to monitor proximity to the vehicle ahead. If the cars get too close, I-FCW alerts the driver with audible and visual warnings. Lacking driver response, AEB hits the brakes by itself (hence the “automatic” part of the name).

There are also new and revised option packages for specific models. For example, the 2018 2.5 SR Special Edition package adds NissanConnect with Navigation and Android Auto, a 7-inch color display, Prima-Tex seats, heated front seats, and unique finish details. There are also new technology upgrade packages for the 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL trim Altimas.

The top-of-the-line 2018 Altima 3.5 SL gains standard Intelligent Cruise Control, an upgraded version of NissanConnect with Navigation, and additional services including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan simplified the Altima lineup for 2018. The base Altima 2.5 and Altima 3.5 SR models are gone, along with their lower starting prices. Other special editions may pop up during the year — and we’ll update this article if and when they do.

Engines and transmissions

The 2018 Altimas continue to feature a 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder motor as the base model engine, paired with Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The 2.5-liter engine produces 179 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The horsepower and torque are the same for all Altima 2.5 models, but the control system is a bit different for the 2.5 SR which adds paddle shift support and a manual mode for drivers looking for more direct gear control, albeit with virtual gears.

The 2018 Altima 3.5 SL is the sole model with Nissan’s 3.5-liter, DOHC 24-valve V6. The V6 bumps up the horsepower to 270 and torque to 251 lb-ft. Don’t be surprised if, in coming years, all Altimas have four-cylinder turbocharged motors for more power and better fuel efficiency — that’s the route other automakers are taking.

Tech features

Passive and active safety and driver assist technologies are major focus areas in the new Altimas, as they are with most new models from all automakers, although the list of assist and safety tech varies from brand to brand. As mentioned, all Altimas have AEB and I-FCW.

Altima SV and SL models have standard radar-based Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Intelligent Cruise Control, optional with 2.5 SL models and standard on the 3.5 SL, uses forward-looking radar to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead, braking to maintain the distance and even stopping the car if necessary.

Besides an array of airbags, Altimas all come equipped with Active Understeer Control, Vehicle Dynamic Control,  and a Traction Control System, plus power-assisted braking that includes an anti-lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution, and brake assist.

How to choose a 2018 Nissan Altima

To keep it simple as you check out the differences between the five Altima trims, every model that begins with 2.5 has the 2.5L four-cylinder engine and the single 3.5 model this year comes with the 3.5-liter V-6.

As the models increase in price, each has more standard safety, convenience, comfort, and luxury features. The five trims in the 2018 Nissan Altima lineup include the 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, and 3.5 SL, with starting prices range from $23,140 to $33, 510.

The 2018 Altima 2.5 S, starting price $23,140, is the new base model. As such, it includes the long list of standard equipment from last year’s 2.5 model, plus the upgrades that came with last year’s 2.5 S. For 2018, the 2.5 S includes remote keyless entry with push-button start, a Drive-Assist information display, Bluetooth support for hands-free phone calls and streaming audio, and individual tire pressure monitoring.

The 2.5 S audio system includes AM/FM/CD with six speakers. Other standard features include illuminated steering wheel controls for audio and the now-standard cruise control, and 60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks. The dashboard has a 5-inch color monitor, a USB port, and hands-free texting support. Finally, the new Altimas have a rearview camera, illuminated vanity mirrors, Nissan’s Intelligent Key, and automatic headlights.

The “sporty” 2018 2.5 SR starts at $24,200. The 2.5 SR has the 2.5 S features plus 18-inch aluminum alloy sport wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, spoiler, smoked headlight housings, fog lights, daytime running lights (DRL), and paddle shifters and manual shift mode to give the driver a feeling of more direct transmission control. Other 2.5 SR features include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, and unique sport interior accents. The driver gets special treatment in the 2.5 SR, with an 8-way power driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar support.

Starting at $25,785, the 2018 2.5 SV adds to the 2.5 S feature list with moderate comfort, convenience, and safety features including 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control, and blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert safety features. The 2.5 SV also includes Sirius XM satellite radio, daytime running lights, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the same driver-coddling 8-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar support.

The 2018 Altima’s biggest step toward luxury is taken by the 2018 2.5 SL, which starts at $28,995. In addition to the SV features, the 2.5 SL has a Bose premium audio system with nine speakers, leather upholstery, heated front seats, four-way power front passenger’s seat, and a leather-wrapped shift knob. The SL has premium interior trim, rear passenger air conditioning vents, a HomeLink universal transceiver, and automatically dimming inside rearview mirror with digital compass. The SL’s upgrade list keeps going with one-touch automatic up/down with auto reverse for the passenger-side front-window, manual folding outside mirrors with LED turn indicators, a heated steering wheel, and heated outside mirrors.

The 3.5 SL is the most fully equipped Altima for 2018 and jumps in price by $4,515 to $33,510. The 3.5 SL adds 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, LED headlights, and NissanConnect’s navigation system and Mobile Apps. A 7-inch color touchscreen display manages the infotainment system, which includes Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. The SL also has standard front and rear sonar for parking assistance and a power moonroof.

Trim 2018 Altima 2.5 S 2018 Altima 2.5 SR 2018 Altima 2.5 SV 2018 Altima 2.5 SL 2018 Altima 3.5 SL
Base price $23,140 $24,200 $25,785 $28,995 $33,510
Drive wheels Front Front Front Front Front
Base engine 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder  3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6
Base horsepower 179 hp 179 hp 179 hp 179 hp 270 hp
Base torque 177 lb-ft 177 lb-ft 177 lb-ft 177 lb-ft 251 lb-ft
Transmission Xtronic CVT Xtronic CVT Xtronic CVT Xtronic CVT with paddle shift and manual mode Xtronic CVT
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity (gallons)  18.0 18.0 18.0 18.0 18.0
Fuel economy 27/38/31 mpg city/highway/combined 26/37/30 mpg city/highway/combined 27/38/31 mpg city/highway/combined  27/38/31 mpg city/highway/combined  22/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined
Base wheels 16-inch steel 18-inch aluminum alloy 17-inch aluminum alloy 17-inch aluminum alloy 18-inch aluminum alloy
Body style 4-door sedan 4-door sedan 4-door sedan 4-door sedan 4-door sedan
Seat upholstery Cloth Sport cloth Cloth Leather Leather

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