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2023 Nissan Altima SR 2.0 Experience: Sensitive and somewhat sporty sedan

Verdict t: The 2023 Nissan Altima 2.0 SR isn’t as sporty as it looks, but it’s a nice midsize sedan that’s fast, comfortable, and convenient.

Compared to the competition: Altima compares favorably with other mainstream midsize sedans; Its optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine isn’t quite as powerful as the liftback engines in the Hyundai Sonata, though.

Kia K5 and Toyota Camry, but it feels almost as fast. However, the Altima does not have a hybrid version, like the Sonata, Camry, and Honda Accord.


The current Nissan Altima isn’t outdated—it’s as rudimentary as something completely redesigned for 2019—but in some ways, it feels like a car designed for another era; Compact and midsize SUVs, such as the Nissan Rogue and Pathfinder, are the family favorite of most American consumers these days.

However, midsize sedans like the Altima are powerhouses that offer sleeker styling and sharper cornering power than typical SUVs.

I drove the 2023 Altima 2.0 SR on a Thanksgiving drive, and it passed as a respectable SUV—along with the premium sedans of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Related: 2023 Nissan Altima: New Face, Air Conditioning, and More Standard Safety

Altima received a mild refresh for the 2023 model year, bringing a redesigned front end, a new design for the available 17- and 19-inch alloy wheels, some new color options, and most importantly, a 12-inch touchscreen for infotainment. .3 inch new. . The main display on the 2022 sedan is an 8-inch touchscreen. The base model now comes with a higher level of standard safety features, and new options include wireless charging and Apple CarPlay connectivity to wireless smartphones; Android Auto is still wired only.

2023 Nissan Altima 2.0 SAR | Photo from Cars.com by Christian Lantry

It is turbocharged and is almost sporty in appearance

A simple move up a trim level for 2023 means the 2.0 SR model we tested is now the top-of-the-line car in the Altima lineup, replacing the discontinued Platinum model.

Opting for the VC-Turbo 2.0 SR is the only way to get the best of the Altima’s engine: a 2.0-liter VC-Turbo four-cylinder with variable compression ratio, making 248 horsepower on the premium petrol and 236 horsepower on the regular petrol.

The specs are respectable—lighter than the Altima’s standard 188-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder—but less potent than the optional engines of some competitors.

The Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5 both offer a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 290 horsepower, and the Camry has a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 starting at 301 horsepower.

The Accord used to offer a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produced 252 horsepower, but that engine was dropped in the Accord’s redesign for 2023, leaving only the 192-horsepower base engine and power pack.

Hybrid engine with 204 hp. Like the K5 and Camry, the Altima only offers all-wheel drive with its four-cylinder engine.

If you want all-weather traction and solid acceleration in a midsize sedan, the Subaru Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive and offers an optional 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 260 horsepower.

The Altima SR 2.0 doesn’t feel quick, but the turbo’s power ramps up nicely enough to provide healthy passing power.

The exhaust note is quiet during cruising at high speed but can sound a little “jittery” on acceleration. Despite the engine, the Altima only came with a fully automatic transmission.

CVTs are good for smoothness and fuel economy, but not so good at providing a sportier driving experience.

Instead of the aggressive shifting and shifting of traditional sport automatic transmissions, CVTs have a “rubber” feel, with engine revs temporarily rising more than they are intended to accelerate. The SR trim level has paddles on the steering wheel that simulate the shift feel of a custom automatic transmission, but the feel isn’t quite as convincing.

2023 Nissan Altima 2.0 SAR | Photo from Cars.com by Christian Lantry
The Altima 2.0 SR is EPA-rated 25/34/29 mpg city/highway/combined, which is 2-3 mpg combined better than rivals Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota.

The fuel economy I found matched the EPA’s estimate: With the car loaded up and running on regular gasoline, I averaged 31.6 mpg in roughly 760 miles of mostly driving. Cars with temperatures between 30 and 40.

The SR trim has sport suspension and 19-inch wheels with low-profile all-season tires.

The ride quality is wobbly over city bumps, but it also rocks well at highway speeds.

Handling is precise and competent (better in fact than typical compact or midsize SUVs), but I wouldn’t call it a true sports sedan.

Reversals don’t communicate well, and the Altima doesn’t have a selectable drivetrain of any kind.

There’s no Sport mode to dial in heavy throttle feel or soft throttle response, and no Eco mode to fine-tune throttle response and media tuning.

These are the most desirable discounts for the 2023 Tourer.

The room is spacious and comfortable

The inside is fun, with a good gaming feel.

The SR model gets a significantly updated roof for 2023, with bright orange and white accents, and all Altimas come with Nissan’s “Zero Gravity” seats designed to reduce fatigue on long trips. I found them very supportive and comfortable during my six-hour ride but felt terrible on my back.

I’m also concerned that the soft “drop” effect of the cushions will make the seats uncomfortably hot on summer days, and the Altima doesn’t offer well-ventilated seats. Passenger space is competitive with the Altima class.

There’s plenty of room in the front seats, with plenty of room in the back for full-size adults, though the roofline drops slightly in the back.

Rear legroom also becomes challenging for tall people when the front seats are properly adjusted.

Based on Nissan’s measurements, the Altima’s trunk has 15.4 cubic feet of space, which is in line with the rest of the class.

I was worried I’d have to play “Tetris from the trunk” when loading the car for my family’s trip, but all of our stuff—two mini suitcases, a large gym bag, a horn bag, a large skateboard, and two large trash bags filled with furnishings and gifts—fit without too much. out of trouble.

However, I had to make sure that the exposed arms of the box lid wouldn’t crush anything.

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2023 Nissan Altima 2.0 SAR | Photo from Cars.com by Christian Lantry

Excellent control

The control layout is simple, and the expanded infotainment screen is a welcome upgrade to what was already one of the best infotainment systems in the class.

The phone’s Bluetooth connection syncs almost instantly from launch, and the rich navigation system includes a restaurant and gas legend on a map display, and real-time gas prices (highest prices shown in red, lowest prices in green.).

The provided wireless charger is another welcome addition.

It’s right in front of the center console, and its recessed ceiling holds my phone in a crowded corner.

There is also a very visible indicator light, so it’s easy to see that the phone is charging properly.

I appreciate the illuminated USB-A and USB-C ports on the front and back, which are easy to find in the dark.

Ultima still has offensive details.

It’s a shame that the rear camera hasn’t been updated with a touch screen; The windshield is small compared to what you’ll find in most cars today, and it’s usually cool and washes at night.

SL and 2.0 SR models get Nissan’s ProPilot Assist adaptive cruise control, a nice feature on long highways.

However, the lane departure warning system includes a “smart lane intervention” feature which I found more annoying than helpful.

It puts light pressure on the brakes for a while if the car hits a marked road on the pavement, and it’s very awake on the highway; It works when the car’s tire clears a road mark.

The system can be turned off, but I’d rather apologize.

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