If you liked the 2016 Nissan Altima, you should also like the 2017. That's because Nissan made no significant changes, including to the prices. The base price for the cheapest model, the Altima 2.5, is still $23,335, including the $835 destination charge (also unchanged). The most expensive model, the 3.5 SL, is still $33,525.
The lack of mechanical and equipment changes are partly because Nissan gave the Altima midsize sedan a significant facelift for 2016 and added hands-free text messaging to the NissanConnect multimedia system. The exterior styling gained a dramatic, flowing look similar to what Nissan did with the Maxima sedan and Murano SUV.
As for holding the line on prices, Nissan followed Toyota's lead with the 2017 Camry, the country's best-selling midsize car. Midsize car sales have suffered a steep decline this year as more buyers glom onto SUVs, so raising prices wouldn't help. Altima sales have suffered less than some rivals, falling 9 percent through August 2016 compared with 2015, but Nissan is offering hefty incentives to maintain interest. One current offer on 2016 models is for zero percent financing for 72 months, plus $500 cash.
The Altima lineup returns in seven price levels, five with a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two with a 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. All models have front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Against the competition, the Altima has some glaring weaknesses: The four-cylinder engine is noisy, the CVT increases the sound level and handling is uninspiring.
On the plus side, a roomy, attractive interior provides comfortable seating for four (and one more in a pinch), and safety features such as forward collision warning and automatic braking are available on higher-end models. Moreover, dealers are fighting hard to sell midsize sedans, so zero percent financing and price discounts can offset at least some of the Altima's shortcomings.