The Altima is all new for 2007, and is based on Nissan's new "D" platform that will be the basis for many future products. The new Altima has an impressive list of features that allow it to squarely compete with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The most significant changes for 2007 include more power, more interior room, higher-quality materials, and the inclusion of Nissan's Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). In addition, many new high-tech features will appeal to younger buyers.
When redesigning an important product, many new-vehicle manufacturers will make it bigger, longer, lower, and wider. In the Altima's case, Nissan actually altered the interior dimensions more than the exterior. The wheelbase on the new, 2007 model is roughly the same as the outgoing model, while the overall length decreased by about 2.5 inches. It's marginally wider, and retains the same overall height. Even the trunk space remained the same. But by moving the instrument panel forward, moving the rear glass back and lowering the beltline (where the side windows meet the door panels), Nissan designers created a spacious, inviting interior that is comfortable on long or short trips. The new Altima interior features, as either standard or optional equipment, an Intelligent Key with pushbutton ignition, a Bose audio system, a Bluetooth hands-free phone, triple cupholders in the front console, plenty of storage, as well as a cargo divider that separates wet items from dry.
Two engine choices on the 2007 Altima include a next-generation version of Nissan's VQ V-6 engine-a 3.5-liter unit producing 270 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The other engine offered on Altima is a 2.5-liter inline-four cylinder that makes an equally impressive 175 hp and 180 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines have improved exhaust management for better performance, and while the V-6 gets an Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (ULEV) rating, the 4-cylinder goes one better with a Super Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (SULEV) rating. EPA fuel economy estimates are 29 mpg city/31 highway for the inline four. Transmissions come in two flavors: a 6-speed manual on the I-4 or V-6, and CVT on either engine, depending on the trim level. Since Nissan brand vehicles lean toward performance, it shouldn't surprise to see standard 17-inch wheels and tires, along with a sport-tuned suspension, on the SE model.
The Nissan Altima competes in the Midsize Conventional segment, which consists of 18 models. Buyers in this segment look for reliability, fuel economy, and performance, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Toyota Camry (397,630 units sold), Honda Accord (354,441), and Nissan Altima (232,457). The Nissan Altima's 232,457 sales in 2006 represent a decrease of 9 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Midsize Conventional segment include the Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, and Subaru Legacy. Joining the segment in 2007 is the Saturn Aura.