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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Five stars, frontal impact; five stars, side impact
Good, frontal offset impact; Good, side impact
Stability control not available on four-cylinder models
A strong crash-test record and great visibility are positives for the 2009 Nissan Altima, but in all except top trims, the Altima lacks electronic stability control.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, the 2009 Nissan Altima earns the highest rating, "good," for both frontal offset and side impact collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that oversees government crash testing, awards the 2009 Nissan Altima a full five stars for both front and side impacts. Even more impressive is the fact that these ratings apply for both driver and passenger protection. One of the best determinations of a vehicle's overall safety is how well it performs in crash tests, and in this category, the Nissan Altima is an all-star.
TheCarConnection.com notices in reviews that stability control is available only as an option, and only on the 3.5 trims, which leads ConsumerGuide to "wish Nissan would make an antiskid system standard on all models." But when it comes to safety features on the Nissan Altima, most of the usual amenities appear. Beginning with what you'll find on the Nissan Altima, Edmunds states "front-seat side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags are standard on every 2009 Nissan Altima." Furthermore, with the Altima, Nissan offers "antilock brakes" as "standard on the 3.5 sedan trims" and base 2.5, and "optional on the 2.5 S sedan."
ConsumerGuide says "visibility in sedans is very good to all directions." Kelley Blue Book reports that the "Altima's generous glass area provides the driver with good sightlines to the outside world," vision being another redeeming safety quality on the Altima Nissan.
The 2009 Nissan Altima offers a mixed bag for safety-conscious shoppers; while it performs admirably in crash tests, its list of safety features could be better.