With seven different versions of the Altima split between four- and six-cylinder engines, the new Nissan family sedan would seem to have all the latest features covered. There are some gaps between the models, though, and one or two features not on the equipment list at all.
The base $21,500 Altima 2.5 comes with cloth seats; power windows, locks, and mirrors; Intelligent Key with pushbutton start; air conditioning; a split-folding rear seat; manually adjusting front seats; Bluetooth with streaming audio; and an AM/FM/CD player with four speakers.
All Altimas also get a new Drive-Assist Display, which replaces the typical trip computer and related functions with a 4.0-inch LCD screen between the gauges, depicting the car--in the correct color--in a 3D-like effect. The display shows information on fuel economy, trip distance, tire pressures, audio functions, and directions when a navigation system is included.
On the 2.5 S, Nissan adds a power driver seat; cruise control; six-speaker audio; steering-wheel audio controls; automatic headlights; On the 3.5 S, the Altima also gets 18-inch wheels and paddle shifters with a manual shift mode.
On both four- and six-cylinder Altima SV sedans, Nissan fits remote start; alloy wheels; a rearview camera; a more advanced Bluetooth system with inbound text reading and outbound pre-programmed responses for some phones (but currently not the Apple iPhone); a USB port; and satellite radio. This Altima's infotainment system also permits streaming from Pandora, and accepts mapping information from Google Maps, too. The 3.5 SV also adds fog lights, a universal remote, and a moonroof.
At the top of the lineup, the Altima SL ($30,080 for the 3.5 SL) comes standard with leather seating; nine-speaker Bose audio; heated front seats and steering wheel; an eight-way power driver seat; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; LED taillights and mirror-mounted turn signals; and heated side mirrors.
Options include a navigation system with a larger 7-inch screen, a welcome step up from the last-generation Altima's puny LCD readout; remote start; and a rear spoiler.
The model lineup seems complex, but with so many features bundled together, the Altima's actually been packaged for simpler, more efficient assembly. It's also been configured to a target weight and price--which might explain why some versions omit things like rear-seat air vents or even an option for satellite radio, and why no versions can be fitted with a power passenger seat.