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2015 Nissan Altima Preview

What will change? Styling, features, and possibly, the powertrain lineup. Today’s Altima design was introduced for model-year 2013 and seems poised for a model-year 2015 midcycle freshening. Expect slightly updated styling, expanded in-car connectivity, and possible introduction of a gas/electric hybrid variant. This midsize sedan is the Japanese automaker’s best-selling vehicle.

Why wait for the 2015 Nissan Altima: To see if the planned styling revisions suit your taste more than the current model. Possible expansion of the brand’s NissanConnect infotainment system might be enough incentive to wait on opening your wallets. Further, if Altima hasn’t been on your midsize sedan shopping list because it lacks a hybrid version, the 2015 edition could fulfill that wish.

Why buy a 2014 Nissan Altima: Because you’re looking for a solid midsize car that delivers good to great fuel economy, plenty of passenger and cargo room, and a wide range of features at competitive prices. Nissan endowed the Altima with NissanConnect for 2014, bringing it up to speed with rival infotainment systems from companies such as General Motors, Honda, and Toyota. This is also one of the few midsize sedans on the market that can be had with a V-6 engine. Increasing pressure on automakers to improve fuel economy could mean the six-cylinder motor’s days are numbered, but this is unlikely to be the case for 2015.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Styling Nissan redesigned the Altima for the 2013 model year. As such, any styling updates for 2015 will likely be subtle. In-vehicle connectivity enhancements might mean a facelift is in order for the audio/navigation control scheme.

Mechanical Expect the overwhelming majority of 2015 Nissan Altima buyers to select the standard 182-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Those craving stronger acceleration should go for the optional 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. Should an Altima Hybrid debut for 2015, it might have the same drivetrain as the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid. That vehicle uses a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a battery powered electric motor to produce a combined 250 horsepower, which could make this model an intriguing alternative to the V-6. Regardless, all Altimas would use the brand’s “Xtronic” continuously variable transmission (CVT) that operates like an automatic.

Fuel Economy While any changes to a car’s exterior styling can have an impact on fuel economy, we don’t think the 2015 Nissan Altima’s EPA estimates will change much versus its 2014 counterpart. Those figures are 27/38/31 city/highway/combined for the four-cylinder engine and 22/31/25 for the V-6. Expect an Altima Hybrid to have numbers competitive with gas/electric versions of the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry.

Features The 2015 Nissan Altima’s model roster should look largely the same as it does for 2014. Four-cylinder versions will be called 2.5 and come in base, S, SV, and SL trim levels. Cars with the V-6 engine have the 3.5 designation and come as the S, SV, and SL. The base 2.5 is not marketed towards retail customers but rather as a low-cost option for rental or commercial fleets. The 2.5 S has a standard power driver seat and keyless entry with pushbutton engine start on top of the expected convenience features. 3.5 S versions add steering-wheel paddle shifters, rearview camera, USB port, satellite radio, and NissanConnect Apps infotainment. Most buyers will likely choose the 2.5 SV, which includes dual-zone automatic climate control, remote engine start, and NissanConnect Apps with support for hands-free text messaging. The 3.5 SV adds a power sunroof and universal garage door opener. All SL variants gain leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a Bose-brand audio system, among other luxury-oriented amenities. Options, depending on trim level selection, will likely include a navigation system, blind-spot alert, and lane-departure warning. Altima Hybrid models and equipment will likely line up with the conventional four-cylinder model.

QUICK HITS: NissanConnect Apps allows users to check Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, and text messages through the touchscreen audio display. Download the NissanConnect app to your phone, then hook it up via Bluetooth (Google Android phones) or USB (Apple iPhone) to take advantage of these services. Note that some functions are included for only the first three years of ownership, after which an annual fee of $19.99 applies.

Prices The 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 will likely start at about $23,000, including destination fee. The high-volume 2.5 SV will hit the $25,000-$26,000 mark while a loaded 3.5 SL will top out around $33,000. Hybrids would likely carry a $1,500-$2,000 price premium over a comparable conventional four-cylinder model.

Competitors Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat

Nissan Altima Photo Gallery

About Ed Piotrowski

Ed Piotrowski has more than a decade of experience as a community and automotive journalist. As a former editor for Consumer Guide Automotive, he wrote new car news and reviews for the publication's magazine and website. He served as the lead editor of Consumer Guide's auto show coverage, managed its short- and long-term vehicle test fleet, and made regular appearances on a suburban Chicago radio station. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association where he served as the lodging logistics manager for the organization's annual Spring Collection road rally. Ed writes from Chicago's northwest suburbs.

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