The 2023 Nissan Altima carries forward as the torch bearer for Nissan’s sedan and small car fleet. Last updated in 2019, the 2023 model year Altima gets a few tweaks such as changes to front fascia styling, a new touchscreen option, and a few other features. Gone is the top end Platinum trim, which pushed into luxury territory to compete with the Infiniti Q50.
Although sedans are losing ground to crossovers in today’s market, midsized offerings like the Altima remain mainstays. The 2023 Altima is competing in a narrow, but very active field of excellent sedan choices. Where others aim for sport or uber-efficiency, though, the Altima aims instead for a middle ground of goodness that’s neither too upscale nor too fast-paced.
Most traditional sedan buyers are actually found in that segment, looking for something comfortable as a daily and easy to get along with when more passengers or groceries need to be hauled. That’s where the Nissan Altima has always been strongest. This new version continues that trend, aiming for a middle market that doesn’t need power or extreme amounts of (costly) efficiency.
The most obvious change to the Altima for the 2023 model year is the grille. Nissan is moving away from the “V-Motion” design of the last decade and into a more contemporary simplicity. The V is replaced with triangles subtly added beneath the headlights and integrated into the grillework itself. These sharp edges are smoothed by the crosshatch look of the grille itself, which also shrinks the face of the car when compared to the stripes of a traditional grille.
Inside, other changes are also seen. Like a 12.3-inch touchscreen option in upper trim points, replacing the standard 8-inch screen. And Apple CarPlay and Android Auto go wireless in this new rendition as well. Wireless charging and an available WiFi hotspot are also now an option. Standard on the new Altima are a host of driver assistance and safety features as well.
There are five trim levels for the 2023 Nissan Altima, four of which are powered by the tried-and-true but not very exciting 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine, found throughout Nissan’s line, produces 188 horsepower and mates well with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That’s enough for the car to be useful, but not enough to inspire a lot of confidence when acceleration is demanded. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on most trims. It’s worth noting that going with AWD drops horsepower from 188 to 182.
The top end SR VC-Turbo model, however, adds a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 236 horsepower on regular gasoline and 248 horses with high-octane (93) fuel. This engine comes only in front-wheel drive, but still uses Nissan’s CVT.
That engine makes the 2023 Altima feel like a powerhouse and kickstarts the car into sports sedan territory. But it’s pricey and thirsty. The highway MPG for the front-wheel drive 2.5L Altima is 39, but sinks to 34 with the turbocharged model. Assuming regular octane gasoline.
But we will say that the turbo takes the sedate daily driver that is the 2023 Altima and turns it into a fun launcher when leaving the stoplight or getting up the onramp to the freeway. The Altima isn’t a fun driving car, given its design for ease of use rather than sport handling, but the extra jump of the turbo does add a lot of fun to the Altima’s appeal.
Overall, the 2023 Nissan Altima is still the staid daily option it’s always been. It’s doubtful that most will find the single turbocharged option worth the investment as better sport options already exist in the midsized sedan market. Instead, the standard features, well-done interior, and simplicity of the 2023 Altima remains its main appeal.
The 2023 Nissan Altima is a good-looking, uncomplicated option in the mid-sized market and is a solid option for those not looking for a lot of pizzazz or overcomplex under-hood technology.
This review first appeared on DriveModeShow.com.