Today’s random review: 2023 Nissan Altima

I had a loaner car from Kelly Nissan so The Teenager could drive my Jetta SE 1.8tsi while her 2012 Nissan Rogue was getting some serious repairs. She’d not older enough to drive the loaner.

I was very excited to hear I was getting an Altima.

When our 2000 Saturn SL2 blew a head gasket (that my father insisted I have repaired and he later sold the car so my husband and I made a healthy profit), my husband and I found ourselves on the Young’s Volkswagen lot looking at used cars around the Fourth of July weekend. I want to say it was 2012.

I spotted her immediately. Shiny dark red with a sunroof. 2005 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE. Beige leather interior. Sunroof. Low mileage. Maybe 22,000. I want to say every car I ever bought was around $15,000, even my 2015 Jetta was no exception.

My Altima was basically the Altima with all the features of a Maxima. My daughter named her “Beauty” the moment they met. Which was a better name than the poor Saturn. The teen, as a preschooler, had named the Saturn “Herbie.”

At first I hated the new Altima. Too many buttons, lights and features that I couldn’t decipher because the user’s manual was still sealed from the factory. It also didn’t have the power of my previous Altima or my current Jetta turbo.

But it was smooth and quiet, and had unobtrusive but very noticeable blind spot alert lights. A backup camera with resolution higher than some televisions and a rear sensor that did not trust my skills to parallel park. On the highway, I discovered she may not be a racecar, but she was steady and slick and handled easily. Her “naught to zero,” as my British car expert Mike Brewer likes to say on his Wheeler Dealers programmes that I watch on Motor Trend streaming, might be nine seconds but once she gets there she keeps going. Her price starts at $25,000 the internet tells me.

The internet also told me that my 2015 turbo-charged Jetta also takes nine seconds 0-60. I didn’t think to challenge the teen to a race.

But by the time I returned her to the dealership, I had grown comfortable in her spaceship-feeling cockpit, thinking maybe I should be shooting aliens out of the sky. She was a comfortable car, in a cozy way, making me feel relaxed as I drove (until I accidentally engaged some driving assistance that made random lights that looked like colliding cars light up and I screamed while driving down country back roads in the dark, “What are you trying to tell me? Did someone hit you?”).

She felt way smaller than my previous Altima and averaged 30 miles per gallon on my day of use. She also handled tighter than my Jetta, which I believe is because the Altima has all wheel drive now.

It makes me want to drive the 2023 Nissan Z, which, as you may guess, Mr. Brewer would call the “Zed.” Car and Driver didn’t seem impressed with the latest sports car from Nissan, which makes me sad.

Meanwhile, we see what the Jetta feels like tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s