The Inside

Even though its swoopy styling might suggest limited cabin space, the five-seat Altima has sufficient room in both the front and rear seats. The optional leather front bucket seats are comfortable and driver visibility is good.

The three-person rear bench seat has a nicely angled backrest that should make passengers' ride more comfortable, and there are cutouts in the backs of the front seats to give riders a little extra knee room. There's not a lot of extra headroom in the backseat, but it should be adequate for most passengers. The flip-down center armrest has two cupholders.

The redesigned interior has a lot of upscale touches, like a soft-touch dashboard surface and chrome detailing on the air vents. Included with the optional leather seats are leather door inserts and armrests that are especially plush. One of our test car's dashboard speaker covers and a right-side vent weren't perfectly aligned, but the quality of most materials is among the best in this class.

The exception is the faux wood trim on the doors and center stack of models with the blond (tan) interior color scheme; it's not convincing in the least and cheapens the otherwise-appealing interior. Even though our expensive 3.5 SE test car carried an as-tested price of nearly $31,000, I don't think most buyers expect wood trim in an Altima, so why include it? Frost (gray) and charcoal interiors have metallic accents that seem better matched to the car.

While a few significant stand-alone options like antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and the CVT are offered, most popular options are grouped together in expensive packages. While that's fine if you want everything in the package, you may not be as happy when you learn that it will cost $2,150 to add a moonroof to the 2.5 S trim level. (It's part of a Convenience Plus Package that also includes a power driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and automatic headlights.)

    See also:

    Maintenance precautions
    When performing any inspection or maintenance work on your vehicle, always take care to prevent serious accidental injury to yourself or damage to the vehicle. The following are general precautions ...

    Using the panic alarm
    If you are near your vehicle and feel threatened, you may activate the panic alarm to call attention by pressing and holding the button on the Intelligent Key for longer than 0.5 seconds. The ...

    General maintenance
    During the normal day-to-day operation of the vehicle, general maintenance should be performed regularly as prescribed in this section. If you detect any unusual sounds, vibrations or smells, be s ...