The 2018 Nissan Altima maintains its position as one of the most popular family sedans on the market, but it has lost a lot of ground recently. No, there's not another sedan coming out of the woodwork to bump it off; instead, it's seeing its customer base head to the greener pastures of the land of SUVs and crossovers. Though it cannot compete with higher-riding people-haulers like the Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V, the Altima still has plenty going for it for buyers who prefer a traditional sedan.

Best Value

While the economy-minded may prefer the low-cost Altima S trim and the performance lover will shoot for the SR, we found the midrange SV to be a perfect balance. This middle-of-the-pack trim includes plenty of higher-end features like alloy wheels, a power driver’s seat, blind-spot monitoring, and keyless ignition without adding too much to its price.

What’s more, this trim level opens the door to several optional packages that add desirable features like navigation, a moonroof, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a seven-inch touchscreen.

  • Model: 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
  • Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 179 hp / 177 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
  • MPG: 27 city / 38 hwy
  • Options: Technology Package ($1,280, navigation, seven-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM Traffic, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated front seats and mirrors, and voice recognition)
  • Base Price:$26,795 (including the $885 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$28,075

Performance

Nissan ALtima

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers excellent fuel economy at 27 miles per gallon city, 38 highway, and 31 combined. Those looking for something more potent and quick can turn to the 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 that's available on the top-level SL trim.

That said, the Altima has a few sore spots. One big issue is the SR trim, which is supposed to be more performance oriented. While its chassis is stiffer and more responsive, the trade-off in comfort isn’t worth it. Also, its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT gearbox add up to sluggish and noisy acceleration.

Style

As always, the Altima boasts a swoopy and sharp design. This sets it apart from the crowd nicely without drawing too much attention. The SR pushes this even further with exclusive styling that attracts the younger crowd.

While the exterior is sharp and unique, the Altima’s interior is a big letdown. Its styling is surprisingly vanilla, as it looks like virtually every other family sedan on the market.

The Best and Worst Things

The Altima continues to wow us with its exterior styling, and it'll remain relevant for years to come. It also delivers a surprisingly plush ride in non-SR trims.

That said, as much as the exterior wows us, the interior puts us to sleep with its conventional styling and lack of originality. Also, the fact that it’s only available with a CVT gearbox is disappointing, as a traditional automatic or six-speed manual would help it appeal to a wider range of buyers.

Right For? Wrong For?

Nissan Altima

Young, growing families: Young families with a few kids are who the 2018 Altima is aimed at. Its sweet styling appeals to the younger crowd, while its cushy ride makes long trips comfortable for everyone. Also, its low base price and strong fuel economy help young parents stay on budget.

Performance enthusiasts: Those who expect the SR trim to deliver on its good looks will be sadly disappointed. Sure, it’s an improvement, but it can't cash the performance check its styling writes.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Nissan Altima remains one of the best family cars on the market today. Its low price and great four-cylinder fuel economy make it a good value in its class, while its sharp exterior design draws a lot of eyes. But buyers who need an engaging interior will almost certainly be bored to tears by the Altima’s risk-free cabin design.