The Nissan Altima returns for 2012 mostly unchanged, with only a few slight feature and option changes. New this year is a Value Package that includes a Bluetooth hands-free system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and a HomeLink universal garage-door opener. A Bluetooth hands-free interface is now also included in all 3.5 SR models as well as 2.5 S models with the Convenience Package.
And there's one color change; the Metallic Slate exterior hue has been replaced for 2012 with Dark Slate.
Finally, the Altima Hybrid has been temporarily discontinued for 2012.
The Altima remains a very competitive mid-size sedans, but also one of the sportiest. Its rear seat and trunk are spacious enough for no-compromises family use. Gas mileage with the 4-cylinder engine is very impressive, while the refined V6 provides surprising performance. Shoppers might also appreciate that the Altima Sedan and coupe models are assembled in the U.S.
2012 Nissan Altima Sedan models come in three different trims: 2.5 and 2.5 S, which both are powered by a 175-horsepower, 2.5L 4-cylinder engine; and the 3.5 SR, which gets a 270-hp, 3.5L V6. Both engines come with a continuously variable automatic transmission, but coupes can be had with a choice of the CVT or a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The Altima is one of the few mid-size sedans to also be offered as a two-door coupe. It isn't just the same Altima with two fewer doors-- the coupe is actually several inches shorter, which takes its toll on rear legroom but does give the coupe an entirely different roofline and more of a sporty appearance.
The Altima sedans are definitely more spacious, with enough room for four adults (or five for kids), and the trunk is quite large. The Altima's front suspension in particular is designed to provide crisp response and eliminate torque steer, which is sometimes an issue with V6-powered sedans.
All Altima models include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, active head restraints, and front, side and side-curtain airbags.
If you're willing to check a few more option boxes, the Altima can be equipped with heated seats, a power driver's seat, Bluetooth hands-free, a power moonroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control. On much of the lineup, there's an available power sliding glass moonroof. Also, the Altima's navigation system is hard-drive based and now includes a bigger 6.5-inch display plus speed limit information, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather, a DVD player, RCA input jacks and Bluetooth audio streaming.