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I Agree With Regular Car Reviews, The Modern Nissan Altima is an Awful Car

2022 Nissan Sentra AWD RCR 11 photos
Photo: Regular Car Reviews
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A couple of years ago, I dropped off my 2017 Nissan Sentra S at a service dealer for its second warranty CVT replacement in nine months. But believe it or not, that wasn't the biggest bummer of the day. That came when they handed the keys to my temporary rental.
The car in question? That'd be a 2020-something Nissan Altima base model. By the time my Sentra was out of the shop, I recall thinking one profound thing. My internal monologue at the time went something a bit like this "holy schnikes! This Altima was awful!" For the longest time, I almost felt bad for raking something as mundane as an Altima over the coals. But thanks to Brian (Mr.Regular) of Regular Car Reviews, I no longer do.

What the RCR team had to say about the current-gen Nissan Altima lined up uncannily with my own thoughts. It's as if they'd been living rent-free in my head, drinking beers and making fart jokes until they decided to upload this video. Let's take a closer look at their hot take and compare it to my own. First things first, it's important to mention the owner of the Altima that Brian reviewed owned a two-liter turbo Altima before he wrecked it.

He then purchased this 2022 Altima AWD through the dealership he works for. With full permission from the owner, Brian starts roasting the man before he even steps inside. The accosting of this Altima for "grenading its transmission at 80,000 miles" and for being "the car for people who have no agency in their life" goes on for the first three-plus minutes or so of the review. Minus a break for a sponsored advertisement.

Only when Mr. Regular goes for a drive in a 2022 Altima does the real meat and potatoes of why the Altima is so dreadful come to light. Offender numero uno? That'd be the abysmal, awful, no good, very bad, under-engineered dog of an Xtronic CVT transmission. A "gearbox" that masquerades half-heartedly as having real gears to row through by blipping the throttle without warning when the engine reaches the top of the rev range.

This gripe drove me absolutely bat-you-know-what when I also drove a current-gen Altima. Admittedly, the same weird quirk happened in my Sentra too. Although, in a larger car with a minimum of 60-ish horsepower, more to play with, those "shifts" are a downside more annoying than in the puny Sentra. At least, in my opinion, everything about the driving experience in a modern Altima feels like a Sentra, only scaled up by about one-quarter.

It doesn't matter whether we're talking about the acceleration, the ride and handling, or the quality of the interior. The almost flagrant lack of effort to make the Altima any more special than a Sentra only serves ostensibly to drive up sales of Nissan's flagship sedan, the Maxima. When you're dealing with a car that MRSPs at $31,740 for an all-wheel-drive model, there are tons of other better cars at that price point.

There's a reason the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry routinely wipe the floor with the Altima in performance, quality assurance, and overall image. Thanks to RCR, it's all plain to see. Safe to say, I was happy to get my Sentra back when it was all said and done. This brings us to what's probably the most egregious sin of the modern Altima, its totally overinflated mythos. If cars are an extension of the soul, the Altima appears to portray a not-so-savory character.

In the same way BMWs and Audis do in Europe, and even North America too for that matter, Altimas seem to always be the car cutting people off, running stop signs, and getting pulled over to the public display of everyone else on Interstate 80.

According to Brian, it has a lot to do with Nissan dealers offering loans of up to eight years to people who have no business buying a brand-new car. But a CVT transmission encourages the worst driving habits while simultaneously shredding itself to pieces, no doubt also plays a role.

We can't recommend you check out RCR's new video enough. It's like a stream of my own thoughts as portrayed by someone with ten thousand times the comedic charm and charisma I'll ever have.


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