If you were hoping for significant changes in the 2023 Nissan Altima, well, that’s a strange thing to be waiting for. There are also no big mechanical enhancements, albeit a few mid-cycle modifications designed to keep the Altima going for a few more years before its next comprehensive redesign. What’s new is that the sedan’s appearance, interior, and standard safety features have all been improved. Nissan hasn’t noted any gains in handling with its AWD system or the 2.0 liter VC Turbo I-4’s mediocre CVT.
While the 2023 Altima is substantially the same as the 2019 model, it does away with the chrome trim on the nose, adopting a new grille design on the SR variant, and Nissan’s new simple logo. The chrome flying “V” is no longer present, replaced by “black chrome” trim that contrasts with the body, grille, and stops where the lower headlights end. The side ducts have also been modified, with what used to be modest openings now being wider and surrounded by more expansive black trim for a more aggressive appearance. Any lights, including fog lights, are also missing from the bottom ducts in the photographs Nissan supplied us. The lack of a lower signal is mirrored in a modification to the headlights, which now have a new bulb instead of only a reflector and LED lights as standard, but the general design stays the same as it was in 2021.
The back of the 2023 Nissan Altima hasn’t altered much. The only difference is that the “VC Turbo” badge that was located on the trunk of cars with the turbo engine is no longer present, but everything else remains the same. The 2.5 S will come standard with a 16-inch steel wheel with a plastic cover and P215/60R16 all-season tires on all four corners. If you upgrade to the 2.5 SV, you’ll get 17-inch wheels with P25/55R17 all-season tires. Finally, the 2.5 SR, 2.0 VC Turbo SR, and 2.5 SL all come standard with a 19-inch wheel and a 235/40R19 all-season rubber. For 2023, the wheel designs are also new, and each wheel is unique to the trim level, resulting in a total of four-wheel designs for the Altima. Finally, clients will be able to choose from two new exterior colors: Gray Sky Pearl and Garnett Pearl Metallic, as well as a single panel moonroof option.
While the interior of the 2022 model was far from exceptional, the 2023 model improves upon it with a 12.3-inch touchscreen identical to the one seen in the new Nissan Armada SUV. A wireless phone charging pad is provided beneath it, immediately forward of the shifter, where the USB C, USB, and power outlets are also positioned. Unfortunately, the 12.3-inch screen and wireless charging are only available on the SL and SR trims and are only standard on the SL and SR trims.
ProPilot Assist is now standard on the 2.5 SL and 2.0 SR VC Turbo trims, while it is not available on the 2.5 SR trim and is only offered as an option on the 2.5 SV trim. Adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist are standard on all trim levels of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Subaru Legacy, and Hyundai Sonata, to reiterate.
Now we’ll talk about the power and drivetrains, which will remain unchanged in 2023. Nissan’s 2.0-liter VC Turbo I-4, which produces decent performance for a small-displacement four-cylinder engine while introducing a revolutionary variable compression system to the market, is at the top of the list. Both it and the entry-level 2.5-liter I-4 are capable engines, however, they are limited by Nissan’s Xtronic constantly variable automatic transmission (CVT). When we previously examined the 2022 Altima SR VC Turbo, it was the CVT that kept us from enjoying the ride. It was exciting to drive, speedy, and handled well on the track and on the road, but the CVT’s slow tune, along with the variable compression and turbo boost mapping, resulted in nonlinear power distribution and an uncomfortable acceleration ramp-up.
We expect the experience to be similar to before unless the programming between the engine and CVT has significantly improved. On trims with it, the Altima’s “Intelligent AWD” is likely to be the same. It’s more of a traction enhancer for bad weather driving than a performance improvement, as before. All-wheel drive is available on the 2.5 SV, 2.5 SR, and 2.5 SL grades, which is a rarity in the midsize sedan class, but not on the 2.5 S and 2.0 SR VC Turbo.
In general, the Altima looks better in photos, but on paper, it’s largely the same. When it’s time for it to go on sale in the fall of 2022, we’ll have more information, including pricing.