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Test Drive: 3.5L Nissan Altima SL CVT

We recently took the 3.5-liter Nissan Altima SL CVT to a drive up north. Does this luxury car have what it takes to provide an enjoyable experience for a long road trip? Find out.



The Altima exudes a muscular yet elegant exterior. One of the first things you’ll notice on the front fascia is the V-motion grille which is reminiscent of the company’s signature design seen in their other models (think Testosterone-driven X-Trail). Its front fender somewhat bulges out giving it a beefy look and at the same time complements the boomerang-inspired head lamps. As a top-of-the-line variant, the Altima SL comes with bells and whistles such as fog lights, HID headlights, and a sun roof.


Its side mirrors have also been equipped with signal lights and just below them is an embossed line that gives an accent to the side of the body and stretches far down until the rear fender. This leads you to a pair of tail lamps that are similarly-styled as the head lamps. In addition, a dyad of exhaust tips add a touch of luxury to its posterior.


Whether you look at the front, back, or sides of the Altima you’ll see chrome trims that positively give flavor to the monotonic color of the body. I personally liked how these were sensitively-utilized in this car since they could easily come off as tacky. Finally, the Altima wears sporty 17-inch rims.



The few elements of it being sporty somehow vanishes once you step inside the vehicle. Its interior is almost entirely covered in cream so you get more of an executive feel when you enter. Steering wheel as well as seats are both wrapped in leather with the same color scheme. It’s not as exciting as if it were all black, but it has its own charm that we think would appeal to a targeted market.

One thing we noticed with this color, though, is that it easily catches dirt so be sure to always have your leather-cleaner ready.


Just like other cars in this category, the steering wheel is populated by controls for music navigation. In this same space, the Altima has the buttons for cruise control as well as paddle-shifters if you want to take control over your transmission. In terms of comfort, Nissan boasts its Zero-gravity seats with an electronic lumbar support for the driver. These seats are made side-by-side NASA to ensure a comfortable ride.



The Altima uses a 5-inch screen to display info and acts as the monitor when backing up. It also has dual climate control on-board as well as seat warmers for the driver and front passenger.


Over at the audio department, the Altima is supported by a 9-speaker Bose sound system which proved perfect for road trips. Sound quality was nothing short of impressive, but we weren’t surprised considering the amount of time we’ve spent with their products.



This Altima runs on a 3.5-liter V6 engine that coughs up 266PS of power and delivers it to the front wheels with its Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This engine can definitely pull you to a good acceleration in open roads, clocking in at a little over 7 seconds from 0-100kph.


Steering the Altima was light and it was easy to maneuver when overtaking in-between cars – almost disregarding its long and wide body. Cruise control was definitely enjoyable during long drives. Partner that with its Zero-gravity seats and 9-speaker Bose system and road trips will suddenly get more fun. Suspension has a good bounce to it, although we experienced the rear wheels already scratching the pavement on curves at around 60kph.

On a pure highway run over at SCTEX, we were able to reach 14.6km/l, but only managed to squeeze out  6-7km/l on a usual day (with traffic, of course).


Watch more of the Nissan Altima during our trip.

The Altima is a car that’s definitely fun to take on a road trip. It’s got both the necessary as well as the extra functionalities that one would look for in a vehicle — from its able engine, to its good-looking exterior, comfortable ride, immersive speakers, and even down to seat warmers: The Altima has got you covered.

3.5L Nissan Altima SL CVT specs:
3.5-liter DOHC V6 cylinder engine
266PS @ 6,400rpm
340Nm @4,400rpm
Continuously Variable Transmission
17-inch aluminum wheels
Keyless entry
Rear camera for backing up
Design: 4-door sedan
Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
Dimensions (lwh): 191.5 x 72 x 58.1 inches
Curb weight: 3,355lbs
Price: Php2,030,000

What we liked about it:

  • Well-designed exterior
  • 9-speaker Bose sound system
  • Sun roof
  • Zero-gravity seats
  • Implementation of paddle-shifters
  • Good acceleration
  • Spacious legroom

What we didn’t like:

  • Cream-colored interior is prone to dirt
  • Slightly loses traction on sharp curves

Kevin Bruce Francisco is the Senior Editor and Video Producer for YugaTech. He's a Digital Filmmaking graduate who's always either daydreaming of traveling or actually going places on his bike. Follow him on Twitter for more tech updates @kevincofrancis.

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