Nissan Tweaks Altima, Adds Tech and Offers VC Turbo Engine


Despite the propensity of most North American shoppers to gravitate solidly towards crossovers and SUVs, there remain a few gloriously stubborn souls who prefer the look and feel of a four-door midsize sedan. This explains why a vanishingly few companies still sell the things, taking advantage of holes in the marketplace left by the exodus of brands such as Ford.

Nissan has decided to re-up its Altima for 2022, giving it a nose job and infusing its interior with updated technology.

That tweaked front fascia introduces a new take on the so-called ‘V Motion’ grille and incorporates the brand’s new minimalist logo. LED headlights are now standard across the board, plus the usual smattering of midcycle refresh items like new paint colors and wheel designs. Heady stuff here, folks.

More notable improvements await inside the 2023 Altima, most notably a new 12.3-inch display which is the same size as the jumbotron found in the zooty Nissan Armada full-size SUV. It replaces the previous 8.0-inch display, which could have passed for an oversized smartphone, and – if it’s anything like the screen in that Armada – will feature a high-res display providing clear images and crisp graphics.

The 12.3-inch screen is optional in mid-level trims and is standard on the top tier. Pro tip: Spend the money and get it. Bose-branded gear is available, as are the likes of an active noise cancellation kit and Amazon Alexa in case you just simply can’t wait until you’re home to order a fresh package of paper towels.

Under its hood, the 2023 Altima is available with a choice of two four-cylinder powerplants: A 2.0-liter Variable Compression turbo or a more pedestrian 2.5-liter four-banger. All-wheel drive is available with the latter. For those of you with short memories, the VC technology utilizes both multi-point injection and Nissan’s Direct Injection Gasoline system to change its compression ratio between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency). A trick multi-link system inside the guts of this thing continuously raises or lower the pistons’ reach to change the compression ratio.

We’ve opined on the VC Turbo before but it bears repeating that the technology must have cost a king’s ransom to develop and produce. In theory, it seems like the golden ticket for ICE-powered vehicles to blend power and efficiency but official EPA fuel economy stats don’t really bear fruit, at least for the ’23 Altima: The 248 horsepower VC is rated at 29 mpg combined while the 188 hp 2.5L is rated at 31 mpg combined in front-wheel-drive applications. The VC also requires premium fuel to make all its horses.

The 2023 Nissan Altima will go on sale this autumn.

[Images: Nissan]

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