2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD Review

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

FAST FACTS

Engine: 2.5-liter I4
Output: 182 hp, 178 lb-ft.
Transmission: CVT, AWD
Fuel Economy (MPG): 26/36 (city/hwy)
Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 9.3/6.7 (city/hwy)
Starting Price (USD): $26,585 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (USD): $33,175 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $33,053 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (CAD): $38,253 (inc. dest.)

Sedans, like the Nissan Altima, used to be the go-to-choice for family transportation.

But times change and so do consumer’s taste. Once the staple of the suburbs, for many, mid-size sedans have been relegated to afterthought status. It’s a new world out there, ruled by high riding SUVs.

SEE ALSO: Nissan Altima vs Maxima: Which Sedan is Right For You?

Sales of family sedans have dwindled so much over the past decade; many have been put out to pasture. The Ford Fusion, Volkswagen Passat, Mazda6, and Chrysler 200 are all no more.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s still hope for fans of four-doors. Manufacturers are still building family friendly sedans. One of these offerings is the 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD.

New Look, Same Mission

For those that have been out of the loop with the Altima, the current car is in its sixth generation of existence. It has been on sale for five years and receives a significant refresh this year. Most notable is a new front fascia and upgraded 12.3-inch infotainment screen.

In the United States, the Altima is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Topping the food chain is a turbocharged model that drives the front wheels only.

For Canada, things are a bit different. All trim levels come with standard all-wheel drive, even the base S. Because of this though, there is no turbo model for customers north of the border.

Mid-Trim, Sporty Looks, No Fuss Drive

Our test vehicle is one that’s available in both countries, the 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD. As a mid-trim vehicle, it features a variety of technology and safety features. This includes items like remote engine start, LED lighting all around, and a moonroof.

The SR trim’s biggest standout though is its sporty appearance. It wears a chrome black grille and other blacked-out trim bits. The 19-inch wheels are unique to this model and feature an engraved SR badge right into the wheel.

Wrapped around those wheels are 235/40VR19 tires. Although the somewhat wide, low-profile tires do provide decent levels of grip, the Altima SR AWD is not an overly engaging sedan to drive. This trim package is more about visual flair than actual performance. The car does respond well enough to driver’s inputs, but its happier being a family commuter than a backroad terror.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to test the all-wheel drive system. It was an unseasonably warm and sunny week during our time with the car. No rain or snow was anywhere to be seen.

Quiet Comfort

The 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD does a good job in absorbing bumps in the road, while still limiting body roll. It’s a good compromise of comfort and handling. It shouldn’t cause nausea to rear seat passengers by bobbing up and down the road, nor will it punish their kidneys by crashing over cracked pavement.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Nissan Altima AWD Pros and Cons

Inside, we’re quite impressed with how quiet things are. Road, engine, and wind noise are kept to a minimum. Even during a 10-hour road trip on a windy day, we are impressed by just how serene the cabin remains. There are premium sedans out there that are not as good at isolating noises like the Altima does.

Familiar, Yet Different Drivetrain

Part of the quiet driving experience can be attributed to the drivetrain. The only engine available on all trims (minus the SR Turbo) is a familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It sends power to all four wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Admittingly, it has been a while since this reviewer last drove an Altima. As I had remembered, the 2.5-liter engine, and maybe more so the CVT, was rather noisy. In the 2023 model though, for the most part, that is not the case.

This drivetrain is barely heard under normal driving conditions. It’s only when getting deep into the throttle that the engine growls to life. At this point, it does get a bit rambunctious, and is not as smooth or quiet as some smaller displacement turbocharged engines found in competitors.

Adequate Power

The 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD produces 182 hp and 178 lb-ft. of torque. The best word to describe the power feel from behind the wheel is adequate. The Altima doesn’t feel overly swift, nor is it painfully slow.

From a complete stop, the drivetrain is more responsive than expected, accelerating the car with little effort. On the freeway, a lot of rpms are needed for passing maneuvers, but power is ample enough to keep up with traffic.

The only time the drivetrain falters is at low speeds when a lot of power is suddenly asked for. Here, it’s slow to respond and acceleration tepid. We’re not sure if it’s something to do with the engine, the transmission, or possibly the vehicle’s tuning.

On the plus side, the 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD is officially rated to deliver 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. In Canada, those numbers translate to 9.3 L/100 km in the city and 6.7 L/100 km on the highway.

Thoughtful Design and Layout

The SR Premium trim comes well equipped. It features the 12.3-inch infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-button start, wireless phone charging, and Wi-Fi hotspot. Centered in front of the driver is a set of analog gauges with customizable digital insert.

The overall interior design is good, with a conservative theme that doesn’t distract the eye. All the functions for features like the HVAC are easy to reach and logically laid out.

We like how the infotainment system operates. It’s quick to react and features a small learning curve. Our only complaint has to do with the screen placement. It’s nice that it doesn’t angle toward the driver, so passengers can easily operate it as well. But as it sits, it’s too far forward, right at the edge of the dashboard. We wish it were set a few inches deeper in the dash, closer to the windshield. This would make it easy to glance at, especially for the driver.

A Game of Inches

While on the topic of inches, we also wish the driver’s seat lowered a few more inches than it does. Even in its lowest position, the seating position seems a bit too high. The armrests and steering wheel are located to low for our liking. After a few days in the 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD, we got used to this driving position. But it took a lot of minor adjustments to find an optimal position. Thankfully there is a power seat which made this easier.

That front seat itself is quite comfortable and cushiony. With the Premium package on the SR trim, the car receives more comfort for occupants, with a power passenger seat, leather seating surfaces, and heated seats up front. Canadian customers also get a heated steering wheel. For the USA, this feature is saved for higher trim packages.

For those out there that appreciate specifications, there are 38.0-inches (966 mm) of headroom up front, and 36.7-inches (932 mm) of headroom for rear seat riders. Legroom is officially listed at 43.8-inches (1,115 mm) up front, and 35.2-inches (895 mm) in the rear. The trunk can swallow upwards of 15.4 cu ft cargo (437 L) of gear.

Safety

The 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD comes full of the latest safety equipment. The brand’s ProPILOT Assist is standard, with features like steering assist, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and more. Other safety technology highlights include rear automatic braking, pedestrian detection, and rear cross traffic alert.

SEE ALSO: Honda Accord vs. Nissan Altima: Which Sedan is Right for You?

We do find the lane keep assist is overly aggressive. If the car gets too close to a lane marker, the brakes are briefly applied as the Altima tries to center itself abruptly. It’s one of the more unintuitive set-ups we’ve encountered lately, as we felt we were fighting with the car. During the 10-hour road trip, it was turned off for good early on.

2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD: The Verdict

A big plus for a sedan versus an SUV is pricing. In the USA, the 2023 Nissan Altima starts at $26,585 ($33,053). As tested, our SR Premium AWD comes in at $33,175 ($38,253 CAD). For comparison, a similarly equipped, similarly sized 2023 Nissan Rogue Midnight Edition AWD costs $37,225 ($41,898 CAD).

Besides a lower price, there are other advantages that make a sedan like the Altima a nice alternative to SUVs. It’s more agile, more efficient, and still plenty accommodating. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that the family sedan segment is merely surviving rather than innovating. More and more entries are discounted as sales continue to dwindle.

Look past that though, and you’ll discover the few entries that are left are still appealing offerings. The 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD may not be perfect, but it’s still a perfectly compelling family-friendly vehicle.


FAQs

Does 2023 Nissan Altima have AWD?

Yes, it is available in the United Stats on most trims, except for the entry level S and the top of the line SR Turbo. In Canada, it is standard on all models. 


What is premium package for Nissan Altima SR?

The package adds a lot of content such as a power passenger seat, heated seats, a moonroof, and more. 


How many miles per gallon does a 2023 Nissan Altima SR get?

The 2023 Nissan Altima SR Premium AWD is officially rated to deliver 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.

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LOVE IT

  • Quiet Interior
  • Infotainment Ease of Use
  • Fuel Economy

LEAVE IT

  • Seating Position
  • Overly Aggressive Lane Keep Assist
  • Infotainment Screen Placement
Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

More by Mike Schlee

Comments
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2 of 4 comments
  • Don Don on Jun 07, 2023

    Love the CVT, it's like a freight train. it just keeps pulling in just the right RPM range to maximize the torque. without skipping a beat like old school automatics do.

  • Zead Zead on Jun 19, 2023

    Nissan altima sr turbo best car 2023

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