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For a family sedan, the 2014 Nissan Altima can be fairly sporty. If you have a teenaged driver who likes to “borrow” the car, you might think twice about flipping them the car keys. They might like the Altima a little too much.

What is surprising about the Altima is the performance. Although the test-model Altima came equipped with a four-cylinder engine, the athletic performance could have easily been mistaken for a V6.

The impressive 2.5-liter, four-cylinder elicits 182 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque and goes 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest four-cylinder family sedans. The power is sent to the front wheels via the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

2014 Nissan Altima

  • Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 182 horsepower; 3.5-liter. V6, 270 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 27-38 mpg
  • Price: $22,010 to $30,660
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/60,000

If more performance is your thing, the Altima also offers a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. It sprints 0-60 mph in a swift 6.2 seconds.

Performance has always been one of the main selling points here for the Altima. But it’s more than just performance that has made the Altima a strong seller over the years. It’s a family sedan that tends to get underestimated, lost in the luminous shadow of the more acclaimed Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Nissan redesigned its top-selling model a year ago and one of the goals was creating a more upscale exterior. The Altima exterior and interior were completely new, with a focus on a more upscale look and feel throughout.

The exterior certainly looks different, now resembling the Infiniti M37, a classy sedan from Nissan’s luxury brand. The current Altima is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor. The cabin is fashionable with an appealing console and a dashboard that’s visible and high quality.

Another engaging facet of the Altima is gas mileage. The four-cylinder gets between 27-38 mpg, a top-end increase of 6 mpg over the 2012 model. The V6 version isn’t quite as gas efficient at 22-30 mpg.

In a change for 2014, Nissan no longer offers the Altima in a coupe.

The Altima has always provided a solid, responsive ride and that has only gotten better with redesign improvements that include an updated suspension and steering designs that allow the driver to take tight corners with even more assurance. The sporty ride quality remains very good, while road and wind noise are only minor.

If you liked the Altima before, you will enjoy it even more now. It remains a very good, reliable family sedan that also possesses a fun factor.

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