There’s always a ton of talk about what a new model year does in terms of its specialty. How well the new vehicle runs, what the new powertrain rating is, what new luxury item is added, or how much larger the infotainment suite has become. But one of the things that rarely gets discussed with a lot of new model year entries is the practical stuff. For instance, how well does it get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’? How effective is the fuel economy? And what’s the basic storage capacity like? Oftentimes, those sorts of things aren’t seen as glamorous or enticing enough and usually occupy a line or two on a bullet point of features. However, that’s precisely what we’re going to discuss with the 2022 Nissan Altima.
It’s all about practicality. But what makes a good mid-size sedan practical for commuting? Price is obviously one major factor, but barring that, why would you want to use a specific vehicle for driving to and from work in and back-and-forth to your regular destination hot spots? Well, that’s the benefit of articles like this… breaking down what works and why, and how a vehicle like the 2022 Nissan Altima fits into a standard that some commuters might appreciate.
You may not hear much about it whenever someone talks about a vehicle that’s good for commuting, but the handling is extremely important. In fact, being able to weave in and out of traffic, make good on opportunities in the passing lane, and being able to maintain the pace to get to work on time are all extremely important. Handling isn’t just how fast a vehicle can go, but also how well you can take turns, how well it deals with the everyday wear and tear, and how fun the vehicle is to drive while on the road.
For example, some vehicles are known for pushing the boundaries on off-the-line acceleration thanks to a ton of low-end torque, making them great for keeping pace even in stop-and-go traffic. It’s also useful when moving to the left lane so you can pass the minivan in the center lane. However, those same vehicles may also require a lot of effort to take turns or make sharp corners, or make it feel like a real chore whenever you have to take bends at moderate speeds. The good part about the 2022 Nissan Altima is that it doesn’t have any of those problems.
The Altima has always taken the middle-of-the-road approach between performance and handling so that you never have too much of one over the other. With the 2022 model year, you still have access to great features like Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility system, so stability and handling are never a problem, and with an available turbocharged powertrain option, you have access to plenty of oomph when it comes to acceleration.
Another benefit in the handling department for the Altima that makes it a great commuter vehicle is that it is a reasonably sized sedan. It’s large enough for storage and comfort capacity but small enough to handle with ease. Some vehicles have high ride heights but short wheelbases, making them feel like leaning towers on wheels. Others have long wheelbases but ride low, making them difficult to corner. The Altima is that perfect middle ground between having the right kind of dimensions and being easy to maneuver.
2. Cargo Space
When talking about practicality, it’s easy to get lost in all the high-tech gadgets and gizmos available for a lot of today’s vehicles. Most of all, fancy elements that make up the comfort and infotainment elements don’t actually have much to do with commuting. So when you’re talking about what makes a vehicle good for commutes, you also have to talk about how much space it has. Because whether you’re driving solo, carpooling with others, or picking up and dropping off kids along the way to your destination, one of the most important things to consider is the cargo capacity.
Some people get completely wrapped up in the fuel economy, size, and some of the infotainment features but forget that space is equally as important. If you work in a field where you regularly carry binders, folders, cases, and boxes to and from school, campus, or the office, you will absolutely need plenty of trunk space or ample room in the backseat to secure all of your work. The same applies to those who may be in a field where physical projects, printouts, and demonstrations may be necessary. Even though a lot of office work has gone digital, if you’re doing clerical work where physical documents need to be filed, filled out, or processed, you may need the space in your vehicle if you have to manually transport them to and from destinations.
In short, there are a number of different ways that cargo capacity becomes a serious issue when you’re commuting, and the 2022 Altima thankfully offers up to 15.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity for goods. The Altima also features 72.9 inches of width and can house just over 1,000 pounds worth of cargo. So that means you could lug several desktop PCs in the Altima with no problem, or you could fit a large monitor or two in the second row. You can also fold the rear seats for even more room. Some reviews noted being able to fit up to six carry-on bags in the trunk and up to 17 bags in the vehicle between the trunk and with the rear seats folded. In short, the Altima has plenty of practical room to spare.
1. Fuel Economy Without Sacrificing Comfort
Fuel economy is always going to be the top-end of the driver requirements when it comes to a good, practical vehicle used for day-in and day-out commuting. The more miles per gallon, the better. However, there’s also that fine balance between being able to travel long distances and being comfortable while doing so. What good is having a vehicle that can get you across long stretches of highway without guzzling a lot of gas if it’s terribly inconvenient riding in the vehicle?
There are definitely some economy-class sedans out there that net you some amazing gas mileage but at the expense of a lot of basic amenities. Seats that feel too crammed, passenger volume that leaves you feeling squished, and a lack of a lot of features that would otherwise make the drive more tolerable. If you have to hoof it on the highway to and from work every day between half an hour to an hour (or more) going up and coming back, the last thing you want is to step out of the car with back pains or cramped muscles.
One of the benefits of a mid-size sedan is that you’re not shoulder-to-shoulder with other passengers if you do have to carpool, which is a problem you may face with certain subcompact sedans and SUVs. You get up to 58.2 inches of shoulder room in the front and 57.1 inches of shoulder room in the rear of the Altima. You also have 43.8 inches of front legroom and 35.2 inches of rear legroom. This gives you a bit of room to comfortably sit, not unlike in a compact or mid-size SUV.
The real highlight of the Altima is that it achieves up to an average of 39 miles per gallon on the highway, and you get some available comfort features like an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat and a 4-way power front-passenger seat. Maybe you don’t care too much about power-adjustable seats…maybe seating appointments are more important, such as the material or fabric used? Well, you can either opt for basic cloth trimming, sports trimming, or leather-appointed seats, depending on the trim. It’s not an all-or-nothing approach like some economy-class vehicles; you have options with the 2022 Nissan Altima.
All trims come with tilting telescopic steering columns, so you don’t have to try to peer over the steering wheel or slump your shoulders to adjust to the wheel’s level. You can comfortably have the Altima contour to your comfort habits. If there is a downside, it’s that only the upper trims offer dual-zone automatic climate control. Otherwise, you get the basic air conditioning on the entry-level trims. Even so, if you had to drive for long periods at a time in the daily commute, the Altima seems like a fine, practical fit.