A red 2021 Nissan Altima is shown driving on a city street after leaving a used Nissan dealer.

Why a Used Nissan Altima Is the Perfect Vehicle for a New Driver

Buying your first-ever car is an exciting milestone. Having your own set of wheels represents freedom, an escape, and an opportunity to venture out and embrace one’s sense of independence and adventure. Your first vehicle is one you’ll always remember fondly, but there is a flipside to that coin. Embarking on your first car purchase can raise feelings of uncertainty and overwhelm. What should I buy? Where do I buy it? How do I begin? And of course, how much should I spend? When looking to invest in your very first vehicle, you may want to start with a more affordable model.

Many new drivers opt for finding a great used car, something with a bit of mileage and accordingly discounted. It’s as easy as finding a great Nissan model on the used market. Why choose a used Nissan dealer, you ask? If you’re going the used route, you can’t go wrong with a reliable brand with an extensive track record for building quality cars for over a century. Nissan has been around for decades, designing practical and affordable cars. They’ve rolled popular sedans, SUVs, and trucks off the assembly lines that the masses have embraced for decades. Vehicles like the Altima, Maxima, Rogue, Pathfinder, Murano, Frontier, and more have been successful thanks to their performance, durability, and safety.

A new driver looking for a budget-friendly and reliable option could benefit greatly from finding a used Nissan. There are plenty of options for pre-owned Nissan models that still have many more years of driving left. One particularly great model is the Altima. There are a number of benefits to buying a great used Altima, including saving thousands of dollars off the original sticker price, lower monthly payments, available extended warranty programs, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re behind the wheel of a quality car.

With so many great options to choose from, we’ve compiled a list of noteworthy recent Nissan Altima models to shop. The Altima years spanning from 2016 to 2021 offer uncompromising quality, a thoughtful redesign, and plenty of modern technology. In the following breakdown, you’ll get to know and love these models, and after getting to know the Altima more intimately, you’ll want to get down to your local Nissan dealership and experience one for yourself. Continue reading for a compilation of features on the Nissan Altima models of 2016 to 2021 that would make an excellent choice for a new driver shopping on a budget.

 close up shows the gauge cluster in a 2020 Nissan Altima.


Why the Altima?

The Altima is a staple in Nissan’s lineup. This savvy sedan has been one of the brand’s best-selling models thanks to its comfortable layout, generous cargo space, and exceptional performance. The Nissan Altima offers passengers a quiet ride, plenty of entertainment technology, a suite of safety and driver assistance features, and great fuel economy for its class. In the five years of production spanning from 2016 to 2021, there are minor changes to the powertrain, upgrades to the interior and exterior styling, and the addition of newer infotainment technology.

This midsize sedan has plenty of options. The 2016 to 2021 model years stand out for their convenient tech inside the cabin and fuel-efficient engine configurations that deliver a fun drive while saving you money at the pump. For example, the 2016 Altima features two engine options. The base engine is a 2.5L four-cylinder with an output of 182 hp. This engine gets a remarkable EPA-estimated fuel economy of 27 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway, numbers that compete closely with hybrid powertrains.

The second available engine for the 2016 Altima is a beefier 3.5L V6 that produces 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. While not as efficient as the 2.5L, this engine still gets an enticing 22 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. By 2021, the EPA gas ratings stay nearly identical for the 2.5L engine, while the 3.5L is eventually swapped out for a more efficient 2.0L turbocharged engine that produces 248 hp. The 2019 Altima notably also offers an all-wheel drive configuration, a rarity in its class.

The Altima’s Spacious and Tech-Filled Interior

For newer drivers, the Altima‘s cabin has a lot to offer. It’s roomy and comfortable, with durable and easy-to-maintain materials like cloth or leather upholstery. The backseat is fairly large for a sedan, with plenty of legroom for your passengers. Deep pockets in the doors hold smaller belongings, while there is generous room in the center console and glove compartment for other personal belongings. The trunk space in the 2017 Altima offers 15.0 cu.ft. of space, easily supporting a large grocery haul, sporting equipment, or a few suitcases. Base trims offer cloth seating, while the higher trims feature upscale touches like leather, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

The most rapidly changing aspect of the 2016 to 2021 model years is the infotainment center. Earlier editions have a standard 5.0-inch color display with Bluetooth, a USB port, 6-speaker stereo system. Or, the higher trims offer a 7.0-inch display with navigation, satellite radio, and a 9-speaker Bose stereo system. It isn’t until 2018 that Nissan offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. However, it should be noted that the 2018 model doesn’t have that on the base model. It was in 2019 that an 8.0-inch display and device compatibility became standard. The 2019 models are also the first year to support an available wifi hotspot.

A white 2021 Nissan Altima is shown from the rear while driving through snow.

A Variety of Innovative Safety Features

Another perk of shopping for the Nissan Altima is its streak of safety, an especially crucial element for a newer driver to consider. The 2016 Altima was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It was also redesigned with a stronger front end, a strengthened door sill junction, a hinge pillar, and a reinforced footwell to better protect the driver and passengers in the case of a front collision.

Some of the safety and driver assistance features vary from year to year, so if you’re looking for more innovative tech, you might seek out something from 2019 to 2021 or even a higher trim level. The 2016 Altima has forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking for the base model, while higher trims offer an available lane departure warning and lane keep assist, as well as available adaptive cruise control. Moving to higher trim levels opens access to the more advanced driver assistance features as well.

A Perfect Vehicle for New Drivers

Now that you’ve gained some insight into these Altima models, it’s clear how this sedan would serve a new driver well. Being a midsize sedan, the Altima fits nicely into a comfortable category: all the car you need without the extras you don’t. The Altima helps drivers save money in several ways. As an affordable option right off the assembly line, the Altima offers even more savings when purchased as a used or Certified Pre-Owned vehicle. Plus, no matter the powertrain variation, the Altima models from 2016 to 2021 are remarkably good with fuel economy, saving you even more money. The Altima conforms to its drivers’ needs and offers exactly the power you need without sacrificing fun or efficiency.

These five years of Altima models draw us in with performance, safety, and convenience. Nissan has followed the path of upgrading their vehicles each time a new advancement makes the model safer and more enjoyable. Innovations in entertainment carry through with compatibility for all your favorite devices. Meanwhile, safety and driver assistance get top priority and help the Altima earn its outstanding safety ratings from IIHS. There is only one thing the Nissan Altima is missing: and that’s you!