Car Review: The Nissan Altima SR VC-Turbo wakes up the midsize sedan market with added power and sports suspension

Nissan Altima SR VC-Turbo
Nissan has a solution for a sportier version of the Altima SR with the nifty VC-Turbo engine that pumps out nearly 250hp. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

The Nissan Altima has been a big seller for years and while it moved family without hassle it’s been a bit underwhelming in the power department since its redesign a few years ago.

Nissan has a solution for a sportier version of the Altima SR with the nifty VC-Turbo engine that pumps out nearly 250hp. But this engine adapts to the way you drive, delivering all that power with gusto or turning some impressive mpg when you’re on the highway. I welcomed the extra power that makes the Altima a better passing vehicle and less buzzy at higher revs. The SR trim level also elevated the handling with a sport suspension. The Altima SR was able to be thrown through some corners without complaint despite its larger family-car size. However, most drivers won’t ever really push the sedan very hard and the Altima is still a comfortable cruiser.

Styling for the Altima SR VC-Turbo includes a bold blacked-out revised grill and sports car-styled 19-inch wheels — features you don’t usually see on a family car. The body has plenty of lines and curves and the sloping roofline and angled rear door glass give the sedan more of a coupe-like appearance. Dual tail pipes and a black lower rear valance complete the look of this Altima SR that definitely has a little more to say than other Altima models.

Sometimes the sporty versions of popular midsize sedans make you live with a little less on the inside. Luckily, the Altima SR VC-Turbo doesn’t suffer that fate. Comfortable leather-covered sport seats greet those sitting up front and the rear bench seat has good head and legroom. The trunk space is also a plus for this sedan with loads of room. The 12.3-inch touchscreen is easy to use and there is even wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The car’s NAV and voice functions work better than some of the competition’s systems.

Cost: $34,900; as tested $36,440

MPG: 25 mpg city; 34 mpg highway. I managed 32.1 in 257 miles of mixed driving.

Options: $355 floor mats, trunk mat, hideaway net and dual trunk hooks

Safety: Rear sonar system; ProPilot Assist; steering assist; intelligent cruise control; automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection; intelligent forward collision warning; rear automatic braking; blind spot warning; rear cross traffic alert; lane departure warning; intelligent lane intervention; high beam assist; vehicle dynamic control system

Things to know: Nissan has made its popular midsize sedan even more appealing to those who want a little more sport and power with the SR VC-Turbo trim level.


  • Large sedan has space for the family
  • A welcome power boost from VC-Turbo engine
  • Gets good fuel economy even when equipped with the powerful engine


  • Not the best visibility out the back of the car
  • Pricey in higher trim levels
  • With the large wheels and sports suspension, you may feel more bumps
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