SUV and crossover sales have been surging for decades, leaving sedans in the dust, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to be in the market for a midsized sedan.

The Honda Accord does just about everything extremely well. The Toyota Camry is an all-around solid choice. The Subaru Legacy, though about as exciting to look at as a ball of dryer lint, puts a premium on safety, a comfortable ride and standard AWD. The Hyundai Sonata is eye-catching and presents great value. The Kia K5 is new, exciting and loaded with standard features. The Mazda 6 is gorgeous, engaging to drive and has an upscale cabin. The VW Passat is rich with practicality. The Chevy Malibu is inoffensive.

Like its competition, the 2022 Nissan Altima has its own strong points — namely, a comfortable ride, affordable pricing, optional all-wheel drive and strong fuel economy figures.  Up against stiff competition, the Altima is not the most exciting to drive or best looking, but like its rivals, there are plenty of positives to the competent sedan.

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After a complete rework of the Altima for the 2019 model year, changes for 2022 are limited. A Midnight Edition Package ($1,750) is now available in SR trim that comes with blacked-out wheels, grille, exterior trim, spoiler and badging. The package also includes standard LED fog lights, heated front seats, two-way driver seat lumbar support, a moonroof and heated side mirrors.

Buyers can select from a total of nine trims and powertrain combinations with the Altima providing the rare-in-class option of all-wheel drive for an additional $1,400.

As standard, the Altima is powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine rated for 188-hp and 180 pound-feet of torque.

Only available in SR trim models with front-wheel drive, the Altima can also be fitted with Nissan’s innovative VC-Turbo engine. The engine works by…doing a lot of extremely technical things. But essentially, the variable compression turbo allows for more power when needed and more fuel efficiency when cruising. With premium gas in the tank, the optional engine delivers 248-hp and 273 foot-pounds of torque.

Both engines are paired with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission.

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I have yet to have a go with the turbocharged engine, but the standard 2.5-liter offers adequate, though underwhelming and noisy, performance with the CVT.

That’s a bit of shame, because my tester was outfitted with SR trim and all-wheel drive. SR models get a unique suspension and chassis tuning, providing more engaging handling characteristics that better most of its rivals. Coupled with light but precise steering and predictable brake feel, the SR can hold its own in corners.

Though the standard powertrain is short on thrills, it does deliver notable fuel economy. FWD, 2.5-liter models will average about 31 combined mpg, and that figure is only lowered by 1 mpg across the board when opting for all-wheel drive. The turbocharged engine is just one more step below, offering 29 combined mpg.  

The Altima also provides value at the dealer, undercutting several of its rivals while offering a good helping of standard features.

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SR trim is perhaps the most attractive option at just $2,000 over base MSRP with several sought-after features and amenities, including the sport-tuned suspension and chassis. Also fitted to SR models are 19-inch wheels, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters and body colored door handles. All but base, S models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM Radio, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, LED headlights, a 7-inch display serving as the gauge cluster, blind-spot warning, rear automatic braking and rear cross-traffic alert.

All models get standard driver’s aids, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and forward collision warning.

The VC-Turbo engine will tack on to $4,350 to the standard, front-wheel drive SR but includes a moonroof, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats and other features.

The Altima’s cabin is innocuous with few frills, though some nicer and soft-touch materials are interspersed among the hard plastics.

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Though far from the most attractive platform, The NissanConnect infotainment system is easy to use with plenty of buttons and knobs for easy control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all but base models, along with the convenience of two front and rear USB ports.

Seating room is on par with most of the Altima’s competition with spacious accommodations for front passengers and adequate space in the rear. Nissan’s “zero gravity” seats are particularly comfortable on long treks.

Cargo space for those road trips is satisfactory with 15.4-cubic feet of trunk space, giving the Altima one of roomier cargo areas for its class. However, the rear seats don’t fold completely flat, and depressing them takes an inconvenient stretch into the trunk to pull a lever.  

While it may not be the strongest overall midsized sedan in a tough segment, the Altima is still worth a look for those who put a premium on value, fuel economy, comfort and available all-wheel drive.

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