Because I drove a rental-spec Nissan Altima SV, and kinda I liked it.
At the very least it’s an improvement over my mom’s Camry which someone hit, for the second time, presumably because it looks so anonymous and sad on the road. Fortunately no injuries - it happened in a parking lot - and the loaner car is a 6th-gen Altima with 55,000 km on the clock, a cloth interior, and Bluetooth connectivity from 8 years ago. Really, the system feels like only a marginal improvement from my 2006 Infiniti. It’s probably worth it to get the nav option on this.
It actually feels pretty quick in the city. At lights it moves quick off the line, handles fine, is roomy inside, and doesn’t look so bad (definitely not worse than the Camry’s new nose). And the thing I like most about it is actually the CVT. In this car is makes sense and also works ok-ingly. There’s only 174 HP on tap to move 3200 lbs of car and the CVT makes it feel like you’re always in the rev range... in the city. There’s not enough go at higher speeds to make this a great passing car on the highway, but I suspect many people driving these things aren’t too concerned with that anyway.
I much prefer the Altima to the Hyundai Elantra I rented for my Eastern Canada trip. It’s boring but gets the job done well. I almost like that there’s no pretend-sporty version you can buy either. It’s just a good, regular car. My mom likes it too and may be looking at getting one. The service we’re getting from the Toyota dealer is really shitty which has finally convinced her to consider other cars once the lease is up.