Skip to Content

Is The Nissan Altima A Sports Car? (Answered)

To the question of whether Nissan Altima is a sports car or something else, our research has swum us through some fascinating aspects. It implicitly revealed to us that the answer to the question is a bit deep rather than straightforward. Thus, we will take you along with each point to understand them at length.

Fundamentally, the first generation (1993–1997) of Nissan Altima is a compact car to the extent of its functions and features. Later on, different versions of ensuing generations revolve around the compact car and mid-size car. From the second generation onwards, the exterior design and a few features of some cars hinted at sports cars. However, we cannot call them sports cars with certitude.

Before we open up our discussion, we need to understand that the term sports car is subjective. A car with a high-powered engine alongside nimble handling and high-speed driving that seats two people is considered a sports car. Hence, a car complying with as many as the mentioned attributes is likely a sports car. So, we try to find out the status of different generations of Nissan Altima against various characteristics of sports cars. In the meantime, we need to bear in mind that the Nissan Altima is overall not a sports car.

Also read: Types Of Fuel A Nissan Altima Uses (All Generations)


In a car, the engine is considered the heart. Therefore, it makes sense to judge our car against it first of all. For your attention, different versions existing within and between generations of Nissan Altima primarily include four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines.

  • First-Generation (1993–1997): 2.4 I4
  • Second-Generation (1998–2001): 2.4 I4
  • Third-Generation (2002-2006): 2.5 I4, 3.5 V6
  • Fourth-Generation (2007–2012): 2.5 I4, 3.5 V6
  • Fifth-Generation (2012-2018): 1.6 I4, 2.0 I4, 2.5 I4, 3.5 V6
  • Sixth Generation (2018–Present): 2.5 I4, 2.0 I4

Surprisingly, a sports car can incorporate both of these engines. So, should we consider the Nissan Altima a sports car? Well, the answer is affirmative as well as dismissive at the same time. We tell you real quick in case you are wondering why.

Generally speaking, it is right to consider it a sports car as far as only the engine is concerned. But, we do not see the engine type in isolation when we attempt to judge a car. In practical terms, we need to see it in combination with engine output. Precisely speaking, we have to determine the power of the engine against the weight of a car. Here we describe the phenomenon down below.

Also read: Is The Chrysler 300 A Sports Car?

Power-To-Weight Ratio

Before all else, it is central to understand that a sports car is a powerful car relative to its weight. In this regard, the power-to-weight ratio helps to figure it out.

Finding the power-to-weight ratio requires two attributes of a car, namely curb weight and horsepower. Below, we have defined the maximum and minimum curb weight of different generations.

  • First-generation (1993–1997): 2,828 lbs. to 2,989 lbs.
  • Second-generation (1998–2001): 2,859 lbs. to 3,012 lbs.
  • Third-generation (2002–2006): 2,998 lbs. to 3,327 lbs.
  • Fourth-generation (2007–2012): 3,179 lbs. to 3,289 lbs.
  • Fifth-generation (2012–2018): 3,153 lbs. to 3,373 lbs.
  • Sixth generation (2018–Present): 3,164 lbs. to 3,472 lbs.

We can determine the power-to-weight ratio of a car by dividing the horsepower by its curb weight. At a minimum, a sports car strikes a power-to-weight ratio of 0.07 horsepower against one pound.

Here we find the power-to-weight ratio of a few cars from different generations to get an idea about the strength of engines that resided in them.

First of all, we strive to find the power-to-weight ratio of a car from the first generation.

  • 1997 Nissan Altima = 150 HP / 3031 lbs. = 0.04

Now, we attempt to find the power-to-weight ratio of a car from the third generation.

  • 2006 Nissan Altima = 175 HP / 3000 lbs. = 0.05

Ultimately, we try to find it out from the sixth generation.

  • 2019 Nissan Altima = 248 HP / 3437 lbs. = 0.07

From the results, it is clear that the car from the sixth generation turned out successful in striking the required benchmark. Meanwhile, the cars from the first and the third generations remained unsuccessful. Thus, we can argue that the car from the sixth generation meets the criteria of a sports car.7

Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Nissan Altima


Design is another element that helps us differentiate sports cars from other types of cars. Usually, a sports car contains two doors, and the design of the car suggests better handling. Moreover, a sports car is often relatively small in size, and it is low to the ground.

Things are pretty straightforward for Nissan Altima as far as design is concerned. Except for the cars from the fourth generation, all generations contain a four-door Sedan. Also, they are not great with smooth handling and acceleration. Instead, the cars are great for a daily commuter, and it has splendid fuel economy. It also provides a pretty interior with a comfortable seat and a smooth ride.

Considering the above points, we can argue that the Nissan Altima is not a sports car concerning design.

Also read: Is The Toyota Corolla A Sports Car?

Drive System

Another essential aspect is the drive system to evaluate the category of a car. In this case, a sports car preferably has rear-wheel drive, although it can have all-wheel and front-wheel drive. But, it is also true that front-wheel drive usually makes driving less sporty.

Discussing the Nissan Altima, all generations of the car incorporate front-wheel drive. In the sixth generation, however, it also has an all-wheel drive.

Hence, the above scenario elaborates that all generations do not meet the criteria of a sports car. At the same time, it is essential to highlight that modern cars do possess front-wheel drive, as discussed above. In the case of the Nissan Altima, the sixth generation also contains an all-wheel drive. So, we need to consider the drive system factor in combination with other elements.

On the whole, we can safely argue that the Nissan Altima is not sports as far as the drive system is concerned.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Nissan Altima

Is The Nissan Altima A Sports Car For Insurance Purposes?

With regards to insurance, there is no point in finding the category of a car. It is because insurance companies often do not categorize a car. Instead, an insurance service provider considers several different factors to decide the cost.

Speaking of Nissan Altima, average auto insurance rates are $1,446 annually. Besides, it costs $121 per month. Concurrently, it takes around $580 a year and $48 a month for a liability-only policy. For teenage drivers, the highest rates stand at approximately $5,285 annually and nearly $440 monthly. Thankfully, about $596 can get saved by a good driver annually by earning policy discounts.

Simultaneously, your insurance rates will get affected by factors such as your safety ratings and driving record. It is crucial to note that points like your age and location also affect insurance rates.

Also read: Is The Kia Stinger A Sports Car?


Have More Questions? Join Our Facebook Group!

Do you have any more questions that weren´t answered in this blog post? Join our free Facebook group and ask your question there. We promise you you´ll get an answer from one of our team members. Join the group here!