Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

The emblem of a 2021 Nissan Ariya is shown at dusk.

Nissan Cars and EVs – A Buyers Guide

Your local Nissan car dealers are a gateway to the extensive heritage of innovation and forward-thinking that belongs to the Japanese brand. Nissan has built up a significant reputation over the years for an enviable combination of reliability, affordability, and high technology.

This array of qualities applies to the full range of Nissan models, which encompass a diverse spectrum of vehicles. The brand offers full and mid-sized pickup trucks, crossovers, and SUVs for every application and purpose. But today, we will be focusing on their lineup of sedans, hatchbacks, and of course, some of the best performance cars on the market.

These vehicles are increasingly rare in the modern market, and we appreciate that Nissan continues to invest in them. However, we will have an eye to the future as well as the past, as we will be taking a look at Nissan’s EV offerings as well as their traditional gasoline cars.

Whether one is in the market for an electric Leaf, a comfortable Altima sedan, or even a supercar-killing GT-R, Nissan always delivers large amounts of capability at an affordable price. Match that with the reliability and dependability that Nissan owners have come to expect from their vehicles, and it is hard to go wrong when shopping for a Nissan car.

Fast and Fun

Nissan builds all kinds of passenger vehicles but has built up most of its renown around cars. The automaker produces a full line of cars, including compacts, midsize and full-size vehicles. No matter one’s needs or tastes in automobiles, Nissan has something for you. That said, the best complete package of what Nissan offers and stands for comes in the form of the legendary Z sports car.

The Z’s current iteration, the 370Z, merges power, sound, agility, and surprising practicality into one of the best sports car value propositions on the market. Just as every Z has done for the past half-century, the 370Z makes for the perfect daily-driven sports car. The Z has sleek modern bodywork and is as fast and fun to drive as it is to look at. Complementing this is a comfortable interior with seating for two and a large hatchback for luggage. The Z can easily be your only car, unlike some other more expensive sports cars out there.

The most extreme incarnation of Nissan’s potential is its second sports car, the GT-R. When first unveiled, car magazines and enthusiasts alike struggled to understand how the not overly powerful GT-R could lay waste to its competition both off the line and in the corners, but the secret lay not under the supercar’s aerodynamically optimized hood. The secret was in the GT-R’s software, which manages a sophisticated all-wheel drive system to perfectly apportioned power to each tire and maximize performance. It also doesn’t hurt that the current GT-R makes up to 120 more horsepower than when it was first introduced in 2007.

A red 2021 Nissan Altima is driving through a city at night after leaving a car dealer.

Efficient and Affordable

One might think that the humble subcompact Versa is about as far from a sports car as one could get, but this lightweight joy is one of the few cars still available with that drivers’ favorite – a manual transmission. Besides surprising sportiness, the Versa has other features normal to Nissans. Chief among these is maximizing internal space, providing a surprising amount of comfort for up to five passengers. Even better, all of that space comes in a car that starts at under $15,000.

Sentra has long been a solid name in compact cars, and the current Sentra continues to provide a solid choice between the larger midsize Altima and the subcompact Versa. Starting under $20,000, the Sentra provides value inside and out, with premium looks and premium infotainment options. These include a standard seven-inch color touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration. Alongside comfort-enhancing available features like heated front seats and intelligent cruise control, the Sentra also offers top-of-the-line safety technologies like automatic emergency braking.

Comfort and Performance

The Nissan Altima has long been a forward-leaning midsize sedan, and that remains true today. The current Altima is a showcase of cutting-edge styling and technology, making it a far cry from the vast majority of other midsize cars on the market, which have largely been left to rot by their manufacturers. In addition to new driver assistance technology, the super-modern Nissan Infotainment, and an aesthetic that makes other company’s sedans look like cardboard boxes, the Altima can also be equipped with the VC-Turbo engine.

The VC-Turbo is a variable compression powerplant, a brand new technology that is unique in the industry. Altimas equipped with the VC-Turbo engine provide the maximum of both power and efficiency whenever either is needed. The Altima is even available with all-wheel drive, providing bad weather performance equal to any SUV.

For those who require a full-size vehicle, the Maxima delivers. An expansive and plush interior is wrapped in a beautifully purposeful exterior design, all of which is propelled forward with the force of 300 horsepower from the rugged V6 engine. Multiple driving modes allow the vehicle to meet any situation with poise and make the Maxima a true four-door sports car.

A orange 2021 Nissan Leaf is shown from an angle driving through a city at night.

Electric Vehicles

The future has arrived fashionably early, and the number of electric vehicles on the road is growing every day. However, while many manufacturers are just releasing their first EV models, Nissan has been a pioneer in this space for years and continues developing the vehicles of the future. In fact, the Nissan Leaf was the very first mass-produced modern EV when it hit the market back in 2010, and it has only gotten better since.

One of the primary advantages of electric vehicles is that they cost so little to operate and maintain, and the Leaf combines that extremely low cost of ownership with an equally low cost of purchase. But despite being one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market, the current Leaf offers plenty of performance. When optioned with the available 62 kWh battery, this compact hatchback can travel up to 226 miles without recharging, and its 250 pound-feet of instant electric torque will make you never want to go back to gasoline engines.

The Leaf will soon be joined by the all-new Ariya. This EV model is a technology showcase, with long-range, quiet, and powerful electric motors combined with state-of-the-art safety and infotainment systems. The vehicle’s sleek design is highly aerodynamic and lends itself not just to aesthetics but impressive efficiency as well. Like the Leaf, the Ariya can be charged overnight in your garage or driveway, and its 300 miles of electric range is more than enough for commuting and daily driving around town. On road trips, the Ariya is capable of fast charging at public chargers, letting you get back out on the road after a brief pause to stretch your legs and recharge.

Nissan Cars Remain Strong

Nissan has always looked ahead while providing for the present. Reliability, affordability, and fun are baked into every Nissan car, in every segment, across the lineup. And that lineup is massive, with a model for every size class from the subcompact Versa to the full-size Maxima. Very few other brands still offer that variety when shopping for a new sedan, and none of them combine a full lineup of cars with competitive electric vehicles. Nissan makes automobiles for everyone but does not just produce basic transportation. These cars have always pushed the envelope, both in technology and accessibility.