2.5SV to 3.5SL - Nissan Forums : Nissan Forum
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#1 Old 11-04-2012, 01:31 AM
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2.5SV to 3.5SL

Traded my 2.5SV for a 3.5SL a week ago.

Enjoyed the 2.5 for 5 months and 5000 trouble free miles. I believed that the 3.5 in SL trim would be a lot more enjoyable - and closer to the other premium cars I own.

I've put 800 miles on the new car in the first week of ownership and have a pretty good feel for the differences between the two engines and trim levels.

I rarely post here anymore, but if anyone has any questions about the differences between these two cars I would try to provide answers.
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#2 Old 11-04-2012, 03:08 AM
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I totally understand....

You do mean that you traded a 2013 2.5 SV for a 2013 3.5 SL...correct? You must have bought one of the very first cars that were available to have had it for a full 5 months.

I totally understand wanting the V6 over the I4 engine. That's why my pre-order in June was for a 3.5 SL, sight unseen. In my opinion, the two engines result in two cars that are totally different in character. What I mean is the refinement of the V6 in terms of low noise, smoothness (no engine vibration), and abundant torque (meaning really effortless acceleration) is the reason why Nissan offers the engine although it expects no more than 10% of buyers to take the V6. Nissan wants to compete with the Toyota and Honda models that still offer a V6, so they offer one too. What they've done for 2013 is push the car upmarket without pushing up the price (much). They know that the new Altima will cannibalize some sales of the Maxima, at least until they release an all-new Maxima, but believe me the salespeople who are pushing both cars right now are carefully positioning the two cars at opposite ends of their parking lots. I've owned two Maxima's in my life and I loved both of them. But, I don't own a current model because it seems overweight, over thought, and way too pricey to me, particularly considering that you can now get an even better car (not trimmed quite as well, but dynamically much better) in the Altima. That's why when I heard that Nissan was building an "upmarket" Altima for 2013 I decided to put in an order for one and trade my 2008 Altima Coupe (3.5 SE).

Oh, and considering the cost of the extra equipment in the SL over the SV (regardless of engine), I think the SL is a superior value. With the 7 trims available for the 2013 Altima, Nissan is covering all bases and price points (i.e., the difference in $1000 or $2000 is a deal breaker for many folks). The leather trim, Bose radio, xenon headlights, heated seats (and steering wheel and mirrors) make the SL Altima into a car that can compete with (some of the) cars from Acura, Lexus, and even BMW. (I don't talk about the Koreans or American cars in the same breath as the Japanese and Germans because in my opinion they both still have a long way to go to be comparable.) But I digress....

In closing, I want to be clear that I think the 2.5 I4 is a nice, impressive car--for what it is. That is, if you value MPG and don't care so much about engine refinement (i.e., noise, reserve power) and want to save $1200 to $2000, then the 2.5 is a great buy. But, if you want an Altima that compares very well with cars that cost many thousands of dollars more (like the Maxima), then I suggest that you spend some time in the 3.5 model (and the only one that matters in my mind is the SL) before plunking down your cash. I'm just saying.

Last edited by Wallybear; 11-09-2012 at 08:57 PM.
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#3 Old 11-04-2012, 09:17 AM
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Yes, my 2.5 was a very early build car. The 3rd Altima that my dealer recieved.

I pretty much agree with all your observations. 2.5SV was a fully competent car but somehow still felt rent car grade - albeit a very nice rent car.

The SL trim along with the 3.5 engine moves the car up into the class of many premium sports sedans - at significantly less money.
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#4 Old 11-05-2012, 10:59 PM
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I don't own a 5th gen, but I can speak to this as well. My 2004 was bought used in 2006 as a 2.5SL with 24k miles on it. Truly was a great car for 225,000 miles.

Now take that EXACT same car and do a full VQ swap into it...The difference is amazing. What was a very good car is now just that much better for all the reasons mentioned above. I don't plan on getting rid of this one anytime soon since it is completely paid for, but my next car will be a V6 without a doubt.


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#5 Old 11-06-2012, 01:39 AM
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28.8 and 27.7 mpg for my first two tanks with the 3.5. Probably going to average about this, but I'll need a a few more tanks to be sure. My 2.5 averaged 33.3 mpg for the 5000 miles I drove it. My driving doesn't include heavy city traffic.

The 3.5 is going just over 500 miles on a tank where the 2.5 would do 600 miles. This is about what I expected. I'd say that for me it's worth the 5 mpg hit to have the power and smoothness of the 6. This thing has some serious power and sounds lovely working - it's easy to see why the VQ engine is so highly regarded.
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#6 Old 11-06-2012, 11:13 AM
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I have the 3.5 SL and the only thing I would like to change is to have the 17" tires that are on the 2.5 I don't like the low profile 235-45-18 tires. I have about 2500 miles on the car now and I find the transmission getting smoother. I still get an occasional vibration or shudder the lasts 2 to 4 seconds under light acceleration. I am hoping they will come out with a reprogram for the TCM. I am kind of sensitive about CVT issues because I had a 2013 2.5 SL that the CVT required replacement and I worked out a deal to exchange it for the 3.5 SL
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#7 Old 11-06-2012, 12:50 PM
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The wider, low profile tires also generate a bit more tire noise and the firmer suspension results in a busier ride. The 2.5 definitely felt more plush - and I preferred that.

Others might prefer the tighter feel and higher cornering limits the 3.5 setup can deliver, but it comes at a cost of some of the 2.5's "rolling smoothness".

I've had no problems with either of my CVT's. The converter lockup is a little more pronounced in the 3.5 with a slight bump at 15-25 mph during light acceleration. The 2.5 did this also but it was less noticeable.
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#8 Old 11-07-2012, 07:15 PM
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My question is related to the difference in the performance of the CVT in the 2.5 vs the 3.5 specifically related to the noise, vibration and harshness levels. I may also consider trading up to the 3.5. Thanks.
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#9 Old 11-07-2012, 08:11 PM
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the cvts are the same for both the 2.5 and 3.5, besides power, comfort and convience stuff the only difference is the tires. the 3.5sl cones with the sport dunlops which can be harsh and they do cost more than a conti. both cars use same sach j shocks and struts like the maxima etc.


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#10 Old 11-07-2012, 09:47 PM
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The CVT's are similar but not the same. The 3.5 uses a link pin chain vs the stack plate metal belt in the 2.5. The torque converter and lock-up clutch are heavier duty in the 3.5 as well.

My 3.5 CVT feels just about the same as the one in my 2.5. The V6 is smoother and transmits less torsional NVH which results is a little more refined driving feel than the I4. I actually expected the differences to be a bit more evident than they are. Under hard acceleration, however, the 6 makes a much nicer sound than the 4. And it makes a LOT more power. The car has the effortless feel of some premium sedans.

The 3.5 uses stiffer springs and shocks - the firmer ride is not due only to the wider, lower profile tires. The road noise is also slightly higher with the wider tires. The current issue of Consumers Reports tested both versions of the Altima and they called out the 3.5 for it's ride quality.

Make sure you're OK with the ride before committing as the difference is noticable. Personally, I prefer the ride of the 2.5 but like the 3.5 VQ engine enough to tolerate the "sport sedan" feel.

Last edited by dbc; 11-07-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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#11 Old 11-07-2012, 11:35 PM
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Thanks, dbc. That is exactly the info that I was looking for on the differences. I guess I should have driven the 3.5 before I purchased the 2.5. I will go test drive one next week. Appreciate your feedback.

Another question. Did you take a big hit on the trade-in?
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#12 Old 11-08-2012, 12:27 AM
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I actually did better than I'd expected on the trade. Trade value was $2400 less than I'd paid for it new. Considering 5 months of ownership, that's less than $500 per month - maybe only a hundred or so more than a lease rate on a SV/ convenience.

I was expecting a lower trade offer and was ready to keep the 2.5 rather than take a huge loss.
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#13 Old 11-09-2012, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dbc View Post
I actually did better than I'd expected on the trade. Trade value was $2400 less than I'd paid for it new. Considering 5 months of ownership, that's less than $500 per month - maybe only a hundred or so more than a lease rate on a SV/ convenience.

I was expecting a lower trade offer and was ready to keep the 2.5 rather than take a huge loss.
In case it's helpful, I'd like to add a few comments here. When a same-year car with low miles (less than say, 5000) is traded within the same dealership (as is the case here) within the same model year, the car's "trade value" really is up to whatever the dealer thinks you are willing to pay (and how much they want to retain/please you) in relation to the cost/profit of the new car that you want to "upgrade" to.

This is a relatively complex subject in all its details and variables, but it's simple in concept. The basic idea is this: the dealer would much rather keep a happy customer than to lose one over a few hundred dollars (i.e., it really puts people off to say something like, "Oh, your car is worth $5,000 less with those 5000 miles on it"). The truth is it costs a lot of money to get any buyer into the showroom to sign for a new car and used cars have more profit in them than ever before. An unhappy new owner is an opportunity for the dealer, not a liability. The business of selling a gently-used car (most often called a "demo") is a longstanding tradition in the auto business that obviously helps in these types of "buyer's remorse" situations.

A dealer can easily sell a slightly/gently used car as a "demo" and/or as a "CPO" unit for just a few thousand dollars or so less than a new one (which would just about match the $2400 difference mentioned by "dbc"). The dealer makes money on the new sale just as they did the first time around, both on the front end and the back end of the deal. So, in most cases, a "very-low-miles swap" is a no-brainer for everyone. Of course, things do get dicier when a car is almost (or is already) a year old (i.e., wanting to trade a '13 for a '14) because that's when the actuarial tables (i.e., the industry trade values that everyone watches) come into play. The dealer will start to lose money when someone comes in wanting to trade a "last-year's" car with 8000 miles on it. The "slightly/gently" aspect of such a car is long gone.

The "moral of the story" is this: if you don't like your new car, you should consider trading up within the first 90 days or so (less than 30 days is ideal) and within the first 3000 miles (less than 1000 is ideal). The numbers make sense up to that point. Later on, they don't (don't usually) make sense.

Of course, another idea is to do more and longer test driving before signing a contract!

I hope this babbling helps/interests someone.

Peace.

Last edited by Wallybear; 11-09-2012 at 09:30 PM.
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#14 Old 11-09-2012, 11:09 PM
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Several incorrect assumptions above.

I certainly didn't have "buyers remorse" nor did I trade the car at the same dealership.

I currently own and drive 4 other cars and frequently trade cars. Some I keep for several years and some several months. I enjoy driving different cars and am fortunate enough to be able to fund this "hobby" and trade when something comes along that interests me.

The recommended "longer test drive" would be irrelevant to my purchase decision. In a sense, some of my cars are just a long test drive anyway.
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#15 Old 11-10-2012, 01:46 AM
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dbc, did you test drive the new 2013 Honda Accord I4 / CVT? If so, what did you think of it?
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  Nissan Forums : Nissan Forum > Nissanclub.com Nissan - Infiniti Enthusiast Forums > NISSAN ALTIMA FORUMS > *NEW* 2013+ NISSAN ALTIMA Forum > 2013+ Nissan Altima Discussion (2.5 & 3.5)

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