If you believe that mid-size sedans are all about comfort, and performance, don’t worry: you’re not the only one. The big brands position them as family-friendly vehicles that put safety and reliability first. However, nothing’s stopping us from improving the air filtration system and gaining a little bit of HP, torque, and acceleration. All that can be achieved with the best cold air intake for Nissan Altima.
It will be installed with a set of basic tools and will replace the factory gear, taking powertrain efficiency to the next level. And while that won’t turn Altima into a race car, or an off-roading beast, you’ll still feel the improvements with the new system installed. And I have just the right picks for the average driver: the following kits were specifically designed for Altima.
Best cold air intake for Nissan Altima (Updated July, 2021)
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Best Nissan Altima Cold Air Intake Review
1. K&N Nissan Altima Cold Air Intake
Specifically engineered to maximize performance, this high-level air intake kit boosts the HP and torque in a long line-up of Altima engines. So, regardless of your car’s model year, you’ll get a guaranteed powertrain improvement. On top of that, it has a deep rumbling tone around 2.5K RPM and higher. When cruising, however, it’s much more subtle: everything about this cold air intake system is balanced.
It’s also important to mention the ultra-longevity warranty. K&N’s industry-leading quality standards allow it to provide such a generous guarantee. On the downside, while this is going to be one of those bolt-on types of installation, the process can take a while (up to two hours, or more). But, if you follow the user guide, you won’t have any trouble with fitment.
Altima drivers opting for an aftermarket cold air intake system might want to give K&N the benefit of the doubt. The deep tone and increase in HP and torque, along with the ultimate longevity guarantee turn it into a safe bet. The installation is a bit tricky, though, and can take longer than usual.
2. Spectre Performance Air Intake for Nissan Altima
You might think that acceleration is one of the least important aspects of a mid-size sedan, but that’s not really true. For example, with Spectre’s Performance series cold air intake, Altima will take less time to get from zero to 60. And you’ll feel that instantly. The MPG (miles per gallon) ratio will be improved as well. That means the car will burn less fuel and save some money in the long run.
To make sure the engine is well-protected against contaminants, Spectre installed a high-performance filter into this kit. As a result, you get an increase in airflow (up to 50%, according to dyno tests) and strong protection against debris. Above all, this air intake kit is reasonably-priced and will be exactly what the doc ordered for Altima owners on a budget. A quick note: some buyers report missing parts (screws, nuts – that kind of thing).
Better gas mileage, faster acceleration, and the high-performance filter are all good reasons to choose Spectre over the competition. It comes at an affordable price and will, most likely, be the air intake of choice for most Altima drivers. Now, due to minor quality issues, some packages miss screws/bolts, but nothing major.
3. aFe Takeda Cold Air Intake System for Nissan Altima
With aFe, we have a US-made air intake kit on our hands. It was designed, assembled, and dyno-tested right here in the States, ensuring perfect performance on any kind of terrain. Another big pro: the installation process takes very little time. You’ll be done in 30-40 minutes with no guesswork – everything is straightforward. So, even a novice will be able to understand everything.
Sadly, the user guide (installation instructions) isn’t very helpful. Both the text and the pictures are a bit misleading and can cause trouble instead of helping. Just remember to use Altima’s stock air inhaler, and you’ll be fine. The good news is – thanks to advanced engineering, the drivers don’t need to do any tuning for Takeda to fit Altima’s powertrain.
This is one of those brick-strong aftermarket parts that do their job and last forever. Fast, effortless installation (you’ll be done in less than an hour without any tuning) is the biggest pro. Plus, as a US-made product, it boasts premium build quality. But, the instructions could’ve been clearer, that’s for sure.
Altima has been on the market for almost three decades and is still a best-selling nameplate. Last year, the company sold 209K units – quite an impressive result for a high-competition market. Nissan achieved that by perfecting the original “formula”: improving the powertrain, the suspension, and, above all, reliability. We, in turn, can make Altima even safer and more durable with the addition of a third-party air intake system.
Trust me: it will be money well-spent, especially if you purchase one of the intake kits from my comparison table. It took me lots of research and manual testing before I came up with this list and I vouch for it. Spectre is the most affordable option. K&N is backed by the best warranty deal and guarantees a boost in performance. As for aFe, it’s incredibly easy to install.