Big Guy Car Guy

Big Guy Car Guy: Two Days in Florida in a 2014 Nissan Altima

Where’s the damn USB port?

This was the 1st, 3rd, 8th and final question I asked of the 2014 Nissan Altima we rented from Hertz at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando last week. We only needed a car for only a couple of days, to partake in our chill ‘Vacation from the (Universal Orlando) Vacation’ on the gulf coast beach in North Redington, and switched to the Altima after a cute-but-miniature Chevy Spark was pulled around front for us — um, yeah, that’s not gonna work.

The ’14 Altima did fit us nicely, with the 7-year-old Mouse having a satisfactory amount of leg room behind my front seat which I had moved nearly all the way back to accommodate my 6′ 4″ frame. The trunk space, unlike the precious lil’ Spark, was more than ample for our 4 pieces of luggage plus 4 carry-on packs, souvenir paraphernalia and my camera bag. It could comfortably fit Jimmy Hoffa too, who, like the USB port, is still missing.

Most everything about this stylish full-size Nissan made sense, save for three things — all of which involve the center console. First, as we’ve already discussed, why does the $20 tabletop fan I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond to keep me cool in the kitchen have a USB port but the $20,000 + 2014 Nissan Altima does not? Second, the center console is roughly 35% larger than necessary, with oodles of wasted space around and alongside the control panels which zaps potential right knee wiggle room for tall drivers like me. Finally, the mystery that is Bluetooth connectivity was never solved during our 48 our Altima expedition from central to coastal Florida. I never even came close to pairing my HTC One M8 or my wife’s iPhone 4S. Didn’t even get past the BLUETOOTH text on the display. There was no logical, intuitive way to pair the devices with the car which was infuriating. I was left to loop Jukebox The Ghost’s two new songs straight from my HTC One (thankfully, the speakers can boom…unlike the feeble sound which emanates from the iPhone).

At this point, my daughters are requesting that I add one more thing to the list of 2014 Altima issues: the arm rest/cup holder pull down in the middle of the back seat does not come to a complete rest, meaning it bounces a bit when they lean on it or put their drinks in. The hack to solve this problem during our trip was a pink flip-flop wedged beneath (see photo) but, really? This design flaw, while minor, was easily avoidable. Just like the other three.

*Note, I eventually did find a USB port on the side of the Hertz Neverlost box but the charge I received from it was so very weak. It barely provided any juice to my orange. Get it, Florida oranges? Obviously, the lame charge from it isn’t an Altima problem but the fact that I needed this charge is.

The 2014 Nissan Altima offers drivers a slightly sunken experience behind the wheel with relaxing left arm resting place on the door and suitable left knee angling. The vehicle, which proved a comfortable ride inside and on the Florida highways for a family of four, does have a pair of cigarette lighters, which made me wonder if we’d stumbled into the 1984 throwback edition of the 2014 Altima. That’s a joke I made on Twitter…just before my phone died because I couldn’t charge it while making the 2 hour drives to and from the bath water warm Gulf of Mexico.


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