2016 NISSAN ALTIMA GETS STYLYING MAKEOVER, TWEAKS
By Tom Crosby
Nissan’s mid-size Altima sedan has grown in popularity every year since 2010 and for 2016 the company’s revised styling – exterior and interior – and performance upgrades are designed to keep the momentum going.
Mid-size sedans are best-selling cars and Altima now rival’s Honda’s popular Accord in popularity, both of which still trail the automotive industry’s bestseller, the Toyota Camry.
While there is nothing ground breaking about the 2016 version, the improvements should keep it a strong contender in its market niche.
There is a new sporty Altima SR trim joining the line-up this year. Five trims use a 2.5-liter engine and two use a 3.5 liter engine. There are nine option packages plus safety features – some standard – that include collision warning, blind spot alert, rear cross traffic alert and intelligent cruise control.
Our test drive was an Altima 2.5 SV, a prototype of the top 2.5 trim with $1,760 in options. They included a HomeLink universal transceiver that can be programmed to open garage doors and turn lights or home security systems on.
A very responsive Xtronic continuously variable transmission produced minimal lag when immediate acceleration was needed for passing or traffic merges. A new four-wheel independent suspension riding on 17-inch wheels aided handling and cushioned the ride.
Highway mileage is an EPA estimated 39 miles per gallon, which Nissan claims is best in class. Translation: 700 highway miles on a tankful.
Road and engine noise levels remain intrusive, something Nisan may be able to mitigate in the production version.
Outside changes include a lowered front fascia with new bumper, character creases along the fenders and hood. Rear taillights are lower and bigger with a new bumper.
Inside, seats remain comfortable. Altima uses a NASA “zero-gravity” front seat design mimicking the “neutral posture” a body takes in a weightless environment.
Inside, cabin space remains generous, seats fold down 60-40 split, trunk space is adequate and contains a spare tire. There are numerous knick-knack spaces and a deep storage tray beneath the newly designed dashboard with USB and EV outlets. A 5-inch dashboard screen feels too small for easy manipulation while driving. With NissanConnect, connections can be personalized with smartphone apps and apps are also accessible by passengers. A rearview monitor is standard on 2.5 S models and higher. It is helpful since rear vision is hampered somewhat by the receding roofline.Typically, Altima’s receive top good scores in crash tests.
LIKES: Look, mileage, ride, handling, interior
DISLIKES: Noise, average interior
BOTTOM LINE: The best-selling Nissan will continue to be popular midsize sedan
- Base price w/destination fee $26,225 ($27,845 as tested)
- Curb weight 3,223 lbs.
- Wheelbase 109.3 inches
- Length 191.9 inches
- Width 72 inches
- Engine specs 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, electronic fuel injection
- Horsepower 182 hp at 6,000 rpms
- Torque 180 lbs.-ft. at 4,000 rpm
- Transmission Continuous variable transmission
- EPA Rating 27 mpg city and 39 mpg highway
- Range 18-gallon tank, regular
- Performance 0-60 in just under 8 seconds