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Friday 30 September 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Nissan Altima Review

Test Drive: 2016 Nissan Altima Review

We saw the first Altima in 1992, and this 2016 version I am reviewing is the fifth-generation midsize Nissan Altima.

For 2016, the Altima sports a new front and rear end, and closely matches the new look of the Murano and Maxima, with the V shaped front end, and rear tail lights that wrap around into the body.

A new hood, with a raised center serves to give Altima a more aggressive look. Front fog lights, 18” wheels, a rear spoiler, and rear dual exhaust complete the sporty look.


It is hard not to think of the new Altima as a baby Maxima, Nissan’s flagship sedan. What is interesting about that is the Altima has more back seat room and trunk space than the Maxima does.

My front-wheel drive review vehicle has the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, but there is an optional 3.5-liter 6-cylinder. This 4-cylinder with a CVT transmission is putting out 182-horses. I’ve never made it a secret that I don’t love Continuously Variable Transmissions, but this one is tolerable because it gives you the sensation of shifting, although it really isn’t. Before this software manipulation, the CVT always felt like you were driving a rubber band that was getting tighter and tighter.

The 2.5 Altima comes in five models: the base, the S, the SR, the SV, and the top of the line SL, which is what I am reviewing. Being the high-series model, it comes standard with leather interior, a Bose sound system, dual power front seats, heated steering wheel with controls, heated seats, rear view camera, and blind spot monitoring.

You also get keyless entry, pushbutton start, and one of my favorite features, remote start.

The interior is comfortable with a large, easy to read tachometer and speedometer, and between those is a color Driver information center that allows you to see turn-by-turn navigation instructions, your tire pressure, caller ID if your cell phone rings, and a startup screen that tells you if you have any warnings. From that screen, you can actually change the color of the car on the screen. That adds no real value, but is kind of cute.

The Altima interior is clean and ergonomic, and the wood surrounding the gearshift is beautiful. Above that is the screen that houses the backup camera, your radio controls, the navigation system, and that is where you engage the Nissan Connect apps. You can access Google and Facebook and get a lot of real-time information.

I really like the interior of the SL package, especially the back seat that will fold down from the spacious trunk, and it has a nice center armrest for the back seat occupants.

This car has only two options. The first is the Tech Package, which gives you navigation system, voice recognition, Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control, forward emergency braking, and LED headlights. This package runs $2190. This car also has a power sliding moon roof for $800.

The Altima is very quiet in the cabin even at highway speeds; it handles well, and has a smooth ride. All in all, it is a very enjoyable sedan. I have to also mention a wonderful feature called easy-fill tires. If you have a low tire, and start to air it up, when you get to the appropriate air pressure, you get a toot of the horn. BRILLIANT!

For me, besides Altima being a nice midsize sedan, the real story is fuel economy. This car is rated at 27 in town, and a nothing short of amazing 39 on the highway. In stretches of highway driving at 65 miles per hour, I was actually getting 42 miles per gallon. If you fill the 18-gallon tank-from the driver’s side by the way-with regular fuel, you’ll have a range of over 700 miles.

Base sticker price on the 2016 Altima is $22,500, and as equipped like this one, it has an MSRP of just over $32,500. That puts it a little under its main competitors, the Accord and Camry, similarly equipped.

Altima sales were up 5% last year. Nissan held the line on price for 2016, even with the redesign of this 2016, so I suspect sales will be up again for this year.

One interesting tidbit on this particular car, it is a pre-production car, which means it was built before the Altima was actually being produced and certified by the government. Sadly, this car will end up being destroyed.

  • What I liked most:  The fuel economy and value proposition.
  • What I would change: Give me the option of an 8-speed automatic vs. CVT.
  • MSRP: Base price $28,570 on the SL package, as equipped $32,595.
  • Fuel Economy: 27 City/39 Highway, 31 Combined, getting 42 on the highway.
  • Fuel Tank: 18 gallons of regular fuel.
  • Dimensions: 191.9” long/72” wide/57.8” high.
  • Weight: 3254 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing: N/A
  • Miles When Tested: 5100 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point: Smyrna, Tennessee.
  • 2016 Altima in a few words: Amazing fuel economy and a very enjoyable car.
  • Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain coverage, with roadside assistance.
  • Manufacturers Website: Nissan
Photo Credit: Nissan