The last time I did a full review on an Altima was back in 2012 while reviewing the 2013 year model. Back then there wasn’t anything particularly exciting about the Altima, but at the same time, there wasn’t anything particularly bad about it either. With this newly refreshed Altima, Nissan must be doing something right as it’s been selling really well. At the same time, the competition is as hot as always. So let’s take a look at what they’ve done here.
Exterior: Looking at the exterior of the new Altima, the brand’s design definitely hits you. The design direction that started with the 370Z and worked its way into the new Maxima has now made its way throughout Nissan’s lineup and right into the Altima. The result is a fantastic looking sedan with hints of sportiness and modern design. The hood of the car is bold and aggressively comes down to show off the new headlights that mimic those of the 370Z and the new Maxima. There are plenty of bold lines throughout the front fascia and down the side of the car. Around the back, the trunk line appears lower, giving the car a more squatty stance and making it look more athletic on the road. The taillights get the same design treatment, once again mimicking that found on the Maxima. Overall I think Nissan has done a great job in their redesigns, and I’m really liking the looks of the new Altima.
Interior: Moving inside the car, a notoriously neglected area for Nissan, you actually get a pretty decent place to find yourself. Our test vehicle was equipped with comfortable beige leather seats and a beige and black two-tone interior. Depending on your trim level, of course, you also get black plastic trim pieces, or in our case, some white plastic trim that has some funky designs embedded. It’s not the fanciest thing in the world but I think it actually brings some interesting looks and texture to what would otherwise be a pretty boring palette.
One of the more notable differences in the 2016 Altima is a cleaner looking, U-shaped center stack. Our vehicle was equipped with a decent size touchscreen for the infotainment and navigation controls. The interior space is quite good — seating 5 people in the car is done with ease.
Safety and Technology: Nissan has what it calls “Safety Shield Technologies,” which includes things like forward emergency braking and intelligent cruise control. They’ve also added a new — and pretty awesome — system to the 2016 model. You now get a predictive forward collision system which actually bounces a radar signal off the road, going underneath the car in front of you to get a reading on the car in front of it. We find that to be an incredibly sophisticated capability. When the car in front of the car in front of you stops or slows down, your Altima will be warned and will react accordingly. Amazing.
Under the hood: You still have the options of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6. The 2.5 produces 182 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The 3.5 pushes a more respectable 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. Obviously, the smaller engine is going to give you a better EPA rating with a 39 mpg highway rating. The V6 is rated at 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.
The Bottom Line: Overall I think the new Altima looks great and is a really good option if you’re looking for a mid-size sedan. There are still a bunch of other great options out there, too, including the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion, Mazda 6, and so much more. Before, I would have just said ignore the Altima and go for something with a more inspiring design. Now I think the Altima is right up there with the top 3 or 4 that you really must test drive.