Model Tested: 2016 Nissan Altima SV
Engine: 2.5-liter, DOHC 4-cylinder
Transmission: Xtronic CVT
EPA Ratings: 27/city, 39/highway, 31/combined
Base Price: $25,460
As Tested: $28,425
Overview: The number of “midcycle” refreshes in the midsize sedan segment is an indicator how competitive this segment is. The 2015 Toyota Camry started the trend, followed by nearly every major competitor including the Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Chevy Malibu and soon the Ford Fusion. The 2016 Nissan Altima is no exception, upgrading just three years after its last major makeover.
The platform and basic power package remain the same — 2.5-liter 4-cyinder or 3.5-liter V6 married to CVTs. The exterior is stylized with new sheetmetal similar to the restyled Murano and Maxima — including Nissan’s signature chrome “V-motion” grille. Flowing body contours sharper character lines, and additional chrome accents give it a more upscale look.
Interior: Much needed attention was focused on the interior. Materials boast a richer look, with more soft-touch surfaces and a redesigned center stack and console similar to the Maxima making the infotainment system more accessible, and the Nissan Connect system’s Mobile Apps easier to use.
Behind the Wheel: The cabin is quiet and comfortable, thanks to the addition of laminated glass and sound-deadening materials. Nissan’s Zero Gravity front buckets provide comfort and support.
The 182-horse, 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine offers unexpected power, while Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission continues to improve — with seven ratio steps mimicking a conventional automatic. Performance isn’t this powerplant’s feature attraction — fuel economy is — with an EPA-rated 27 city/39 highway. Our mixed-use driving exceeded 30 mph — excellent for a nonhybrid.
Bottom Line: The evolution of the 2016 Nissan Altima keeps it a strong competitor in a crowded market segment. Better looks, a more upscale cabin and quieter ride are proof Nissan got it right — again.