2016 Nissan Altima SR First Drive: New Maxima Biggie-Me [Video]

2016 Nissan Altima SR

The all new 2016 Nissan Altima has been redesigned inside and out, but we’ll forgive you if you can’t immediately spot the differences. Give up? The new Altima has a new hood, fenders, front fascia, and rear deck lid…  but since Nissan sells nearly 350,000 units each year, it has stuck with its winning formula and made the changes subtle. The new parts, however, result in a lower coefficient of drag, down to .26 from .29, which happens to be the same number as the GTR. Also shared with the GTR is the “Deep Blue Pearl” paint color worn by our test vehicle.

2016 Nissan Altima SR

While the interior received a new look, interior dimensions remain almost the same as the outgoing model. Not to say that the midsize Altima cabin is small — trunk space, and space for front seat and back seat passengers are more generous than a Nissan Maxima.

Inside the Altima’s cabin is a more refined overall look that is complemented by additional soft-touch surfaces, upgraded trim accents, a new Advanced Driver-Assist Display in the instrument cluster and re-contoured Zero Gravity front seats. The most obvious change is found in the new center stack that houses a 5.0-inch color display featuring NissanConnect with Mobile Apps and Siri Eyes Free (except for the base 2.5). A 7.0-inch touchscreen with NissanConnect, Navigation and Mobile Apps is standard on the Altima 3.5 SL, optional on 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL.

2016 Nissan Altima

Power hasn’t increased but the MPG estimates for the 2.5L 4-cylinder utilized by our test car are 27 city / 37 highway, while putting out 182 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. A 270 horsepower 3.5L V6 will also be available but we have yet to drive one. Other changes include a new suspension, retuned steering, and new wheels, all for the purpose of giving this car a sportier feel. Responding to customer feedback, Nissan added “D-step” logic to the CVT, making it feel like you’re going through a set of gear changes as you accelerate from a standstill.

So is this a budget GTR? Not quite… the CVT and front-wheel drive remind you that you’re driving an affordable family hauler… expect to realistically pay anywhere from the mid/upper $20s to the low $30s for the SR version tested here. All in all, the new Altima brings you an attractive alternative the segment leading Accord and Camry. But who knows, take a selfie close enough in front of your “Deep Blue Pearl” Altima and you may just fool some people into thinking you have a GTR, well… maybe not.

Recently we brought you a sneak peek video of the new 2016 Nissan Altima from the 2015 Miami Auto Show. Roman and Nathan have since had a chance to drive the car through the streets of southern California to bring you their initial impressions in this first drive review video. Enjoy!

2016 Nissan Altima SR Specifications:

  • Engine: 2.5L DOHC I4
  • Power: 182 hp
  • Torque: 180 lb-ft
  • Transmission: next generation Xtronic CVT with 7 virtual gears
  • Curb weight: 3,258 lbs.
  • EPA estimated fuel economy (city/hwy mpg): 27 / 37
  • Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
  • Length x width x height: 191.9 72.0 x 57.9 inches
  • Base price: $24,470
  • Price as tested: $26,115