2016 Nissan Altima boosts style, sportiness and efficiency

By Bob Nagy on September 22, 2015 7:42 AM

A major mid-cycle refresh of the 2016 Nissan Altima has given the automaker's best-selling model a new lease on life. This cosmetic and functional updating adds more appeal that should serve it well in the competitive midsize sedan segment. Even as Altima sales have climbed by 60 percent since 2009, Nissan North America's VP of Product Planning, Pierre Loing, notes that "no area was left untouched in redesigning it for the 2016 model year." In addition to the 2.5 base, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL trims, the 2016 Altima adds an enthusiast SR with a choice of a 4-cylinder or a V6. 

Going with the Energetic Flow 

Employing Nissan's Energetic Flow design language, the exterior of the new Altima features a bolder but more refined character that's most evident in the nose which is all new from the A-pillar forward. The more angular forward fascia is punctuated by a new V-motion grille that recalls the Maxima. The inlet is framed by restyled LED-infused lighting including full LED headlamps on the SR models. The Altima's hood and fenders have bolder contours and character lines. The rear bumper/fascia combo is set off by new slimmed-down, four-element "boomerang" LED taillamps and a restyled decklid that features an integrated spoiler on the SR versions. The new Altima will offer both 17-inch and 18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels. 

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In addition its sharper design, the changes -- abetted by new active grille shutters, underbody fairings and a tidier windshield treatment -- help cut the 2016 Altima's drag coefficient from 0.29 to just 0.26. A more robust structure, added insulation and a laminated acoustic windshield also ensure this is the quietest-ever Altima. 

More comfortable and connected 

Inside, the Altima's cabin displays a more refined overall look and feel echoing the same kind of Gliding Wing dash design theme seen in the latest Murano and Maxima models. It's 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. 

Nissan engineers recalibrated the steering feel and brake responsiveness as well as revising the springs, shocks, bushings and tire fitments. The new Altima SR is fitted with ZF Sachs dampers and upsized stabilizer bars that trim body roll by 20 percent compared to non-SR models, reportedly while maintaining a good ride. All Altima models feature an Active Understeer Control system that works in conjunction with the basic stability/traction system to lightly brake the inside front wheel as needed when cornering to slightly increase yaw and help keep the nose on line. 

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Choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines

Like the current Altima, the 2016 model will offer the choice of a 179-182 horsepower/2.4-liter 4-cylinder or a 270-horse/3.5-liter V6. Both are backed by Nissan's Xtronic CVT automatic transmission which now features the latest Gen III D-step shift logic. In the 2.5 SR and 3.5 SR, it also offers a manual mode and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. While the V6 is unchanged and still earns 22/32 mpg city/highway EPA numbers, the 4-cylinder benefits from a number of subtle enhancements including a higher compression ratio, lower internal friction and a more efficient oil pump. Coupled with the improved aero packaging, the city economy remains at 27 mpg but the highway figure rises from 38 to 39 mpg -- best-in-class standard fuel economy -- on all but the Altima 2.5 SR which earns a still-respectable 37-mpg rating.

The 2016 Altima will offer an expanded range of standard and available driver assists and safety features that add radar-based Blind Spot Warning as well as Rear Cross Traffic Alert to the standards list on SV and SL models and well as a new class-exclusive Predictive Forward Collision Warning system can provide alerts about risks that lie beyond the driver's forward field of view. The 2016 Nissan Altima arrives in showrooms this November. Complete pricing will be announced closer to its actual on-sale date, but Nissan has confirmed the base 2016 Altima 2.5 will start at $23,325.

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