2018 Nissan Altima

Starting Price: $24,145 | Price Yours

Above Average:  Innovative Zero Gravity seats, good reliability and resale numbers, optional V6 engine

Below Average: Interior and trunk volume, no hybrid or all-wheel-drive option, conservative styling

Consensus: A well-equipped and reasonably priced family sedan with a slightly sporty side


2018 Nissan Maxima

Starting Price:  $33,905 | Price Yours

Above Average: Powerful V6 engine, ride and handling, long features list

Below Average: Polarizing styling, small rear seat, front-wheel drive and a CVT transmission are not the chosen setup for most enthusiast drivers

Consensus: A legendary name that now feels more like a sporty premium luxury car than a BMW killer


While both the Altima and Maxima offer V6 power, the Maxima pumps out 30 more horsepower, and its suspension and steering are much more keen than the setup afforded the Altima. Both cars are offered only as 4-door sedans, but where the Altima’s rear seat can comfortably fit tall adults, the Maxima’s rear quarters are not so accommodating. Both cars offer an advanced set of driver assist features, including Intelligent Forward Collision Warning that can react to situations happening two cars ahead. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are along for the ride, as are upscale options like a Bose audio system, navigation and adaptive cruise control. The Altima offers a 4-cylinder engine on all trim levels, meaning even the most luxurious Altima is going to cost less than a comparably equipped Maxima and get better fuel economy to boot. However, the Maxima has features unique to it, such as a driver’s seat manual thigh extension, Nissan’s Intelligent Driver Alertness and an Intelligent Around View monitor.

Nissan Altima Advantages

Fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine, Active Understeer Control improves handling, more rear-seat head and legroom

Nissan Maxima Advantages

Powerful standard V6, advanced electronic suspension and traction controls, long list of standard and optional equipment, highly stylized exterior, opulent interior


The Maxima and Altima share a number of features, including a 3.5-liter V6, numerous standard and available driver assists, NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seating and upscale amenities like a Bose sound system, leather seating and LED headlights.

Final Recommendation

If your ideal Nissan sedan has pure power and performance, the Maxima is the right choice. If you’re going for a roomy, comfortable family sedan that can double as a near-luxury car with mild performance aspirations, the Altima makes a better fit. 

  2018 Nissan Altima 2018 Nissan Maxima
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.5-liter I4 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 179 hp @ 6,000 rpm 300 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque 177 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 261 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission Continuously Variable Continuously Variable
Fuel Economy 31 mpg (27 city, 38 hwy) 25 mpg (21 city, 30 hwy)
Also Available 3.5L V6  
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 3 years or 36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 109.3 inches 109.3 inches
Overall Length 191.9 inches 192.8 inches
Width 72.0 inches 73.2 inches
Height 57.8 inches 56.5 inches
Turning Diameter 37.4 feet 38.1 feet
Headroom, Front 40.0 inches 39.4 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.1 inches 36.7 inches
Legroom, Front 45.0  inches 45.0 inches
Legroom, Rear 36.1 inches 34.2 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.4 inches 56.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.4 inches 55.7 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 101.9 cu. ft. 98.6 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.4 cu. ft. 14.3 cu. ft.
New Car Spotlight


Free Dealer Price Quote

Get the best price and be more prepared with your free, no-obligation price quote