2016 Nissan Altima First Look: Redesigned And Refreshed

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2016 Nissan Altima First Look

2016 Nissan Altima First Look

Nissan has rejuvenated its popular Altima midsize sedan for the 2016 model year with a more contemporary exterior look; a refreshed interior styled with premium soft-touch materials, enhanced connectivity, and additional safety and technology features; as well as expanded the model lineup with a sporty new SR trim level.

Although the Altima was totally redesigned just three years ago, Nissan has since developed a modernistic “Energetic Flow” exterior styling theme. Nissan says  the 2016 Nissan Altima new outside looks better reflect its latest design language, bringing it closer in its appearance and feel to the 2015 Nissan Murano and 2016 Nissan Maxima.

The latest expressions include a new hood and fenders, as well as new tailored character lines. The muscular front fascia boasts a distinctive “V-motion” grille and bumper with redesigned headlights and available signature LED boomerang headlights, fog lights, and daytime running lights. In the rear, the fascia and bumper feature lower and wider four-piece boomerang taillights, and an updated trunk lid.

Two engines carry over: a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter DOHC V-6. Fuel economy for the 2.5-liter models is rated at 27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined (26 city/37 highway/30 combined for the 2.5 SR). Fuel economy for the 3.5-liter V-6 is rated at 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. Both engines are mated to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission that features Nissan’s third-generation D-step Shift logic. Because of the way CVT transmissions work to keep the engine in the rpm range for fuel efficiency and torque, some owners can mistakenly believe their transmissions are malfunctioning because they don’t recognize a discernible change in gears; the D-step Shift Logic creates artificial “shift points” to give drivers the feeling that their vehicle is shifting gears like a regular automatic transmission.

The 2016 Nissan Altima is available in seven trim levels, starting with the 2.5-liter-powered base model ($22,500), S ($22,900), SR ($24,470), SV ($25,460), and SL ($28,570), or the 3.5-liter-powered SR ($27,390) and SL, which retails for $32,090 (plus $835 destination and handling). The new performance-focused SR grade offers enhanced handling and unique exterior and interior accents; it builds off the entry-level S trim (instead of the more expensive SV or SL trims), to keep the new Altima SR affordable for younger buyers who might be moving into the mid-sized sedan segment for the first time.

Inside, the new Altima shares the “gliding wing” design language established with the new Murano and Maxima and features a new Advanced Drive-Assist display located in the instrument panel between the tachometer and speedometer; this customizable 4-inch color display integrates key information for the driver.

A new center stack features a standard 5-inch color audio display on Altima 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, and 3.5 SR trims, shows images from the RearView Monitor and allows access to the standard NissanConnect with Mobile Apps system (except on base models). The system includes a USB port with iPod connectivity and Siri Eyes Free voice recognition, plus has a hands-free text messaging assistant that allows drivers to listen and respond to text messages by voice control, without taking their hands from the wheel or eyes off the road. Premium, soft-touch materials are used throughout (with leather-appointed seats depending on model), and Zero Gravity front seats are standard on all trim levels.

NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps is standard on 3.5 SL and optional on 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, and offers a 7.0-inch touchscreen with 3D-effect map views, as well as voice recognition and turn-by-turn navigation. NissanConnect Mobile Apps include Online Search powered by Google (on navigation-equipped vehicles), Facebook and others, along with the ability to add new apps throughout ownership of the vehicle.

Available “Safety Shield Technologies” include blind-spot warning system with rear cross traffic alert, intelligent cruise control, and Nissan’s predictive forward collision warning with forward emergency braking, which can sense the relative velocity and distance of not just the vehicle directly ahead, but also of the vehicle traveling in front of the preceding one, to alert the driver to a potential forward collision, and even brake if necessary.

Altima has posted five consecutive years of increased sales, and Nissan predicts the updated model will continue that trend.

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Sue Mead
Sue Mead’s automotive career began as a freelance evaluator for Four Wheeler Magazine in 1988, on the first team that included women as testers. Today, she travels the globe test-driving cars and trucks, and working as a photojournalist/feature writer for dozens of publications, specializing in 4WD and adventure. Mead has been an auto editor and 4WD editor for CNN/fn. Her books include Monster Trucks and Tractors; Off Road Racing, Legends and Adventures; and Rock Crawling. She has been to 70 countries; driven enough off-road and 4WD race miles to have circumnavigated the globe twice! Mead won the Open Production class at the 2011 Dakar; and is an inductee into the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.