Product cycles for most vehicles is typically six years with a refresh taking place by the fourth model year. Nissan, in its hot selling Altima midsize sedan, has pushed the refresh forward by one year, a move that may win the brand new customers for the 2016 model year and beyond. Its a bold decision on Nissan’s part, one that could help the Altima surpass the Accord in sales and put the top-selling Toyota Camry within striking distance.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn revealed the refreshed Altima in New York on Sept. 22, just six months removed from revealing the flagship and all-new Maxima sedan at the New York International Auto Show on March 31. Both models share the same platform, but the Maxima targets premium shoppers, while the Altima aims for mainstream shoppers.
The Altima is the best-selling model for Nissan, a midsize sedan that has seen sales rise for five consecutive years, despite its dropping the available coupe body style after 2013. Auto Trends has tested both the SL and SV editions. This writer has also suggested that the Altima may be the best in its class.
The refreshed Nissan Altima doesn’t go on sale until November, but the following are some of its most significant changes:
A New SR Edition
For 2016, the Altima SR is all new, a model that brings an extra measure of sportiness to the product line. The SR is now the seventh Altima model and can be had with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 182 horsepower or the available 3.5-liter V-6 engine making 270 horsepower.
These engines come paired with a continuously variable transmission with manual operation — essentially, it mimics seven gear “steps” when operating in manual mode. Paddle shifters mounted to the steering column make this possible.
The Altima SR comes with front and rear stabilizer bars, revised damping tuning, active understeer control, a black interior with blue-stitched trim, Dunlop tires, 18-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheels, and a rear decklid spoiler. It is one of the best composed front-wheel drive models in this segment.
New Design Language
One look at the 2016 Altima and you’ll see evidence of Nissan’s new and sporty design language everywhere. That look was initially expressed in the 2015 Nissan Murano crossover SUV followed by the 2016 Nissan Maxima sedan.
Dubbed “energetic flow,” the latest Nissan exterior design language is complemented by an interior design language known as “gliding wing.” The revised look means that everything up front is new — the fascia, hood, bumper, fenders, and hood.
To the rear, a sculpted bumper, new trunk lid, and new combination lights are included. The result is a drop in the coefficient of drag by 10 percent to 0.29. That will help the Altima achieve 39 mpg on the highway with the four-cylinder engine.
Inside, the 2016 Altima shares the design language evident in the Murano and Rogue crossovers. It is marked with a C stack with available 5- and 7-inch NissanConnect displays along with Nissan navigation and mobile apps.
The zero gravity seats have been reshaped and new and improved materials for the seats and door inlays are also evident. A new steering wheel and larger cup holders up front are also included, the latter as a direct result of owner input.
2016 Nissan Altima
As the third best selling model in the midsize segment behind the Camry and Accord, the Nissan Altima has certainly earned its place in the market. Now, its poised to continue its ascendancy.
Besides its top competitors, other midsize models to consider include the Ford Fusion, Subaru Legacy, Chrysler 200, Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda 6, and the Volkswagen Passat.
Nissan Altima photos copyright Nissan North America, Inc.