Tastefully facelifted with sporty design cues from the expressive Maxima sedan, the 2016 Nissan Altima gets a revised interior with more soft-touch surfaces and premium details, a re-engineered suspension for an improved ride, improved sound insulation, recalibrated steering with more natural feedback and updated infotainment and safety technology such as optional predictive autonomous braking. The Altima keeps its NASA-inspired zero-gravity front seats that fit comfortably to different body types like memory foam. Standard technology includes push-button starting and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. In addition to a thrifty 182-horsepower 4-cylinder that achieves a segment-leading EPA-estimated 39-miles-per-gallon highway, the Altima keeps an optional 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 in the engine lineup, and both are teamed with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The Altima is now upgraded with D-logic, which does a better job of simulating conventional automatic step-shift transmissions.
New for 2016 is an SR model with sport suspension, 18-in alloys, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and other sporty upgrades.
What We Like
Compliant ride quality; comfortable front seats; spacious back seat; V6 refinement and power; 4-cylinder fuel economy
What We Don’t
The 4-cylinder models have low grip with standard tires; no backup camera on base model
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
All Altima models are equipped with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is not available.
The 2016 Altima has two engine choices. Altima 2.5 models are equipped with a 2.5-liter, double-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. Output is 182 horsepower, and it develops 180 lb-ft of torque. It burns regular unleaded gas and has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 27 miles per gallon in the city and a segment-leading 39 mpg on the highway with the standard CVT.
Altima 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL models are powered by a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6, which produces a healthy 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It also runs on regular unleaded and is EPA-rated at 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy with the standard CVT. This version of the CVT has paddle shifters and a manual mode that the driver can use to simulate the ratios of a conventional step-gear transmission for sporty driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Altima is available in 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL trims.
The Altima 2.5 model is equipped with the 180-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, push-button starting, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, air conditioning, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, intermittent wipers, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with remote audio controls, a trip computer, 16-in steel wheels, stability and traction control, anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes and power windows, mirrors and door locks.
The 2.5 S upgrades include a backup camera, 6-speaker audio system, Siri Eyes Free, Nissan Connect with mobile apps, a 5-in color audio display, automatic headlamps and cruise control. A power driver’s seat, 16-in alloy wheels and SiriusXM are options.
A new sporty SR grade adds sport suspension, paddle shifters, 18-in alloys, a rear spoiler, a power driver’s seat with power lumbar, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and, on the 3.5 SR model, the 270-hp V6.
Next up is the 2.5 SV, which comes with standard blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring, a power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar, leather-wrapped steering wheel, USB and iPod connectivity, SiriusXM and Pandora radio, hands-free text-message capability, fog lamps, dual-zone auto air conditioning and a remote engine starter. The 2.5 SV rolls on 17-in alloys and 215/55 tires.
The range-topping SL gains standard leather seats, a power moonroof, a 7-in audio display with navigation, LED tail lamps, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a power front passenger’s seat, a 9-speaker Bose audio system, power-folding heated side mirrors, rear ventilation ducts, a HomeLink garage-door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 235/45 rubber-wrapped 18-in alloy rims. The 3.5 SL version includes the 270-hp V6.
The Altima has been a consistent top seller among the ranks of family midsize sedans, so there should be a good supply of clean, low-mileage examples to choose from.
For a better idea of the 2016 Altima’s price range, check out KBB.com and then search the Autotrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2016 Altima:
The occupant classification system may incorrectly classify the front passenger seat as empty when it is occupied or classify an adult as a child and may fail to deploy the front passenger airbag as intended in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.
An improperly routed rear door latch cable may result in a rear door opening when its window is lowered, increasing the risk of injury to rear passengers when the car is moving.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car for free.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The 2016 Nissan Altima sedan received a NHTSA rating of five stars overall, with a 5-star rating for frontal impacts, a 5-star rating for side impacts and a 4-star rating for rollovers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2015 Altima sedan as an IIHS Top Safety+ Pick. It gave the Altima a Good rating for small- and moderate-overlap impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head-restraint and seat crash performance.
Nissan covered the 2016 Altima with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Nissan certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can’t have more than 80,000 miles on the odometer and must be six years old or younger. Every CPO Altima undergoes a 150-point inspection and receives a Carfax report. The Nissan CPO warranty extends the original powertrain to a 7-year/100,000-mile warranty, and it includes 24-hour roadside assistance. Additional warranty coverage on all major systems is available at extra cost.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Honda Accord — The 2016 Honda Accord continues as a roomy sedan or a stylish coupe, both fun to drive. The 278-hp 3.5-liter V6 adds zippy performance, but the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder’s 185 horsepower provides ample acceleration and is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with the CVT. A manual transmission is also offered. The hybrid version is dropped for 2016.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu — The midsize Malibu sedan is all-new for 2016, with increased rear seat room and updated infotainment and safety content. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on board, as is OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot for cabin occupants. Powertrain offerings include a peppy 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, a thrifty 163-hp 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder with stop-start technology and a hybrid with a 48-mpg city rating.
Nissan in general and the Altima in particular have a reputation for being fun to drive and offering a lot of features for the money. Continuous improvements to the continuously variable automatic transmission and beefed-up soundproofing have eliminated most of the droning engine sounds of previous models. The fuel economy benefits of a CVT are real, plus the ability of the transmission to tailor ratios without delay for changing driving conditions can’t be topped. The 4-cylinder delivers all the power most drivers need, but for a sportier experience, the 3.5-liter V6 delivers Infiniti-like get-up-and-go power. Make sure the Altima you’re looking at has seen obvious care and maintenance and has had any applicable safety recalls performed. Also, look for a Nissan certified pre-owned car if possible.