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2019 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima: What’s the Difference?

  • For 2019, the Nissan Altima is all-new and the Nissan Maxima gets a face-lift.

  • The Altima is the only Nissan sedan in the U.S. that’s available with all-wheel drive.

  • The Nissan Maxima is a bigger, more luxurious and more expensive sedan than the Altima.

2019 is a big year for Nissan sedans. The midsize Altima is all-new for 2019 and the full-size Maxima got a face-lift with a slightly new look and some new available tech. Let’s take a look at what’s different and what’s similar between the 2019 Nissan Altima and 2019 Nissan Maxima.

2019 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima exterior


The Altima entered an all-new generation for 2019 while the Maxima gets a slight refresh. The Altima has a very handsome new look giving it a more premium aesthetic than its predecessor. The Maxima continues in its eighth generation with a slight face-lift for 2019 with revised front and rear fascias.

The Altima got a little bigger in every dimension with the new generation. The Maxima has traditionally always been bigger than the Altima, but for the 2019 model year, the two cars are the same size. Technically the Maxima is a full-size sedan and the Altima is a mid-size, but the Altima is on the big side of the midsize segment and the Maxima is one of the smaller full-size sedans on the market.

2019 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima interior


The new interior of the 2019 Altima is very nice and might make you feel like you’re in a more expensive car. This interior has a smart design and adopts the growing trend of an infotainment system mounted to the dash like a tablet. The execution is tasteful and has a premium look like the exterior. Interior space is par for the course for this segment.

The inside of the Maxima is very nice as well, looking and feeling like a luxury sedan in the upper trims. It’s available with luxuries like quilted leather seats and wood-tone interior trim. Compared to other full-size sedans in this class, its back seat legroom is a little lacking. It can comfortably carry two adults in the back and it has more interior room than the Altima, but it’s not quite as roomy as some of its competitors.

2019 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima mechanicals


The Nissan Altima has two engines available and the 2019 Nissan Maxima has one. Both come standard with front-wheel drive and the new Altima is available with all-wheel drive.

2019 Nissan Altima Engines

  • 2.5-liter inline four; 188 horsepower, 180 lb-ft of torque; 28 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway

  • 2.0-liter VC-Turbo inline four; 236 hp, 267 lb-ft of torque; 25 mpg city/34 mpg hwy

2019 Nissan Maxima Engine

  • 3.5-liter V6; 300 hp, 261 lb-ft of torque; 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy

The Altima has a very interesting new engine available under the hood. The VC-Turbo engine is a variable compression engine that previously was only available in the Infiniti QX50. It can change its compression ratio depending on the demands of the driver. The variances in compression provide better fuel economy under light loads and better performance when the driver asks for it. The idea is to have the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder with V6 like performance.

The sole engine in the Maxima is Nissan’s tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6, which is famous for its satisfying blend of performance and fuel economy. Now that you can no longer get a V6 under the hood of the Altima, this is another big difference between the two Nissan sedans.

Another big difference is the new availability of AWD in the Altima, which can’t be had in the Maxima. However, AWD is only available with the base engine and you can’t get an Altima with both the VC-Turbo engine and AWD.

2019 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima technology


One of the biggest changes for the refreshed 2019 Nissan Maxima is adding the availability of the Nissan Safety Shield 360 safety tech suite, which includes lane-departure warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and high-beam assist. Adaptive cruise control isn’t part of Safety Shield 360, but it is available as a separate option on the Maxima.

The Altima is also available with Safety Shield 360, and it’s also available with ProPILOT assist technology. ProPILOT is adaptive cruise control and lane centering technology working together to help make your drive a little more relaxed. It’s not autonomous driving, but it makes it easier to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you and easier to stay in your lane. It can even come to a complete stop and continue moving when traffic starts up again.

Both Nissan sedans have good, user-friendly infotainment systems and both come standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The Maxima has the distinction of standard navigation on every trim.

2019 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima pricing


Since the Maxima is closer to luxury car territory than the Altima, it’s the more expensive option of the two. The Maxima has a starting MSRP of $33,420 and the 2019 Altima starts at $23,750.

One nice thing about the Altima is that AWD is available on every trim which means the most affordable AWD Altima starts at just $25,100. That’s a pretty reasonable price for an AWD midsize sedan. If you want to upgrade to the VC-Turbo engine you’re paying at least $29,150 and it can easily get into the mid $30k range.

As for the Maxima, its extra standard equipment is what justifies its price increase over the Altima, like its standard V6, remote start system and navigation. The range-topping Platinum trim enters the low $40k range, which is still a pretty good deal considering its luxurious interior and modern technology.

2019 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima conclusion 


The new Nissan Altima has a lot to offer for shoppers in the market for a midsize sedan. Its available VC-Turbo engine isn’t quite like anything else on the market and the availability of AWD is a big selling point for a lot of drivers.

The Altima is arguably a better value than the Maxima, but the Nissan Maxima still has a lot to offer for drivers who want equal parts sport sedan and luxury sedan without paying for a luxury brand.

Find a Nissan Altima for sale

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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