Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Welcome to Michigan in the fall where the beauty and nature of rural lands outside of Detroit are pure and bliss. Touring the scenic roads in the enhanced 2016 Nissan Altima felt more like I was in Costa Rica than Plymouth. Marginally refreshed to amend its attraction and align with the company’s “Energetic Flow” theme, Nissan also focused on connected technologies and improved safety prevention innovations for their bread and butter model.
Ranked third with a 13% market share in the lower mid-size sedan segment behind Ford and Toyota, Altima battles with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, and Hyundai Sonata to name a few. A huge amount of business — 2.13-million annual sales — comes from this group, which creates opportunity for a model that has witnessed five straight years of sales increase. Of course the Japanese nameplate is not a vehicle that will “wow” you, but it does many things right and offers owners a complete package consisting of style, efficiency and driver conveniences. For example, the new Altima achieves 39-highway mpg which represents a steady increase of 44% since the introduction of the 2002 model.
Safety seems to get the back door as it relates to consumer awareness when evaluating the enhancements on all-new or updated models. Yet, Volvo is not the only manufacturer that is progressive with keeping their passengers safe. The most pivotal safety installment for the Altima may be Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), which uses radar to monitor two vehicles ahead of you. It then provides a warning when that vehicle begins to slow down. This goes hand-in-hand with Forward Emergency Braking which will self-brake if need be. PFCW is exclusive technology in the segment. Blind Spot Warning is a big request from sector owners and Nissan ascertained the Altima met their expectations. And we can’t forget about airbag basics. Nissan’s Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) reacts in dual stages in accordance with the seat belt sensors. Thankfully, I didn’t have to use any of these technologies during my countryside drive around Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center behind the wheel of a Brilliant Silver Altima SV.
Stylistically, the design of the Altima is altered from the A-pillar forward with a more robust and multi-fascinated front fascia, new bumpers, hood and rims, a V-Motion grille and lights including 4-piece rear lights. Consequently this has led to an improved coefficient of drag from 0.29 to 0.26 for optimization of fuel and slightly better performance. Additionally, an underbody aero cover and Active Grille Shutters play significant roles in this department since they control how air flows around the vehicle.
“The enhancements were made with input from our customers – a quieter ride, so we added extensive noise isolation features such as an acoustic-glass windshield,” said Pierre Loing, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc.. “They wanted more standard features, a more responsive driving feel and more personal style – check, check and check. This new Altima is the most dynamic, comfortable and best-equipped mid-size sedan we’ve ever built.”
I’m all about gadgetry and Nissan provides that with aplomb, especially if you opt for the $580 NissanConnect bundle with the 7” color touchscreen, mobile apps and advanced telematics. My ride included this plus the $1,350 Convenience Package inclusive of a sunroof. Powered by SiriusXM, owners must enroll to begin using NissanConnect Services. Highlights include emergency assistance during airbag deployment, stolen vehicle location, vehicle health report, remote engine start to warm or cool your Altima and boundary, valet or curfew alert using geofencing. The Altima also borrowed the acoustic (laminated glass) windshield from the Maxima and Murano for better noise insulation.
Two engine choices are available to go along with upgraded steering, tighter suspension, tires with stiffer sidewalls (16,” 17” and 18”) and better tread and 10% shorter stopping distances. First is the 2.5-liter, inline 4-cylinder with 182-horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque and next is the beefier 3.5-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 lb.-ft. of torque. Nissan’s V6 engine feels more like an efficient-breathing V8, especially in the Maxima. My ride came equipped with the 4-cylinder and Xtronic CVT pairing which is more of an efficient marriage devoid of any extraordinary or exciting driving parameters.
The Altima is offered in seven models including the $22,500 Altima 2.5 entry, $22,900 Altima 2.5 S, $24,470 Altima 2.5 SR, $25,460 Altima 2.5 SV, $28,570 Altima 2.5 SL, 27,390 Altima 3.5 SR and the $32,090 Altima 3.5 SL. The SR model is a fresh addition to the lineup that represents against competitor’s sport variants which can account for 40% of the sales mix depending on the brand. It’s elevated with a performance tuned suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, 18” aluminum alloy rims tucked in Dunlop SP sport 7000 A/S tires, paddle shifters, dark chrome headlamps, rear lip spoiler, exclusive interior trim, fog lights and a 10-way power seat.
The new Altima is comfortable, advanced and dependable. It looks good and goes toe-to-toe against the best of them. Its interior cabin is clean and sharp and bells and whistles are offered in various upgrade packages. Simply put, the 2016 Nissan Altima is smart.