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2016 Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima


The Nissan Altima is a mid-size car for the masses, competing with top dogs like the Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu. After taking a year off, the Nissan Maxima is back, with an all new attitude and design. While the Maxima is technically a mid-size car, it can feel more like a full-size sedan. The Maxima targets the luxury buyer, while the Altima stays true to its family-sedan roots. So which Nissan car will fit you best? Today, Carsforsale.com is comparing price, specs, performance, design, safety, features, and fuel economy of the 2016 Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima.

Nissan Altima (base)

Engine: 2.5L 4-cylinder

Horsepower: 182

Fuel Economy:  27 City / 39 Hwy

MSRP: From $22,500

2016 Nissan Altima Review


The 2016 Nissan Altima has been refreshed, and now offers more elegant, luxurious styling than before. This car looks more like its Infiniti cousins, and that’s a good thing. New exterior features include a sharp fascia, new taillights, new headlamps, new trunk lid, and more. The 2016 Altima is still recognizable, but the design shift from soft cues to sharp cues is noticeably different.

2016 Nissan Altima SR

Inside this year’s Altima, Nissan offers a straight-forward, symmetrical layout. The Altima does a great job of suppressing road noise, especially at this price point. Interior trim is on par in terms of quality you would expect from a 2016 mid-size car.

2016 Nissan Altima

Space is great for 4 adults, but taller adults may not have enough head room in the rear. The seats themselves are very comfortable. Trunk space is good for the class, and 60/40 rear folding seats add additional storage space.


The 2016 Nissan Altima now has a slightly larger base engine. The base 2.5L 4-cylinder engine produces 182 hp, and is a good option for the typical driver. A 3.5L V6 is available for those wanting more power. This engine produces 270 hp, and is significantly faster and smoother than the 4-cylinder engine. All engines automatically come with a CVT.

Fuel economy has improved in the 2016 Altima. The base engine achieves 39 mpg highway and 27 mpg city. The more powerful V6 achieves 32 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city.


The Altima earned a Top Safety Pick + from the IIHS. While the 2016 version hasn’t been tested by the NHTSA yet, we expect it to receive 5 stars like it did in 2015. Available safety features include auto-dimming rearview mirror, lane-departure warnings, blind spot warnings, forward collision warning, automatic forward collision braking, backup camera, and more.


Every Altima comes with Bluetooth, text-to-voice, CD player, aux jack, 5-inch color display screen, and audio streaming. Available features include backup camera, dual-zone auto climate control, keyless ignition, Bose audio, heated seats and steering wheel, rear AC vents, navigation, and more.

2016 Nissan Altima

Nissan Maxima (base)

Engine: 3.5L V6

Horsepower: 300

Fuel Economy:  22 City / 30 Hwy

MSRP: $32,510

2016 Nissan Maxima Review


After taking the year off, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is back and better than ever. The new design is very reminiscent of the Nissan Murano, with angular and complex sculpting. The front grille is trapezoidal, with a strong chrome smile wrapped around the Nissan logo. The roofline of the Maxima now slopes gently into the trunk, almost taking on the look of a hatchback. It’s a bold design that stands out in the crowd.

2016 Nissan Maxima

The 2016 Nissan Maxima’s interior is no exception, with an asymmetrical, driver-focused layout. Interior design cues fall somewhere between sport sedan and luxury sedan. Fit and finish are top-notch. It’s clear Nissan payed great attention to interior detail.

2016 Nissan Maxima

Seating in the Maxima is plenty for 4 adults. The seats themselves are comfortable, firm, and sporty. Trunk space is good, and small storage areas are abundant.


Every Maxima comes with a 3.5L V6 engine that produces 300 hp and around 260 lb ft of torque. This engine will please nearly all drivers with its level of power and sporty handling. This engine achieves 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

2016 Nissan maxima engine


The NHTSA gives the 2016 Nissan Maxima a 5 star crash test rating, and the IIHS calls the Maxima a Top Safety Pick +. Optional safety features include automatic braking, forward collision alerts, blind spot monitors, driver attention alert, rearview camera, parking sensors and more.


Every Maxima comes with power accessories, remote start, satellite radio, navigation, two USB ports, Bluetooth, 8-way power driver seats, rearview camera, NissanConnect and more. Optional features include surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof, Bose audio, customizable alerts, and more.

2016 Nissan Maxima Technology

Pros and Cons:

2016 Nissan Altima

    • Budget pricing
    • Great fuel economy
    • Agile handling
    • Unexciting base engine
    • Rear headroom not for tall adults

2016 Nissan Maxima

    • Sporty handling and power
    • Stunning, unique good looks
    • Luxurious interior design
    • Significant price increase
    • Less spacious than full-size alternatives

2016 Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima Conclusion

When comparing the 2016 Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima, you’re comparing two quality vehicles with slightly different approaches. If you require sporty driving character, luxurious looks, and top-notch tech, choose the Maxima. Looking to save a buck? The Altima still offers a very competitive overall driving experience for the price.

Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes

A fan of nice round numbers and working on tiny European cars, Dusty is the proud owner of a '58 Lloyd 600, a '50 FIAT 500, and is currently on the hunt for a Vespa 400. And, despite all that repair work, he still finds time to write about cars. 

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