In one of the most extensive mid-cycle makeovers in Nissan history, the 2016 Nissan Altima stands ready to build on its segment-leading growth over the past five years with a new design, new driving feel, improved fuel economy, a new sport Altima SR grade and a wide array of enhanced technology, connectivity and safety features.
"Despite the remarkable success of the current model Altima in the marketplace, which has seen a more than 60 percent increase in sales since 2009, no area was left untouched in redesigning our cornerstone Altima sedan for the 2016 model year," said Pierre Loing, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "While so much attention in the marketplace currently is focused on compact SUVs like our redesigned Nissan Rogue, the mid-size sedan segment remains strong and has become extremely competitive. We're determined to keep our sales growth alive with this vibrant new Altima for 2016."
The Altima transformation for the new model year includes a new look for the exterior, a refined personal space interior, enhanced connectivity, more available safety and security features and an expanded model lineup – all designed to make Altima a better value and better choice for mid-size sedan buyers than ever before.
"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," added Loing. "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."
A New Altima, a New Look
Though totally redesigned just three years ago, Nissan has since developed a bold new design language. Known by designers as "energetic flow," the new look was introduced on the 2015 Murano and 2016 Maxima.
In order to bring the new Altima into the new look, the front and rear sections feature totally new designs and sheet metal. In front, that means adding a new lowered muscular front fascia with distinctive "V-motion" grille and new bumper. Also new are the Altima hood and fenders, with new tailored character lines. The headlights are also redesigned – with available signature LED boomerang headlights, fog lights and Daytime Running Lights creating a more contemporary "face."
The major design changes continue in the rear, where a new fascia and bumper add a more dramatic character. The new look is highlighted by the lower and wider four-piece taillights featuring a boomerang shape. The trunk lid is also new, with an integrated spoiler added for the Altima SR grade.
Along with the revised appearance, the new Altima also offers a 10 percent improvement in coefficient of drag – to 0.26 Cd from the previous 0.29 Cd.** The changes come from the addition of an active grille shutter (three percent gain), underfloor aero cover additions (three percent) and the new front and rear fascia and windshield designs (four percent).
Along with the new body panels, the structure underneath was enhanced, reducing weight and adding additional areas of high-strength steel, including the A- and B-pillars. Special efforts were also made to enhance DQR (Durability, Quality and Reliability) and NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness).
For example, adoption of an acoustic (laminated glass) windshield helps create a quieter cabin, aiding use of the Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone and Voice Recognition systems.
Efforts were also made to isolate noise created by hard acceleration, utilizing additional insulation and sound barriers, especially in the firewall area. In addition, new engine mounts have been adopted and the center muffler has been increased in size to further reduce sound transmission into the Altima interior.
"Along with the desire for a more distinctive look to the exterior, Altima customers asked us for a more premium feel in everyday driving," said Loing. "You feel the new level of quietness and tightness the moment you drive the new vehicle, no matter which grade level. Simply put, this is the quietest Altima ever."
Quality assurance measures included use of 95 prototype test vehicles, the equivalent of 4,500 test days (more than 12 years) and 350,000 real and simulated miles and the equivalent of 15 years of service for doors, hood and trunk use – such as 200,000 open/close cycles for the new tighter sealing door structures.
The 2016 Altima is available in nine colors: a new Deep Blue Pearl, along with Java Metallic, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Cayenne Red, Pearl White, Glacier White and Storm Blue.
A New, Information-Centric Interior
Inside the new 2016 Altima's refined, personal space interior, the most noticeable change is in the center of the vehicle, where a new C-stack and center console offer easier use. The new interior appearance shares the "gliding wing" design language established with the new Murano and Maxima.
Altima 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL and 3.5 SR grades feature a standard 5.0-inch color audio display, which is used for a number of tasks including viewing images from the RearView Monitor and accessing the standard NissanConnect with Mobile Apps system (except Altima 2.5 base).
The NissanConnect with Mobile Apps system allows Altima owners to stay connected to their digital lives, even when in the vehicle. Apps include Online Search powered by Google™ (navigation equipped vehicles only), Facebook and others, along with the flexibility to introduce new apps throughout the ownership experience.
The NissanConnect Mobile Apps experience isn't limited to a single individual within the vehicle. Other drivers and passengers can set up their own app suite to tailor their experience when they are in the vehicle. All app profiles and settings are personalized and unique to each user's phone.
Along with the 5.0-inch color audio display, the system includes a USB port with iPod® connectivity. Also standard on all models (except 2.5) is Siri™ Eyes Free, which allows a hands-free voice connection to Siri™ commands.
Standard on Altima 3.5 SL and optional on 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL is NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps. The system is packed with a rich range of features and is easy to use with its 7.0-inch touch-screen, 3D-effect map views, Nissan Voice Recognition, and turn-by-turn navigation. Other navigation features include speed limit display, eco driving maps, curve warning and split-screen display. It also includes SiriusXM® Traffic and SiriusXM® Travel Link™ (fuel prices, movie times, stock updates, weather) (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately).
Optionally available on Altima 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL is the new NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM®, with automatic collision notification, remote start via smartphone, emergency call, stolen vehicle locator and dealer service scheduling and maintenance alerts (subscription required, sold separately).
Every 2016 Altima also offers an Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display. Located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, it features a 4.0-inch color display and is customizable, easy-to-use and integrates key information right in front of the driver.
Of course, there is much more to the 2016 Altima interior than just advanced connectivity. The interior defies mid-size sedan convention, rivaling upscale luxury sedans in ambience and sophistication. Like the exterior, there is a premium look and feel – from the driver's side cockpit to the front passenger and rear seating areas – with extensive use of revised soft touch materials and craftsman-like attention to detail. The new center console includes full-size cupholders and new trim finishers.
The advanced Zero Gravity front seats, which are standard on all trim levels, utilize an articulated seat shape with continuous support from the pelvis to the chest and distribution of localized deformation characteristics.
Altima offers standard woven fabric seating with a 6-way adjustable driver's seat and a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear bench seat with armrest, and black interior trim with chrome finish accents.
Also available, depending on model, are leather-appointed seats and trim, 6-way or 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support and a 4-way power front passenger seat. Heated front seats are also available, along with Carbon Wave tone (Charcoal interior) or Brushed Silver Wave tone (Beige interior) interior trim finishers.
The new Altima SR grade includes sport interior accents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters and leather-wrapped gear shifter.
Available audio systems include an AM/FM/CD design with RDS, MP3, aux-in and six speakers, along with an available Bose® Premium Audio System with nine speakers (including woofers), designed in conjunction with Bose® engineers during vehicle development to deliver rich sound and acoustics.
With the available Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant (part of NissanConnect with Mobile Apps), drivers can manage incoming text messages via voice control without taking their hands from the wheel or eyes off the road. Drivers are alerted to an incoming text and, after initiating the system, can hear the text read out loud and respond via voice recognition, or via the steering wheel switches using pre-set answers such as "driving, can't text," "on my way," "running late," "okay" or a custom message.
Standard on SV and SL grades is a factory-installed Remote Engine Start System that allows the owner to heat or cool the vehicle from the comfort of the home***. The Altima must be locked for the remote start to operate (up to 10 minutes). The Remote Engine Start System includes Intelligent Climate Control, which automatically sets HVAC temperatures to ideal heating/defrost or cooling settings (depending on ambient temperatures). When the driver enters the vehicle, the HVAC reverts to the previous customer settings. In addition, remote start access via smartphone is available as part of the 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL Tech Packages' NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM.
Best-in-Class*** Standard Highway Fuel Economy
Once again in 2016, Altima is offered with a choice of two refined powerplants – a 2.5-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder and a 3.5-liter DOHC V6.
The 2.5-liter engine features an expected 1-mpg increase for highway fuel economy rating, bringing it to 39 mpg and giving Altima the best-in-class*** standard highway fuel economy of any vehicle in the mid-size segment (not including optional engine packages). The increase is due to a combination of a 10 percent improvement in vehicles aerodynamics – such as the addition of an active grille shutter, a revised engine compression ratio (10.3:1 from 10.0:1), reduced internal engine friction and an optimized oil pump.
Matched with the standard, smooth and efficient Xtronic transmission, estimated fuel economy for 2.5-liter models is rated at 27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway (37 mpg 2.5 SR) and 31 mpg combined.
The Xtronic transmission adds third-generation D-step Shift logic, which is shared with the Nissan Murano and Maxima – creating a more responsive acceleration feel both from a standing start and during reacceleration in situations such as passing slower vehicles.
The 2.5-liter QR25 engine includes variable valve timing on both exhaust and intake camshafts, helping keep the torque curve flat. Featuring cutting-edge technology such as a thermoplastic resin intake manifold, the engine produces 182 horsepower (179 CAL*****), with torque rated at 180 lb-ft (177 CAL*****).
"The Nissan Altima has experienced a remarkable 35 percent increase in combined fuel economy since the 2002 model year. Today's city mpg is the same as highway mpg was in 2002, while driving enjoyment has also increased exponentially," said Loing. "Altima is also the mid-size sedan with the greatest improvement in fuel economy over the last decade, going from 29 mpg highway to 39 mpg."
Altima 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL models are powered by an advanced, award-winning VQ35DE 3.5-liter V6 rated at 270 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque. The V6 features low internal friction (including DLC piston rings and sodium-filled valves), optimized air intake resistance and exhaust variable camshaft timing (VTC). Fuel economy for the 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.
For 2016, the 4-wheel independent Altima suspension has been redesigned to deliver more dynamic handling, with new shock absorbers, rear springs and bushings – along with new tire designs across all models. Overall braking and steering feel have also been enhanced.
The Altima front suspension uses an independent front strut design, while the multi-link rear suspension has been benchmarked to leading European sports sedans. The design features high lateral suspension stiffness, ZF SACHS shock absorbers to deliver stellar body control and response while simultaneously delivering a plush, comfortable ride, and large stabilizer bars front and rear. Altima SR models feature unique suspension tuning, including greatly increased stabilizer bar diameters – 24.2 mm versus 22.2 mm front and 26.5 mm versus 20.0 mm rear. Front and rear damping force has also been changed for SR compared to non-SR models. Body roll has also been reduced by more than 20 percent on SR (versus non-SR).
Altima also features an Active Understeer Control system, which utilizes intelligent control logic and high-response brake actuators to lightly brake the inside front wheels during cornering (as required) to increase yaw-moment. Using the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)/Traction Control System (TCS) as its base, Active Understeer Control is almost undetectable when it operates.
Responsive steering is provided by an Electronic Hydraulic Power-Assisted Steering (EHPS) system that preserves the feel of hydraulic steering rack while offering the efficiencies of an electric power steering set-up. The hydraulic power steering valve has been re-mapped for 2016, providing enhanced steering feedback and feel.
"Steering feel is a big part of the driving experience and the re-engineering Altima steering system provides a more precise, on-center feel and quicker response than the previous tuning," said Loing.
The 4-wheel power-assisted disc brake system provides a premium blend of immediate response and confident braking. The system has been recalibrated for 2016 to help provide enhanced performance, especially in wet stopping conditions. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) are standard.
A selection of new wheels and tires are offered on the 2016 Altima, including new machine-finished 17-inch and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs. Altima 2.5-liter models offer 16-inch steel wheels with full covers and 215/60R16 all-season tires, while 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/55R17 V-rated all-season tires are standard on SV and SL grades. Standard on the 2.5 SR and 3.5-liter V6-equipped models are 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/45R18 V-rated all-season tires.
The 2016 Altima again features Nissan's Easy Fill Tire Alert function for the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which is standard on all grades. When filling the tires wit
h air, the hazard lamps flash to let the operator know the system is working. When the correct pressure is reached, a beep of the horn provides notification. Unlike many competitive vehicles, Altima includes an individual tire pressure monitoring and readout system (except 2.5) that provides the tire pressure at each individual location and automatically adjusts positions when the tires are rotated during service. The information is integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display.
The New Altima SR
In another example of responding to input from the legions of current Altima owners, a new Altima SR grade has been added for 2016. It is available with both 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter engine-equipped models.
"The idea with the new Altima SR is to offer a sporty, yet affordable, mid-size sedan for buyers looking for a little more performance and personal style," said Loing. "The Altima SR slots just above the Altima S grade, rather than being an over-the-top equipment package. We've given it plenty of punch, but with a careful consideration to making it accessible to a wide range of buyers, especially younger buyers just moving into the mid-size sedan segment."
While affordable, the Altima SR is a true performance package with unique suspension components and wheels and tires. This is the first time that 18-inch wheels and tires are offered on a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Altima. The suspension includes revised damper tuning and an increase in front and rear stabilizer bar stiffness (up to 258 percent in the rear bar), providing good neutral handling and enhanced cornering feel through greater body motion control. Also included, as part of the sports performance, is a "manumatic" mode for the Xtronic transmission and standard paddle shifters.
Altima SR is visually differentiated from other Altima models through the use of smoked headlight housings, Daytime Running Lights, fog lights, a rear decklid spoiler and the aggressive machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels. The 3.5 SR model also includes LED headlights (late availability).
The SR interior features black 8-way power driver's seat with 2-way power lumbar support and contrasting blue stitching on the seats, steering wheel and shift knob.
Class-Exclusive Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW)
The 2016 Altima also offers an expanded suite of available safety and security features, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
The available class-exclusive* Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) system can warn the driver of risks that lie beyond the driver's forward field of view. It not only can sense the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle directly ahead, but also of a vehicle traveling in front of the preceding one and can help alert the driver to a potential forward collision. Although that vehicle may be obscured from view, PFCW's sensors can detect if it suddenly and unexpectedly slows, giving the driver additional time to react.
For 2016, radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW) is standard on SV and SL grades. In addition, the SV and SL grades add Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which helps warn of approaching vehicles from either the right or left side of the rear of the Altima when it is in reverse.
Also available as part of the optional SL Tech Package is Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB). ICC uses radar to maintain a set distance between the Altima and the vehicle ahead, even braking to maintain that distance. FEB provides audio and visual display warnings to help alert the driver of a potential collision and help reduce speed if necessary. If a collision is unavoidable, the feature will engage the brakes to help reduce both the speed of the impact and the severity of the collision.
"The new Altima brings a number of safety and security features that are usually reserved for more expensive luxury segment vehicles," said Loing. "It's one more area where Altima adds value to owners' everyday driving experience."
The new Altima also offers a long list of standard safety features, including Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain supplemental side-impact air bags for front-and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection.
Seven Well-Equipped Models
The 2016 Nissan Altima is offered in five 2.5-liter engine equipped models, 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, along with two 3.5-liter V6 equipped models – 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL.
The Altima 2.5 S model includes NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, 5.0-inch audio display, RearView Monitor, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control, Nissan Intelligent Key®, auto on/off headlights, in-cabin microfilter, Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure readouts, and much more.
Altima 2.5 SR, mentioned above, includes the sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and sport exterior and interior features.
Altima 2.5 SV models include standard Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control, Remote Engine Start System**** with Intelligent Climate Control, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately).
Altima 2.5 SL models include leather-appointed seating, Bose® Premium Audio System with nine speakers (including woofers), heated front seats and steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, LED outside mirror turn signals, auto dimming rearview mirror, trunk cargo net and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver.
Along with the equipment offered on the Altima 2.5 SR, the 3.5 SR adds LED headlights (late availability) with signature Daytime Running Lights.
Altima 3.5 SL features 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 18-inch tires, NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps, 7.0-inch color audio display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, SiriusXM® Traffic, SiriusXM® Travel LinkTM (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), one-shot destination entry with Voice Recognition, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), leather-appointed seats, 8-way power driver's seat with 2-way lumbar support, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors with integrated outside turn signals, power sliding moonroof with tilt, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, rear air conditioning vents, premium interior trim, remote engine start, front and rear sonar sensors and trunk cargo net.
Nine options packages are available: Power Driver's Seat Package (2.5 S), LED Appearance Package (2.5 SR), Convenience Package (2.5 SV), Navigation Package (2.5 SV), Cold Weather Package (2.5 SV), Moonroof Package (2.5 SL), Tech Package (2.5 SL), Tech with LED (2.5 SL) and Tech Package (3.5 SL).
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