Review: 2016 Nissan Altima

– Cleveland, Ohio

It’s so difficult to find the right midsize sedan. I should know – at my last job, I produced this impractically long buying guide on midsize sedans. The problem is that automakers compete so fiercely for your midsize sedan dollar that none of them make a truly bad product, Nissan included. Being good, though, just isn’t enough in today’s field of 11 worthy four-doors. The Nissan Altima is a good car, but its refreshening for 2016 doesn’t go far enough to make it as great as competitors like the Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord, and Mazda6. Here’s why.

Pros

  • The Altima is truly exceptional at one thing: fuel economy. With EPA ratings of 27 miles per gallon in the city, 39 on the highway, and 31 combined, it’s nearly the most fuel-efficient gas-powered midsize sedan you can buy (ones that offer special engines like the Hyundai Sonata Eco just eek it out). Its particularly good highway fuel economy is 1 and 2 mpg better than the Mazda6 and Honda Accord, respectively, though all three post combined ratings of 31 mpg. Credit the aerodynamic work Nissan did on the Altima’s front end and underbody for the extra mpg it earns now compared to last year’s version.
  • Speaking of highway cruising, it’s where the Altima feels most at home. Not only are you sipping fuel, the continuously variable transmission has the Altima’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine operating at whisper volume, turning over just 1,500 rpm at 60 miles per hour and 1,750 rpm at 70 mph. The cabin is quiet, t...