Nissan pulled back the curtain on its updated Altima sedan recently, bringing the marque's midsize offering into step in terms of design with the recently reimagined Murano and Maxima models. The automaker introduced its "energetic flow" design language with the 2015 Murano crossover, extending it later with the 2016 Maxima sedan. The Altima is the latest to receive the treatment, which includes distinctive "V-motion" grille shapes.
From front to rear, the Altima's visual spirit morphs from assertive to conformist. The car's c-pillars are less distinctive than those on the higher-end models. Nissan designers appear to have shied away from the Murano/Maxima look on that part – "floating" c-pillars on those vehicles do their best to mimic the way an ancient Egyptian monarch would have applied ceremonial eye shadow. In its place on the Altima is a less distinct chrome-accented Hoffmeister kink, the sort that is becoming ubiquitous.
The rear fascia is also somewhat commonplace, with sloping tail lamps not unlike those found on some Mercedes-Benz models. On the whole, though, the car's look is clean and attractive, so Nissan can't be faulted for being a little conservative with its best-selling car. And the automaker said that the car's new look improved its drag coefficient, so that ought to be good for fuel economy.
Beneath the new car's skin, Nissan is touting improved technology. Safety features available on certain versions of the 2016 model include a forward collision warning system, a radar-based blind spot warning system, an autonomous emergency braking system, adaptive cruise control and a rear blind spot warning system. Autonomous braking systems, in particular, have been shown to improve vehicle safety. Ten automakers pledged this month to make it a standard safety feature in the coming years, although Nissan did not opt to join them at this time.
The new Altima's standard safety features include front airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as side impact and side curtain airbags for all passengers.
Nissan said it had included Murano/Maxima design language on the Altima's interior center stack as well, creating what it called a "gliding wing" look. Base models feature a 5-inch color display screen, with 7-inch screens for the higher end of the Altima's seven trim levels. All models will have the Siri voice command function installed. Hands-free text messaging is optional.
EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2016 Altima, which is available with the same 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 engines as last year, are not yet available. Nissan says the 2.5 model will benefit from a 1-mile per gallon increase on its highway rating. EPA rates last year's 4-cylinder Altima at 27 mpg city, 38 highway, 31 combined – the 2015 V6 option is 22 city, 32 highway, 26 combined.
At the unveiling event in New York City this week, Nissan said that the 2016 Altima would be available at dealerships later this year. Pricing has not yet been announced.