2016 Nissan Altima borrows Maxima style, adds SR sport trim

Nissan has outed the 2016 Altima, its refreshed midsize sedan, borrowing styling from the larger Maxima while adding a new, sportier version. Now more aggressive externally, and promising more intuitive, user-friendly controls internally, the revamped Altima also claims a slight improvement in economy while safety tech has also been upgraded.

Under the hood there's a choice of two engines. Nissan expects a 1mpg bump from the 2.5-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder, bringing it to 39mpg, and a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 good for 26 mpg. Both use the Xtronic transmission with virtual stepped gearing we already tested on the 2016 Maxima.

Steering feel has been tweaked and the suspension – independent front strut and multi-link rear – revamped with new shock absorbers, rear springs, and bushings. Active Understeer Control lightly taps the front brakes to improve cornering stability, though Nissan says it's such a light touch you probably won't notice it happening.

Then there's the Altima SR. That's Nissan's new sporting version, with a body kit on the outside – a rear spoiler, smoked lamp glass, 18-inch wheels, and some other changes – along with new suspension settings and tires. It gets paddle-shifters for the transmission's manual mode, too.

Inside the Altima, meanwhile, there's 5-inch display as standard, though higher trim levels get a 7-inch screen. No CarPlay or Android Auto, unfortunately, but Siri Eyes-Free is there along with the automaker's own NissanConnect mobile apps.

A Bose system is an option, with nine speakers instead of the usual six, while SV and SL grades get remote start or – on 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL Tech Packages – remote start from your smartphone.

For safety, optional is the new Predictive Forward Collision Warning system, using radar sensors to spot hazards up ahead. Blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alerts appear on higher-level trims, while the SL Tech Package adds Intelligent Cruise Control and Forward Emergency Braking.

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