Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima

Comparing Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima: Two outstanding models that have plenty of power without sacrificing fuel economy.

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If you need a car that has plenty of room without sacrificing safety and fuel economy, the Nissan Altima and Nissan Maxima are both popular options. But you can’t drive both of these cars at the same time, so, which one is better? As you make your Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima comparison, look to Reply! for all of the information you need. By considering all of the factors that are important to you as a driver, you can make the decision that is best for your family and your budget.

Nissan Maxima

Nissan MaximaFor starters, you should know that the Maxima is the more premium option of these two Nissan sedans. It's built for performance and comfort and patterns itself after a higher-priced, fancy German car. If you want the sleek look and style of a sports car with the convenience of a sedan, the Nissan Maxima is an excellent option. Prices for the car start at $31,000 and peak at $34,090 for the fully loaded package. 

Standard features and options

The Nissan Maxima’s standard features are nothing short of luxurious. With dual zone climate controls, all leather seating and interior finishes, dual-panel moon roof, and an elite stereo system with technology controls, riding in the Maxima feels like taking a trip to the day spa. But the elite features don't end at the interior.  The alloy wheels feature chrome accents. The rear spoiler adds to the sleek beauty of this car. Advanced safety features include electronic breakforce distribution and a head restraint, whiplash protection system designed to keep you and your passengers out of harm's way.

Interior

Nissan Maxima interiorThe Maxima's interior is designed to make driving easier and more comfortable. The steering wheel is easy to grip and includes easy-to-access controls for the audio system and for managing cruise control. A padded driver's seat offers extra support, so you can stay comfortable during long hours on the road. The Maxima also comes with

  • Optional paddle shifters
  • Built-in navigation
  • Five seats
  • Heated front seats
  • An optional cooling system focused on the driver

Engine and performance

With its curving, aerodynamic exterior and abundant horsepower, the Maxima is designed for performance. The 3.5L V6 engine pushes out a whopping 290 horsepower, so you'll never have to worry about struggling to pass the slowpokes hogging up the left lane, but be sure to watch out for speed traps. The CTV automatic transmission includes sports paddles in manual mode for a racecar driving experience. Unfortunately, there is no offered manual transmission, but reviewers say the paddle shift mode is an acceptable alternative.

Mileage ratings

When it comes to fuel economy, the Maxima falls well short of the Altima and is generally considered below average for its class. It currently rates with fuel efficiency standards of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. If you're looking for powerful fun, this might be your ride. If you're looking for a more practical day-to-day car, the Altima might be the better choice.

Read on. 

Nissan Altima

Nissan Altima vs Nissan MaximaThe mid-size Nissan Altima gets positive reviews from drivers, car experts and buying-guide writers. It costs considerably less than the Maxima, with a base price of $21,760. The fully loaded model is still relatively affordable at $30,660.  It has a more traditional design than the Maxima (more typical of a common commuter sedan) but there's a monster lurking under the hood.

Engine and performance

The Altima is available with a 2.5L four-cylinder or a 3.5L six-cylinder engine. Don't mistake this sedan for a typical commuter sedan, because this thing has some serious power. The 2.5L V6 gets a decent 170 hp, with performance you can feel when you put your foot on the gas pedal.

But the monster, of course, is the 3.5L. With 270 hp, combined with an effortlessly smooth ride, it's easy to hit triple digits on the freeway without even realizing it. (Pace yourself and keep an eye out for the cops!) Optional paddle shifters can put this car in manual mode, making your ride feel like a racecar. If you're a stickler for a smooth ride, the CVT automatic transmission will transport you through the gears seamlessly and with rabbit-quick response. The fuel economy for the 2.5L is significantly better than the Maxima, and among the best in its class at 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway

Standard features and options

Nissan Altima interiornew feature for the Altima’s newest models is what Nissan is calling Active Understeer control. This is a feature that helps smooth out the ride by allowing the car to "sense" whenever you are understeering and/or oversteering the car. Triggered by this sensory tool, the car will apply the brakes on the inside wheels for precise handling in any type of weather and to help get you back on a straighter line.

On the inside, the Altima keeps you connected with the latest technology, including a touchscreen monitor, voice recognition, built-in navigational controls, and hands-free text messaging.

Nissan's "zero-gravity" seats take advantage of some NASA-inspired technology that will reduce the load on your spine and surrounding muscles. If you find yourself wracking up sore muscles along with miles on your long daily commute, these seats could be just the answer you need. Dual zone automatic temperature controls, heated front seats, and even a heated steering wheel are features designed to keep you comfortable in all driving weather conditions.

Safety features

Wen it comes to safety, the Altima ranks well among other cars in its class. Each part of the car is designed to protect you and your passengers. A built-in sensor lets you know when the tires are low. The car comes with an advanced airbag system that includes supplemental airbags for the driver and passengers.

The Altima also comes with:

  • Dynamic vehicle control systems
  • Traction control
  • Advanced seatbelts
  • Specialized crumple zones
  • Steel door-guard beams
  • Energy-absorbing steering column

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In the end, the decision between the Altima and the Maxima often comes down to price. The Maxima offers a sportier look with a higher price tag. The Altima costs less and gets better gas mileage, so you'll spend less over the lifetime of the car. As you conduct a Nissan Altima vs. Nissan Maxima comparison, use Reply! to find the best local prices.

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About the Author

Alex Gabriel is a content editor at Reply! with several years of digital marketing and and copywriting experience. A native of Portland and graduate of the University of Oregon, Alex has a passion for test-driving new cars he can’t afford. Click here to connect with Alex on Google+.