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. As you make a 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 MaximaTo start, the Maxima is the more premium option of the two Nissan sedans. It's built for performance and comfort similar to fancy German models, minus the premium price tag. If you're looking for 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. 

Features and options

The Nissan Maxima features are nothing short of luxurious. With dual zone climate controls, all-leather everything, dual-panel moon roof and elite stereo system and 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 chrome accents, and rear spoiler add to the beauty of this car, and advanced safety features like electronic breakforce distribution and a head restraint whiplash protection systems will keep you and your passengers out of harm's way. 


Nissan Maxima interiorThe Maxima's interior is designed to make driving easier. The steering wheel is easy to grip and includes controls for the audio system and 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, and an optional cooling system in the driver's seat.

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 race car driving experience. Unfortunatey, there is no offered manual transmission, but reviewers say the paddle shift mode is an acceptable alternative.  

When it comes to fuel economy, the Maxima falls well short of the Altima and is considered below average for its class, with 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. 

Nissan Altima

Nissan Altima vs Nissan MaximaThe mid-size Nissan Altima gets positive reviews from drivers 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, 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 and 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.

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 freeway without even realizing. So be careful and watch out for the cops. Optional paddle shifters with manual mode make this ride feel like a race car. If you're for a smooth ride, The CVT automatic transmission seamlessly shifts with 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. 

Features and options

Nissan Altima interiorA new feature for the Altima this year is Active Understeer control, which helps smooth out the ride by sensing understeer and oversteer and applying the brakes on the inside wheels for precise handling in any time of weather. 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 feature NASA technology that reduces load on the spine and your muscles, so if you have any aches from your long daily commute. Dual zone automatic temperature controls and heated front seats and steering wheel keep you comfortable in all conditions .

Safety features

When 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 and a steering column that absorbs energy.

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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+.