The Nissan Altima is a favorite around here. Even drivers coming from exotic cars would be astounded by the compentence of this vehicle for 2016.
We recently dubbed it the ‘world’s smoothest sedan’ in 2.5SL form. That smoothness is from effortless drive manners, the infinite-ratio Xtronic automatic and, of course, the pillowy ride quality of the mid-spec Altima.
This SR trimline is new for the 2016 model-year on the four-cylinder engine. An effective nose darkening with smoked headlamp lenses and optics sets a great mood from the start. Larger wheels and sport-suspension and cabin are added bonii.
All good, yes, for a sporty flagship of the range.
But wait! This Altima SR is out-the-door below $26k.
We have an HD drive video to share, along with 100 photos of this cool sport option of the fresh 2016 Altima to share. Headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary to go along.
HD Drive Review Video – 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR
EXTERIOR – 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR Review
Tell me this is not the most beautiful Altima you have ever seen!?
The SR package darkens the headlights, upgrades the wheels to machine-polished 18s, and adds a trunk spoiler. You will be the only one who knows what killer value it is… at least from around back.
The dark nose is very cool, and the foglamp DRLs are cool too. While these are standard halogen projectors, they are an easy DIY upgrade to LED bulbs or even HID units down below. The reason for the lower daytime running light?
The Altima SR 2.5 majors on max sportiness for the price. The main lamp action is darkened inner optics and smoked lenses. It is effective, but missing the LED DRLs. The $1700 Tech package that brings LEDs to the SL and 3.5SR is not available on the SR, but that is okay.
The projector-beam lows and standard highbeams are all very sexy in their new dark finish. The mean, blacked-out lamps blend with a black V-motion grille sweep in a very fresh way. They make this nose. The swirl of bumper shaping down below the grille is nice, too, of course. Its integrated lower center splitter is extra visible in this $400 optional White Pearl paint.
A classic Nissan shade, but updated for the 2020s and beyond! It now has lovely metallic flecks so tantalizing, even the flies near the oceanfront tidal marsh could not keep their paws off it!
Around back, the SR brings dual chrome-accented exhaust finishers and a bodycolor spoiler. This piece is super subtle, but very effective. It helps make the new tail of the 2016 Altima really pop. The body-color spoiler just extends the rear end like an aero-optimized longtail. It helps the silhouette too. Wins all around.
The cabin of the Altima SR brings blue-stitched leather doors, leather-wrapped wheel and gearlever, plus shift paddles!
Unique sport fabric is grippy and modern, like athletic-wear from Lululemon. But holding you in place around corners?! A leather-beater in our book.
Custom $220 Altima SR woven floormats complete the dark cabin upgrade. This is a much more chic cabin than the mousefur we recall from the last non-leather Altima sampled, that is for sure.
The next great thing you note about the SR is its drive position. The seat dips lowwwww and reclined! Much more gangsta lean than is possible in the Camry, Accord or Sonata.
The tech package of the SR is not upgradable: just this easy 5-inch color display audio versus a big nav unit. That option, which also includes the LED DRLS mentioned above, does not appear to be available on the builder.
All in the name of max sport, min price.
The cabin is huge and wide. Makes compact cars seem silly in their cramped quarters up front. And especially in back.
A giant sofa of a rear seat is extra spacious and easy to enter/exit — particularly versus the Sonata or Chrysler 200C. Back there, the Altima 2.5 SR is missing HVAC central vents, power outlets or USBs. But not space or comfort. A nicely reclined seatback angle and long cushion makes this a very comfy place to be, even if it lacks lux features.
The trunk is gigantic with a lightweight, easy-open lid and pulls to tumble the folding back seats.
The Altima 2.5 SR shares its engine with the other base Altimas, from the entry price of $22,500. It makes a fairly torquey 180-pound-feet and 182-horsepower. Not a particularly rapid 60-mph sprint to brag about, but it is more energetic than its rivals. The new step-change/upshift programming in Xtronic3 CVTs is very welcome. We’d estimate about an 8.0-second sprint to 60. This is not the highlight of the car’s performance, though.
Those are: the SR’s sport-tuned suspension, bigger wheels and wider rubber. These totally transform how much sportiness is possible for base, value-priced midsizers. Camry XSE, Accord Sport and Sonata Sport are all much, much pricier and not available in such a volume-selling variety.
ANother highlight? Must be the 580-mile range when the tank is full. A 26/37 EPA rating rounds out to a 30-mpg combined rating. We hovered in this region during the test, which is incredible vs many test cars.
The suspension is still quite comfy, if a bit more controlled than the very cushy shocks in the Altima SL. Then you fling the SR around a corner. And there is no push!
It hangs on. Wishing for a bit more power from up front, perhaps. And maybe a bit better exhaust sound in back? All possible as a Stage 1 DIY roadmap, maybe a year into ownership. A cold-air K&N intake would really up the coolness of this engine note.
It is smooth and fairly growly, but a bit lacking in that lack sporty character.
Bottom line though, this is the sportiest $26k sedan around.
We almost spit out our Coke Zero when first seeing the base price of this Altima SR: $24,470! Ridiculously good value.
With the $400 paint, floormats and delivery charge, this sporty/sharp new mini-Infiniti stickers at $25,920. All in.
Incredibly fair, and smart. If no nav or LEDs helped make it happen… so be it!
Chevy Cruze or sporty, Maxima-chic Altima?
Hyundai Elantra with pinched elbows and uncomfy back seat, or Altima SR?
Also a big win over the Altima SL if you love fast corners and the fast lane.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.