The 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR is a sharply designed sedan with multiple sport features.The trunk protector on the Nissan Altima is an excellent cargo area is easily removed and provides traction for goods being hauled.The 2016 Toyota Avalon Touring sedan is smartly styled and has a spacious interior.

Nissan Altima models are packed with features at affordable price points

There are three features on the 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR that we particularly liked during our recent test: the sport-tuned suspension, the rubber trunk protector, and the MSRP. For what this sedan offers at a base price of $24,470, it’s an excellent buy.

     The Altima 2.5 SR is the second level of four 2.5-L four-cylinder engine offerings, plus there are two 3.5-L models. The 2.5 S model starts at $22,900, but the standard equipment on the SR makes it a slightly better price point. Little in the way of safety, comfort, or security has been overlooked with the SR.

     Mated to the 2.5-L engine is a continuously variable automatic transmission that operates around two variable-diameter pulleys for more efficiency – and the powertrain results in rated fuel economy of 30 MPG overall (37/highway and 26/city MPG). Steering wheel paddle shifters with a manual shift mode make it a fun drive.

     The sport suspension is a bespoke design with larger front and rear stabilizer bars, revised damper tuning, and wider tires (18-inch low profile all-season tires) for a sportier ride. Combined with that is Nissan’s Active Understeer Control that senses both under steer and over steer for a more controlled ride, plus a superb Vehicle Dynamic Control system with traction control, handling is genuinely cool.

     Altimas have a sporty exterior design engineered with aerodynamics in mind and a low drag coefficient of 0.26. Our SR model included 18-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheels, a rear deck spoiler, dual chrome exhaust tips, smoked headlight housing, fog lamps, and more, making it an attractive midsize sedan. Our only options were carpeted floor mats ($110) and the noted truck mat ($110).

     Little is left to the imagination on the interior of the 2.5 SR we tested. It included a sport interior, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, eight-way power driver’s seat, zero-gravity seats, 60/40 fold-down rear seats, rear-view monitor, color audio display, two 12-volt DC power outlets, and the NissanConnect with Mobile Apps system that provides plentiful connectivity features. And, like the vast majority of our testers today, push-button start is standard.

     The trunk protector is a very usable feature in the 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space. We loaded up this trunk and nothing moved out of place and what little water was spilled was easily cleaned up.

     Again, for the price, the Altima 2.5 SR is priced right, plus it offers agile handling and sport features not always found in a four-door sedan.


Toyota Avalon Touring sedan has abundance of standard features

The 2016 Toyota Avalon Touring sedan also provides pleasant ride and handling characteristics with its unique suspension system, but at a slightly higher price than the Altima we tested. The FWD Touring edition is fourth in a lineup of five gas powered Avalons, plus there are three hybrid models.

With a redesigned exterior that includes a new front grille (on the Touring a chrome grille with piano-black insert; other models are gray), dual chrome-tipped exhaust, smoked LED headlamps (as well as LED daytime running lamps), and 18-inch tires mounted on gray alloy wheels.

Our likes on the Avalon Touring model include the power tilt/slide moonroof  that worked smoothly, heated outside mirrors (very nice in the winter), and comfortable leather trimmed front seats with multi-stage heating. We also enjoyed the Toyota Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control, traction control, ABS, electronic brake distribution, Brake Assist, and the Smart Stop Technology (reduces engine power when the accelerator and brake pedals are depressed at the same time under certain conditions).

The Avalon has 10 airbags, an anti-theft system with an engine immobilizer, and an exceptional blind-spot monitoring system and cross traffic alert.

A nine-speaker Entune premium JBL audio system with Integrated Navigation and App Suite, and back-up camera on a seven-inch touch-screen, is quite usable and offers voice recognition. Like most late model vehicles we test, connectivity is abundant from Bluetooth to iPod, GPS to weather and traffic.

A dual-zone climate control system with an air filter provides efficient airflow to both front a rear seats on the Avalon. The system reacted quickly and competently when we used it on several occasions.

Our tester had the 3.5-L DOHC V-6 engine paired with a genuinely reactive six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with sequential shift mode. Fuel economy is rated at 31 MPG/overall (21/city and 31 highway) and during our weeklong test we posted 32 MPG overall.

Priced at $37,050, our Avalon Touring model had no options.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.