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Difference Between Altima and Maxima


The Nissan Altima and the Nissan Maxima are familiar and prominent Nissan models. Both have been choice options for motorists interested in sedans since the 1990’s (although, technically, the Maxima first came into prominence during the 1980’s as the Datsun 810) and have become staples for their respective niche markets since then. Surprisingly, most non-enthusiasts are unaware of the subtle differences of the Altima and Maxima, since both are relatively similar sized sedans from the same company.

The Nissan Altima is a family sedan that seats up to five passengers comfortably. It has been credited with excellent handling and overall performance, which are its main draws. Power is also one of its hallmarks, thanks to options available at purchase. The Altima is also no slouch in the presentation department, with the standard or coupe variant available. The most recent generation (fourth, to be exact) from 2007 (with the coupe debuting a year later) has little difference from its forbears. There is the standard 3.5-liter, 175 hp engine but it can be optionally upgraded to the more-powerful 3.5-liter V6. The latter’s more aggressive engine can reach 0-60 in 6 seconds; quite unusual for a family sedan.

Transmission options include a manual, six-speed version or the much more preferred Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Preference between the transmission options are entirely based on customer choice as the former is notoriously difficult (or at least unwieldy) to operate. As expected from a family sedan, the Nissan Altima provides ample room for an average group, though the most recent generation is slightly smaller than its predecessors. The recent 2010 release includes upgraded accoutrements, ranging from an iPod port, a better sound system, and GPRS Navigation. For fuel efficiency, the Altima gets 20 miles per gallon (city, 27 for highways). Moreover, the Altima offers a hybrid model which can get up to 35 miles per gallon. Pricing for the Altima is around $20,000-$30,000.

The Nissan Maxima, on the other hand, has had its seventh generation released in 2009. Originally tagged as the Datsun 810, it was re-dubbed the Maxima in the early 1980’s. The Maxima is a mid-size sedan with front-wheel drive which comes with the 3.5-liter V6 engine as the standard, which can hum to the tune of 290 hp. It also comes with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) as standard for the model. The Maxima has a larger internal space than the Altima and the basic model boasts standard amenities and safety features. However, the SV models have more luxurious accommodations.

Regardless of the chosen model, there are multiple options available for entertainment, navigation and safety systems. Of these, highlights include a Bose speaker system, iPod interface, a rear view camera, and voice navigation systems. It also has a very sturdy suspension compared to others of its type. Fuel efficiency for the most recent Maxima clocks at 19 miles per gallon (city, about 26 for highway travel). The standard Maxima price range is about $30,000 to $35,000.



The Altima has a 3.5-liter, 4 cylinder engine that pumps 175 hp; the Maxima’s standard model has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 290 horses. However, at the option of the buyer, the Altima can be outfitted with the latter as well.

The Altima has the option of choosing either 6 speed manual transmission or CVT; the Maxima comes standard with CVT.

The Maxima has more spacious and roomy interiors; the Altima offers a hybrid model for better fuel efficiency, although the basic miles per gallon (mpg) of the two has very little difference.

The Altima is relatively more cost-efficient, with the standard model being about $5,000 cheaper than the Maxima’s basic option.

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1 Comment

  1. There is a lot of incorrect information here. The Altima comes with the option betweeen a 2.5L 4 cyl that puts out 175 hp or a 3.5L V6 that currently puts out 270 hp at the time of this righting. It is indeed the same motor that is in the Maxima but that motor is tuned (or the Altima equivalent de-tuned more likely) to produce 290 hp compared to the Altimas 270.

    The G35 and 350Z share the same basic motor that put out in the 300 area and the Nismo 350Z was rated at 350 hp with the same motor that had been modified and tuned for a sports car instead of an enjoyable and quiet sedan with plenty of horsepower from the factory.

    This might be coming late but in any case at no time did Nissan have a 3.5L 4 cylinder only putting out 175 horsepower. Why is a post that is so wrong getting 5 stars?

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