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Difference Between Altima and Maxima

Difference Between Altima and Maxima

Nissan Altima


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 since become staples for their respective niche markets. Surprisingly, most non-enthusiasts are unaware of the subtle differences of the Altima and Maxima, since both are relatively similar sized sedans manufactured by 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. It has the standard 3.5-liter, 175 hp engine, which 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, which is 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 is 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 accouterments, 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 that can get up to 35 miles per gallon. Pricing for the Altima is around $20,000-$30,000.

Difference Between Altima and Maxima-1

2009 Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Maxima, on the other hand, had its seventh generation released in 2009. Originally tagged as the Datsun 810, it was re-dubbed as the Maxima in the early 1980’s. The Maxima is a mid-size sedan with front-wheel drive, and 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. 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.


1. 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, should the buyer request it, the Altima can be outfitted with the latter as well.
2. The Altima has the option of either 6 speed manual transmission or CVT; the Maxima comes standard with CVT.
3. The Maxima has more spacious and roomy interiors; the Altima offers a hybrid model for better fuel efficiency, although there is very little difference between the basic miles per gallon (mpg) of the two.
4. The Altima is relatively more cost-efficient, with the standard model costing about $5,000 cheaper than the Maxima’s basic option.

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  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?

    • CORRECT!!! i know this ad is like 9 years old but i was saying the same thing…a 3.5 liter 4 banger!!! lol. Never heard of it. especially in nissan. Im wondering about the 2 engines because i bought an altima engine but the car is too trashed to fix so i junked the car and kept the engine. its out of an 03. Im about to purchase an 05 Maxima. My plan is to keep the Altima engine until someone buys it or something (MAY) go wrong with the Maxima engine. BAM just swap engines out. I was told at the dealer that they are the same. he said both are a v92q series or something. Youre saying they are tuned differently. i thought th 03 altima v6 was at 245hp and the 05 Max was around 270hp. If they are a direct swap and i would be loosing some horses, the maxima im buying has a cold air intake that could get it back near to 290 or 270 in case i need it just take the intake off and put it on the altima motor.. thoughts?

  2. Since 2013-2014 Nissan Altima has a 3.5l V6 cvt engine and a 2007-2008 Nissan Maxima also has 3.5l V6 cvt engine with both forth vin digit is B can the engines interchangeable?
    Wondering because I have the latter and need engine installed rather replace same year I prefer to go with the 20013-2014 Altima engine

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