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  • Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima: a 2014 update

Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima: a 2014 update

Updating a comparison of two top-selling Nissan brands offering plenty of power without sacrificing fuel economy.

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If you and your family are looking for a car with plenty of room and one that doesn’t sacrifice safety or fuel economy, the Nissan Altima and Nissan Maxima are both popular options. Digging in to the details will help you decide which of these models might work best for your unique driving needs. As you make your Nissan Altima vs Nissan Maxima comparison, look to Reply! for all of the information you need.

Here’s an updated, 2014 Nissan Altima vs. Nissan Maxima summary comparison:

2014 Nissan Altima

2014 nissan altima vs. maxima1For the 2014 model year, Nissan eliminated the coupe option with the Altima All 2014 Altimas are four-door sedans, making a straight on comparison to the Maxima easier. Other than discontinuing a 2-door couple, little else was changed for 2014 in the Altima (which makes sense given that the Altima is Nissan’s best-selling model in the U.S.)

The 2014 Nissan Altima comes in seven distinct trim/option packages:

  • Altima 2.5
  • Altima 2.5 S
  • Altima 2.5 SV
  • Altima 2.5 SL
  • Altima 3.5 S
  • Altima 3.5 SV
  • Altima 3.5 SL

As you might expect, the number refers to the engine size. The four 2.5 models come with the 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine and the 3.5 models step up with e 3.5-liter V6. The four-cylinder delivers 182-hp and 180 pond-feet of torque. The V6 models deliver 270-hp and 251 pound-feet of torque. Little is sacrificed for extra power in terms of efficiency. The 2.5 models rank well with 27-mpg in city driving and 38-mpg on highways while the 3.5 models give you extra power and still deliver 22-mpg city and 31-mpg highway. All models (four-cylinder and V6) are driven by the automatic CVT transmission.

The four-door, five-passenger Altimas come equipped with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and a standard rearview camera (except for the base and S trim packages.) The 2014 Altima earned all five stars from NHTSA’s crash-test ratings and it also received a Top Safety Pick rating in its class from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

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Continued in the 2014 models is Nissan’s Active Understeer control, a feature that helps smooth out the ride by allowing the car to "sense" whenever you are understeering and/or oversteering the car. Triggered by this sensory tool, the car will apply the brakes on the inside wheels for precise handling in any type of weather and to help get you back on a straighter line.

2014 Nissan Maxima

2014 nissan altima vs. maxima2The Maxima has been Nissan’s flag-bearer in the mid-size sedan category for a long time. It tends to suffer from being stuck between competing brands and models on either side of the balance sheet and hasn’t been substantially upgraded since 2009. It’s one reason why a close Sentra vs Maxima comparison is worth your time (especially if you are a Nissan fan.)

The 2014 Nissan Maxima is a four-door, five-passenger sedan and it’s available in two distinct finish/option packages, the S and the SV. For 2014, you can upgrade the S with the S Limited Edition and the SV with either a Sport finish package or its Premium Package.

Upgrades you’ll find in the S Limited Edition model include 18-inch dark silver wheels, smoked appearance headlamps, darkened grille, a rear spoiler, xenon headlights (low beams only), foglights, exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, and metallic interior trim.

Upgrades you find in the SV (over the S) include xenon headlights all around, foglights, leather upholstery and an upgraded driver seat with extendable thigh support and power lumbar. The SV option also includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, an iPod/USB audio interface, single-disc CD player, and satellite radio. Upgrade the 2014 Nissan Maxima SV with the Sport or Premium packages and you’ll get upgraded leather upholstery, driver seat memory functions, a ventilated driver seat, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with paddle shifters, and an upgraded Bose audio system. Rear bucket seats with a center trunk pass-through also replace the 60/40-split rear seatbacks you’ll find in the standard SV. The SV Premium package includes a dual-panel sunroof, ambient lighting and wood trim. The Sport package features a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels and special exterior and interior trim details.

2014 nissan altima vs. maxima3The amenities in the SV and the upgrades give measure to the fact that Nissan is trying to emulate higher-priced or even luxury sedans without breaking the budget (for purchase or gas down the road.)

Whichever model and trim package you choose, every 2014 Nissan Maxima is powered with its 3.5L V6 monster of a motor pumping out 290-hp and 261 pound-feet of torque. That power is delivered with front-wheel drive with extra tight handling and a smooth Xtronic CVT automatic transmission. Even with all that power at your feet, it still delivers nicely on fuel efficiency for its class. The 2014 Nissan Maxima rates at 19-mpg in the city and 26-mpg on the highways.

The 2014 Nissan Maxima comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and active front-seat head restraints. A rearview camera is standard on all SV models. Advanced safety features include electronic breakforce distribution and a head restraint, whiplash protection system designed to keep you and your passengers out of harm's way in the event of an accident.

Prices and warranties

While what you ultimately pay for your 2014 Nissan Altima or Maxima will depend on where you live and how generous any particular dealer will be with sales, promotions and discounts, we can give you a general sense of what the starting MSRPs for the basic options with each:

2014 Nissan Altima

  • Altima 2.5 -- $22,170
  • Altima 2.5 S -- $22,690
  • Altima 2.5 SV -- $24,340
  • Altima 2.5 SL -- $27,920
  • Altima 3.5 S -- $26,320
  • Altima 3.5 SV -- $28,520
  • Altima 3.5 SL -- $30,820

2014 Nissan Maxima

  • Maxima S -- $31,290
  • Maxima S Limited -- $32,040
  • Maxima SV -- $34,380
  • Maxima SV Sport -- $36,380
  • Maxima SV Premium -- $37,230

As for warranties, the 2014 Altimas and Maximas are all covered by the standard Nissan warranty. This warranty gives you:

  • 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited coverage
  • 5-year/60,000 mile limited powertrain coverage
  • 5-year/unlimited miles corrosion perforation protection

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Quick comparisons

2014 nissan altima vs. maxima4A first-blush reading will probably tell you that in a 2014 Nissan Altima vs Maxima comparison, it’s luxury and power against economy (both in price and fuel efficiency.) To be fair, you should do most of your comparing lining up one of the Altima 3.5 options with a Maxima. In that comparison, there are a few more nuances that can be worried out here. A brief tale-of-the-tape on some important areas:

  • Power – about a wash (what’s 20-hp between friends!)
  • Fuel economy – edge to Altima
  • Safety – on paper a wash but ratings give the edge to Altima
  • Room – surprisingly, Altima has more leg and headroom, front and back as well as more storage space
  • Standard Amenities – Maxima by more than a nose
  • Price – Altima

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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