2019 Nissan Altima

2019 Nissan Altima First Look

Redesigned Family Sedan Seeks Mainstream Shine of Its Own

byDan Frio, Staff Writer March 28th, 2018

A mainstay of the family sedan landscape for 25 years, the Nissan Altima rarely enjoys the same mainstream success as its Japanese rivals, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Last year, the Camry outsold the Altima by about 132,000 cars — roughly the population of Gainesville, Florida — while the Accord beat the Altima by about 68,000 cars.

But with roomy, feature-rich interiors, robust engines and smart pricing, the Altima offers a compelling alternative for those willing to look beyond serial Honda and Toyota ownership. The redesigned, sixth-generation 2019 Nissan Altima won't just maintain that trend, but it should also power its way onto the shopping lists of more family sedan buyers.

The new Altima's design shares its crisp lines and surface creases with Nissan's Maxima sedan and Murano SUV. And its stance is further enhanced by sitting slightly lower (1.1 inches), longer (1 inch) and wider (0.9 inch) than its predecessor.

Six Cylinders Gives Way for Four

For 2019, the Altima's 3.5-liter V6 engine is gone, a casualty in a ruthless race for fuel economy, but in its place is a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Nissan says the new four-cylinder should yield a "double-digit percentage increase" in highway fuel economy, for front-wheel-drive models at least, compared to the outgoing V6. That engine was rated at 32 mpg, so look for the new turbo four-cylinder to deliver at least 35 mpg highway.

The turbo engine, however, is only available on two trim levels. The remainder of the Altima lineup continues with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder as the standard powerplant, although it's been given a fresh overhaul and now generates 188 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, gains of 9 hp and 3 lb-ft, respectively.

Both engines will pair with a continuously variable automatic transmission that Nissan says has also been revised to improve acceleration and efficiency.

All-Wheel Drive at Last

Some of the Altima's lesser sales success can be blamed on its lack of all-wheel drive, often a nonstarter for buyers in wet-weather climates. No longer. The 2019 Altima is the first to offer all-wheel drive, but there's a catch: It's only available with the standard four-cylinder, not the hopped-up new turbo engine.

Along with new AWD availabilty, the Altima also features new suspension and chassis components and modified suspension geometry for improved steering response.

Getting a Big Assist

The new Altima is also among the first handful of Nissan models to offer ProPilot Assist, a bundle of driver assistance features that provide semiautonomous driving capability. Using forward-facing cameras, sensors and radar, the adaptive cruise control can slow the Altima to a complete stop and start it moving again, while self-steering keeps the car within lane markings. Drivers must still keep hands on the wheel, but the car can take over the most fatigue-inducing tasks, promising relief for weary city commuters.

Other safety and driver assist features include rear automatic braking, which can apply the brakes if the car is in danger of colliding with an object while in reverse, traffic sign recognition, and automatic high beams. More common aids such as blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward automatic emergency braking are also available.

Cabin Comfort Still a Draw

Nissan excels at dressing up an interior, often far better than you'd expect for a car's class, and the Altima promises no different. Nissan's Zero Gravity seats, inspired by NASA technology, remain some of our favorites for their design and comfort. They come standard on the 2019 Altima, with enhanced bolstering. An 8-inch touchscreen handles navigation and entertainment features, and it is complemented with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. And through the NissanConnect app suite, the Altima can even receive certain commands from Apple Watch and Android Wear devices and Amazon Alexa.

Other standard or optional enhancements include LED headlights and a panoramic sunroof.

The 2019 Nissan Altima is available in five trim levels: S, SR, SV, SL and Platinum. Only front-wheel-drive SR and Platinum trims offer the new 2.0-liter turbo engine, while the ProPilot Assist features come standard on SV, SL and Platinum trims.

The 2019 Altima goes on sale this fall. Pricing and official fuel economy have not yet been announced.

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