Sedans are dead they say. “Buyers only want crossovers!” Well some automakers, like Ford and GM have pretty much abandoned the segment, but that doesn’t mean automaker is ready to ditch their sedans. Take one look at Nissan’s lineup and its surprisingly filled with four different sedan options.
Nissan offers the sporty Maxima, the entry level Versa and the popular Sentra, but the most popular is the Altima. The Altima is Nissan’s answer to the crowded and highly competitive midsize sedan segment, that’s dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. For the 2019 model year, Nissan has completely revamped its bread and butter sedan in an effort to make it more exciting and hopefully win over would-be crossover buyers.
On the outside it’s easy to see that the Altima borrows many styling cues from its bigger brother, the Maxima. The Altima now looks a bit more aggressive with its chiseled lines, the latest version of the brand’s V-motion grille and the floating roof design.
Under the hood there’s something that the Accord doesn’t offer, all-wheel drive. The Camry is now offering all-wheel drive for the 2020 model year. The optional all-wheel drive system now gives buyers another reason to not buy a crossover. The all-wheel drive system has the ability to send up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels when you need extra traction. The good news is that the system is so seamless that you won’t even notice when it’s sending the power to the rear wheels.
The base Altima is powered by a 188-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a CVT. For buyers that want to have more fun behind the wheel, the old V6 has now been replaced by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque with 93-octane fuel. Sadly Nissan only offers the all-wheel drive system with the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine.
The most efficient version is the 2.5-liter with front-wheel drive, which is rated at 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, which drops down to 26/ 36 mpg if you choose the all-wheel drive version. The front-wheel drive only 2.0-liter is rated at 25/34 mpg.
Around town the 2.5-liter engine does a good job of getting the Altima up to speed, but it’s definitely not sporty. The CVT is smooth and unobtrusive and our tester with the all-wheel drive system definitely preferred to be labeled as a comfortable cruiser instead of the sportier Accord. The Altima’s steering is on the lighter side and its suspension can be a bit soft, but overall the Altima does feel a bit more fun to drive than before.
Inside the Altima’s interior has improved a lot and now feels more luxurious than before. The interior is wrapped in higher quality materials and there’s even some faux wood that doesn’t look too bad. Nissan boasts about the Altima’s Zero Gravity seats, which provide a nice amount of comfort and support that will save your back after a long road trip.
In the center of the dash there’s now an available 8-inch touchscreen that features expected tech features, like a navigation system, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A nine-speaker Bose audio system is also on the options list.
Safety is also a priority and to keep you safe, the Altima comes standard with ProPilot Assist, which bundles several driver assistance features, like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. The adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist system work simultaneously to keep you from getting too exhausted on that long road trip.
This latest Altima is easily the best one yet with its more exciting exterior, higher quality interior and more stand out features, like all-wheel drive and the new variable compression turbocharged engine. Will that help the Altima stand out in the crowded segment? It should and hopefully it will even be able to win over some of those crossover and SUV buyers.
The 2019 Nissan Altima is available in five trim levels: S, SR, SV, SL and Platinum. The pricing starts at $24,645.