The 2019 Nissan Altima is all-new this year with a sportier design, two new powertrains, and advanced safety technologies. It also sees the addition of all-wheel drive, which is a first not just for the Altima, but for any Nissan sedan in the United States.
Times are tough for sedans as crossovers and SUVs continue their streak as the most popular vehicles on the market. That doesn’t mean sedans are irrelevant, though: There are 6 million sedans sold every year in the U.S., with 2 million of those sales going to midsize sedans like the Altima.
Changes this year include a facelift that gives the Altima more personality. It’s longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing model, which gives it a sporty, more modern feel. It also has a longer wheelbase, so passengers have more room in what was already a comfortable and spacious interior. The biggest changes for the Altima, however, are things you don’t see at first glance.
It starts with two new powertrains. The base engine is a direct-injected 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 188 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. This engine gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon in the city, 39 on the highway, and 32 combined. Add all-wheel drive and the numbers drop slightly to 26 miles per gallon in the city, 36 on the highway, and 30 combined.
Next up is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder variable-compression turbocharged engine with 248 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque paired to the same transmission. This replaces the old V6 engine and marks the first time Nissan has used a variable-compression engine in a production vehicle.
The idea behind this technology is to provide better performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Despite its increased horsepower over the 2.5-liter, fuel economy numbers are still strong. It gets an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city, 34 on the highway, and 29 combined with front-wheel drive.
The Altima lineup consists of five models equipped with the 2.5-liter engine and three models with the turbocharged engine. The base S starts at $23,750 while the luxurious Platinum is priced from $31,780. Sitting at the top of the range is the exclusive Edition One with pricing yet to be announced on this special limited run launch edition.
Perhaps the biggest news for those of us in the Northeast is the addition of all-wheel drive to the Altima lineup. Previously, the only choice was front-wheel drive, making it a tough sell in a region where roads spend many months covered in snow. Now, you can get all-wheel drive as an option across the trim range on models equipped with the 2.5-liter engine. Turbocharged models are still front-wheel drive only.
The lineup features Safety Shield 360 as a standard feature on all but the two base trims. This comprehensive suite of safety technologies includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist, rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. There’s also rear automatic braking and the ProPilot Assist driver assistance system.
Nissan stresses that ProPilot Assist isn’t a self-driving feature. While it can steer the car to help reduce driver fatigue, you still need to keep your hands on the wheel. It can even tell if you let go and will warn you to put your hands back on the wheel in the interest of safety.
This tech-savvy sedan also gets a new NissanConnect infotainment system that’s faster than before and has a standard 8-inch touchscreen, even on the base model. It includes a six-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto with three years of complimentary head unit software and map updates. A nine-speaker Bose audio system is also available.
The all-new 2019 Nissan Altima sedan with its new slate of features and all-wheel drive is due to arrive in dealerships later this fall.