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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
March 28, 2018

The 2019 Nissan Altima ponies up a crossover-like drivetrain and advanced safety to fend off the SUV invasion.

The 2019 Nissan Altima adds a new wrinkle to the family four-door, but it’s a wrinkle we’ve seen before.

The new Altima may enter a battle royal with the just-revamped Camry and Accord, but it’s really up against a slew of new crossover SUVs that compete for attention with wagon bodies and all-wheel drive.

Guess what the new Altima has in this, its sixth generation? You guessed it, all-wheel drive.

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It also has a crisp new look. Nissan has carved out more personality for the 2019 Altima. Just when you thought its V-shaped grille couldn’t go much deeper, it has. It takes up more of the space on a front end that dives lower ahead of a more steeply inclined hood. The Altima’s roofline has more starch in its creases this time, too.

Inside, the dash drops for a more spacious, sleeker look. Nissan’s executed the same visual trick that works well on some entry-luxury sedans: it lets the central touchscreen stand proud on the dash, which reduces the heft and size of the rest of the interior.

The 2019 Altima’s running gear has evolved in a way that inevitably will blend in with a related crossover SUV. For now at least, Nissan drops the Altima’s seldom-selected V-6. The base 2.5-liter inline-4 turns in 188 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Nissan says it’s quieter and smoother, and turns in better fuel economy, which hasn’t been announced. It’s coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and can be paired with paddle shift controls. It’s also the first Altima to offer optional all-wheel drive, here a simple system with the ability to split power between the front and rear wheels.

Instead of a V-6, Nissan offers spendy Altima buyers a new turbo-4 engine seen first in the Infiniti QX50 crossover. The new engine can vary its compression ratio from 8:1 to 14:1 through a clever system that varies the piston throw inside the cylinder.

The new turbo-4 develops 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque when run on premium gas, and sends power through a CVT to the front wheels only; all-wheel drive is not yet offered.

All 2019 Altimas have a front strut, rear multi-link suspension, electric power steering with dual steering pinions for better precision, and more sophisticated monotube rear shocks. Wheel-and-tire combinations start at 16-inchers on base models, and rise to 19-inchers on the sporting Altima SR, which also gets a sport-tuned suspension.

2019 Nissan Altima comfort, safety, and features

The new 2019 Altima rides on a 111.2-inch wheelbase, up by almost two inches, and sits 192.9 inches long in all.

Nissan fits eight-way power driver and four-way manual passenger seats, with an option for a power front passenger seat. More interior room is promised, and the usual cloth or leather seats can be upgraded with heat for front passengers.

Standard safety features include forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking and a rearview camera. Blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control are options. The 2019 Altima can be fitted with Nissan’s Level 2 semi-autonomous driving hardware, which assists the driver with steering and braking input—with, Nissan reminds, hands-on driver control.

That ProPilot Assist hardware comes standard on the 2019 Altima SV, SL and Platinum. The lineup also includes base Altima S and Altima SR models. All have power features, keyless ignition, Bluetooth, a USB-C port, and an infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The turbo-4 can only be had on the Altima SR and Platinum.

Other options include Bose audio, navigation, LED headlights, and a sunroof.

The 2019 Altima goes on sale in the fall. Pricing and EPA fuel economy have not yet been released.

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