By on March 28, 2018

2019 Nissan Altima

In a flurry of robots and futuristic music, Nissan introduced the 2019 Altima today at the New York Auto Show. With available all-wheel drive and a variable compression engine, the sixth-gen Altima has a couple of tricks up its sleeve to take on the Accord and Camry.

Writers in different corners of the internet have been, rightly or wrongly, sounding a death knell for the traditional three-box sedan, citing sales declines for most models in the segment. For certain, Altima sales are off by about 100,000 units since its 2014 peak, but over a quarter-million buyers did drive off in a new Altima last year. That is not a number at which to sneeze.

Tellingly, the words “Intelligent Mobility” were the first ones shown on the screen behind the shiny new red sedan on stage in New York. The company was quick to tout the availability of its oddly-capitalized ProPILOT Assist technology, a suite of safety nannies that appeared on the new Leaf in December.

For now, Nissan is calling ProPILOT Assist a single-lane “hands-on” driving assistance technology that eases driver workload by reducing the amount of acceleration, steering and braking input under certain driving conditions. Your author has tried the system firsthand, finding it to generally play within lane boundaries so long as the markings are clear. Driving still requires plenty of attention with ProPILOT Assist, as it should.

2019 Nissan Altima

Taking one’s hands off the wheel for an extended period of time triggers a claxon not unlike the Red Alert sound on the USS Enterprise. Fail to grab the wheel at this point and the system gradually applies the brakes, bringing the car to a full stop. I’m not entirely sure what to think about that last feature, as coming to a dead stop in an active motorway doesn’t rank too high on my Top 40, even if I am incapacitated for some reason. Better than sailing off into the weeds at 60 mph, I suppose. ProPILOT Assist will be standard on the 2019 Altima SV, SL and Platinum grades. Base S and sporty SR trims will do without.

Denis LeVot, chairman of Nissan North America and a former engineer at Renault, introduced the car on stage in NYC. He addressed the continuing market shift to crossovers and said he hopes the new Altima’s all-wheel-drive feature will capture some of those customers who truly want a sedan but feel the need for extra traction. The system, which can send up to 50 percent of the engine’s power astern, will certainly give the Altima a unique selling point against the other two top sedans in the market – Accord and Camry.

2019 Nissan Altima

Two engines are deployed in the new Altima. Replacing the previous-generation Altima’s 3.5-liter V6 engine is the company’s unique 2.0-liter variable compression turbo inline-four. It makes 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of twist. The inner workings of a variable compression engine makes this author’s head spin like a tumble dryer, so I encourage you to check out our previous explanations of the technology.

Standard on all 2019 Altima grade levels is a 188 horse 2.5-liter inline-four with direct injection. Buried in the press release but not mentioned on stage is that the Altima’s unique selling point, all-wheel drive, will only be available with the base engine. This is Nissan we’re talking about, so I don’t need to tell you what type of transmission it has.

2019 Nissan Altima

The interior gets a rethink, opened up by way of a tablet-style infotainment system and relocated controls. Photos show a dash top that’s lower than the door’s beltline, a feature that – at least in other cars deploying this architecture – goes a long way in making the interior feel more spacious and airy. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are said to be standard equipment on all models.

Year to date in 2018, the Altima trails only the Camry in America’s midsize car gladiator ring, selling 39,888 cars through the end of February. Toyota showed 55,503 Camrys to the door while Honda found 37,430 buyers for its Accord. A new Altima, then, is a bigger deal than most people realize.

The 2019 Altima goes on sale in America this fall.

[Images: Nissan]

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68 Comments on “2019 Nissan Altima: Midsize Bag of Tricks...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Thank Jesus, it’s a car!

  • avatar
    junkandfrunk

    Decent looking car. The front grill is a bit big and there’s that weird black thing on the C pillar, but overall I like it. Except for the tablet stuck on the middle of the dash. Those just look so tacky.

    • 0 avatar
      Wunsch

      They might look tacky, but they’re actually sensible. They allow the screen to be up high, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road quite as much to follow the nav, etc. Once you get used to them, you’ll find that a screen further down feels very distracting. And the other thing they allow is exactly the thing they did with this Altima: a lower overall dash, to make the car feel roomier and more open.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        The screen in my 2017 Escape is built into a housing and sits just as high in the dash. So no, it doesn’t have to look like a fake tablet sticking out of the dash to still be in sight.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I’m admittedly a curmudgeon, but I fail to understand how the presence of a system or systems that “reduce driver workload” is a feature not a bug. It’s generally agreed that under-engaged humans quickly get bored and either amuse themselves doing something else or fall asleep. Until there’s a system that can truly and safely drive the car itself, I think this is a dangerous device.

    I admit that the drivers of the 1950s and 1960s cars were “over worked” what with manual transmissions, non-power steering, non-power brakes with a tendency to lock up if applied to aggressively at speed, and vacuum operated windshield wipers that would stop working on steep hills when engine vacuum was too low. But these issues all have been resolved.

    Expecting the driver to keep the car on the road and to adjust speed relative to the vehicles in front is not, in my opinion, an “excessive driver workload.” If it is, that driver should be taking the bus.

    So, some of the “improvements” are not, IHMO. Others are generally unnecessary (AWD) if not harmful in encouraging drivers in semi-snow country to believe it’s not necessary to have a set of true snow tires. And the trick engine sounds like an hourly-rate mechanic’s retirement fund.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Since when it staying in your lane so darn DIFFICULT that it requires some computerized helper? We all know the real reason this tech was invented is because everyone is on their phones which causes them to drift into other lanes. About the only “assistant” I would like when it comes to driving is radar cruise (for long trips) plus some kind of stop-short / avoidance feature where the brakes are applied when the fool in front of you with no brake lights or ability to use turn signals or mirrors suddenly decides this is his/her exit.

      Good looking car especially the interior. I still hate the random plastic bit that gives the false “floating roof” look. How (and why) did that catch on?

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        I’ve made it to 31 years of driving without ‘RADAR cruise’ and will hopefully make it another 31 years without same. My right foot easily copes with the task of not running into the car in front of me on the highway almost like I was actually, you know, driving. i.e. Two relaxed hands on the wheel; constant S.A.; and listening to and feeling the vehicle as one trundles along the road. Most issues that crop up whilst driving can be prevented by actually DRIVING.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Let’s see if the turbo 4 + AWD is faster than the Maxima…

    Maxima = (X_X) RIP

    • 0 avatar

      Nope! Base engine only for AWD, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Even though they don’t offer AWD with the larger engine, I think this is pretty much curtains for the Maxima. The two cars are soooo close in size already, this Altima takes all the Maxima’s good looks and improves on them, for less money. Not to mention, the Altima may be faster in 0-60 and 1/4 mile than the Max as I think it may have a few more torques than the current Maxima and all the torque most likely comes on like a fire hose at low RPM’s. Maxima’s peak torque probably doesn’t his until about 5k RPMS. The Altima will likely be a few pounds lighter as a rule.

      I am guessing Maxima is reaching around trying to pull the knife out if its back right now. “Et tu, Altima?”

      • 0 avatar
        NTGD

        Maxima should be used to it by now, this is pretty much what has happened every generation since the Altima became a midsize that shares a platform with the Maxima. New Maxima is released its spiffy, then a year or two later and new Altima comes along that makes the Maxima seemed dated, then a few years later a new Maxima is released and….I’m amazed the Maxima has survived this long.

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          Yeah, but the Altima never looks quite as good as the Maxima in years past. I think this looks better. The only saving grace is you cant get both the turbo and AWD in the same package….yet.

          Now the next gen Maxima just needs to come out with turbo V6 and AWD to differentiate itself :) ….and a manual transmission too while I’m dreaming.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Inside looks like a Hyundai. Bust anyways, do they finally include folding outside mirrors on a base model? Or is it still the stiffies?

  • avatar
    gtem

    Looks good on the outside, I’ll never warm to the tacked-on-tablet look of the dash (rest of it looks clean and nice).

    I bemoan the loss of the VQ35, although I’m sure the Jatco CVT is breathing a sigh of relief lol. I think a lightly used Altima V6 is just about the most cost effective way of getting a freaky-fast stoplight-champ commuter (just dump it before it hits 100k miles). Adding AWD was an unexpected but I think smart move.

    • 0 avatar

      The take rate was so low on the V6, it just makes sense to get rid of it. It’s a large economy car at heart, and you don’t need a big engine for that mission.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The last Altima 3.6 SR that I saw was being driven by a priest. That made me lol a little.

        • 0 avatar

          3.5 Show Repentance

        • 0 avatar
          cimarron typeR

          One of my colleagues who has an excellent car history(split window vette, 2002tii etc back in the day) traded in his 330xi for a v6 Altima, and has a very pleasant ownership experience, not a single mechanical issue , over 30mpg, with NA big six motor with his long commute
          Sad to see the VQ phased out. At least the Infiniti gets a couple of turbos to keep it viable

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Ya-but I saw it as a more closely related successor to Maximas of yore before they got really fat and overstyled (’04+). Someone trading in a rusty early 2000s VQ Max might have gotten sticker shock on a new one and found it basically unrecognizable from what they used to drive, and right there on the lot is a cheaper Altima with the engine they’ve come to enjoy. I don’t know how grounded in reality my hypothetical scenario is there lol but that’s how it goes down in my head.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m sure this happened in real life!

          …two times.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            More realistic scenario:

            Rusty Maxima limps into the dealership barely running on 4 cylinders (failed coils and plugged up cats)

            Salesman: how about this nice Sentra with fabric protection and nitrogen in the tires!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Nitrogen IS the world’s most expensive gas.

            Meanwhile, there’s a Honda store in my area that’s trying to charge over sticker for Accords for that nonsense, and Tru-Kote, plus whatever other nonsense they can find. Some dealers of Japanese makes just can’t handle the fact that we’re not in the ’80s anymore.

            By the way, if we’re into cheap stoplight warriors right off the Drive Time lot, a Pentastar-equipped Chrysler 200 has to make the list.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            FreedMike oh for sure. Anything Pentastar equipped (which unfortunately has full overlap on the Venn diagram of being found at a BHPH lot jut a few years from new) makes the list. I had a rental Journey to drive all the way out to Iowa a few weeks ago, honestly they are not bad cars to drive. Cushy ride and tons of power.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Rental car companies, rejoice! Followed by DriveTime, DriversSelect, Carmax, etc., a couple years later.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      it could be the Fusion becomes the fleet rental car of choice because Ford isn’t putting a dime into a product they probably make little money on.

      – it looks increasingly that the Fusion will share the fate of the Taurus in that respect

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Lexus GS from the back, typical Nissan face, interior designed by somebody at Honda (not a bad thing)… so what happens to the Maxima now?

    Like the aforementioned GS, the Max might not be long for the world.

  • avatar
    derekson

    AWD only on the base engine is a very odd decision.

    • 0 avatar

      Tells me the uplevel engine isn’t ready for AWD yet.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        Or maybe the AWD system is from the Rogue and has a torque limit?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I don’t think that’s true, because the ‘19 QX50 has the same basic engine and an AWD option.

        I think, as you said below, that Nissan is trying to keep from completely upstaging the Maxima (as even a base Maxima is well-equipped).

        • 0 avatar

          For some reason I was thinking this was a slightly different 2.0t. But if it’s the Mercedes-Infiniti one, man is it getting a lot of usage.

          • 0 avatar
            NTGD

            The 2.0t in the QX50 is not the same as the Mercedes engine in QX30, this engine is purely Nissan as far as I know. But newsroom specs show both the new Altima and QX50 with the KR20DDET.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Right. They both have the variable-compression Nissan 2.0T. But the QX50 includes an AWD application, so there’s no mechanical reason the Altima couldn’t as well.

            Neither one has the Mercedes-Benz engine.

            I’m curious to see what the variable-compression engine will be like in a longitude application, as both the Altima and QX50 are transverse-engined.

  • avatar

    Interesting, it’s certainly a style improvement over the old one. The interior looks more cohesive (still on the cheap side), and the added Maxima cues (less parrot-like) to the exterior bring it a bit upmarket.

    The door handles on mixed planes of existence is a bad idea, and I hope this isn’t the start of a trend from them.

    The V6 going away was only logical – and now that leaves their only V6 sedan as the Maxima, which I suspect is not long for this world at all. I’ve been calling for AWD in the Maxima as a differentiation – but maybe they heard me wrong.

    This leaves two possibilities, I think.

    1) The Maxima goes away, and they give you the turbo engine with AWD in the top spec Altima after that point. New MX trim level, for example.

    2) The Maxima gets a refresh/new generation, and the turbo four and AWD. This option seems less likely.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Interior looks dated already. Looking forward to the 2024 Altima.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Let’s see…if you were chased off by the garbage CVTs of the 2007-2012 generation, would the continued use of CVTs, the addition of DI, and the unproven ridiculous complexity of the variable compression engine instill enough confidence to return to the brand?

    No. No, it would not. And this car isn’t interesting enough to lease.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    A decent effort and better than the new weird looking Camry. The Accord is still the best of the 3 by a long shot but this would come in second place as long as it’s handling and ride are good and the little things like trunk space and MPG and interior storage are well thought out.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This would be the first stateside AWD Nissan sedan since… ever, I think (not counting Infiniti here).

  • avatar
    thornmark

    >>but over a quarter-million buyers did drive off in a new Altima last year.<<

    not really – fleets are not individual buyers

  • avatar
    JW9000

    “Hey, what can we add that will make the dash look like a hamfisted $20 mod?”

    FFS, can this irritating trend of the glued on infotainment screen please die a quick and painful death?

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      +gazillion.. the worst design cue I have ever seen and everyone is doing it.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        At least on the Accord, a third of it is integrated with the dash!

        This one could be yanked off the dash in one piece, just as on the Mazda 6 that started this trend, following Mercedes-Benz.

        (At least on this car, I can get an autodimming mirror that doesn’t resemble the mouth of a bucktoothed, demonic clown! And, nice to see that, in the powertrain department, Nissan has their heads shoved up the same place as Honda!)

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      ..but, but, but..CONNECTIVITY! Who gives a rat’s behind about driving dynamics, as long as you have a big, honkin’ screen unceremoniously grafted to your dashboard?

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    These will soon be pulling up next to me a red lights, engines revving, guys with backwards baseball caps breathing through their mouths. Then they will become smaller and smaller in the rear view of my R/T.

  • avatar
    here4aSammich

    Not bad looking, as pictured. But lets see it in rental car spec, complete with cheap looking wheel covers. Thats how most of us will see it in the real world…

  • avatar
    dror

    Looks can be deceiving.
    Once you drive an Altima off the rental lot, all positive thinking about it is out the window!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I don’t mind them as rentals. They have all the refinement of Tupperware, but they have a lot of room and get amazing fuel economy when driven gently.

      But I’m too much of a snob to buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      mchan1

      The Nissan Altima isn’t a bad car, just avoid the base models and Not for auto enthusiasts but is meant as a cruiser particularly those who commute.
      The car is roomy and relatively fuel efficient, except during the winter when fuel efficiency takes a hard nose dive!

  • avatar
    fireballs76

    Good looking sedan, unfortunately no more V6 means I’m on my last Altima lease….3 and out. I’m just not a fan of these smaller & smaller engines that are everywhere nowadays. I joke with coworkers & their 2.7 liter F150’s that my Nissan Altima 3.5 has a bigger engine than their full size truck. I also have a Ram with a Hemi. Do I need the bigger engine…no. But my thoughts are if they make it with that option, that’s how it was optimally designed to function.

    And yes there’s the Maxima but it just hasn’t grown on me yet with the current design & I too believe it will be gone soon

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Until Nissan quits CVT they are dead to me.

  • avatar

    Ford executives were apparently intimated by the new Altima and then decided to cancel the Fusion.


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