Nissan's Next-gen Altima Is Just Weeks Away, So Here's a Preview

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The early-to-mid 2000s wasn’t an era of great automobile design. Frankly, most automakers should be ashamed of themselves. However, among all of the Tauruses and Malibus and bloated Accords, one midsize, low-priced sedan stood out from its peers: the Nissan Altima of 2002, which propelled the former also-ran from visual dud to eye candy stud.

The Altima’s clean, dignified design made buyers stop and look, propelling sales to new heights. Even a decade-and-a-half later, it’s still a good-looking car that — rust aside — aged well. Unfortunately, rounded, forgettable styling later drained some of the model’s appeal.

As sales of all midsize cars fall, the Altima included, Nissan hopes a radical redesign can slow the descent.

Adopting the styling cues of last year’s Vmotion 2.0 concept, the next-generation Altima bows at the New York International Auto Show later this month. Already, you’ve noticed similarities to existing models, including the Maxima and Leaf, but the design sketch also reveals a bulkier athleticism. The grille drops lower; creases are sharper. It has the profile of a rear-drive car, without the rear-drive.

We knew when it debuted that the Vmotion 2.0 concept previewed the 2019 Altima, and this sketch confirms it. Still, some of the spy photos floating around the internet tell us the production model won’t be quite as adventurous as the vehicle you see above. Hardly a shock.

Details of the Altima’s powertrain will have to wait until the March 28th unveiling, but it’s likely the 2.5-liter four-cylinder will stage a reappearance at the bottom of the trim ladder. The existing Altima is one of the few midsizers still available with a V6 upgrade, so, unless Nissan has a potent 2.0-liter turbo waiting in the wings, it’s a good bet we’ll see the 3.5-liter return, too. As for transmissions, Nissan shows no signs of moving away from CVT technology.

Like many midsize sedans in the U.S., the Altima’s high point came in 2014, with sales falling every year since. Volume dropped 17 percent in 2017 from the year before. In February, 25.8 percent fewer American buyers took home an Altima compared to the same month in 2017.

[Image: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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2 of 29 comments
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.