2020 Nissan Altima Review - Happy in the Middle

The Nissan Altima was once in the mix with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in the mid-size sedan conversation.

That’s no longer the case, and hasn’t been for some time.

Nissan is working hard to get back in that mix, and while the 2020 Altima takes the right strides forward, there’s still more work to be done.

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Speaking of Fleet Sales… There's Another Nissan Altima Hood Recall

The previous-generation Nissan Altima gained an unfavorable reputation as a rental lot darling (ask Corey about his Midwest comfort cruise), but another issue plagued the model: Hoods not staying shut when they’re supposed to.

Nissan issued recalls in 2014, 2015, and 2016 in an attempt to remedy a hood latch corrosion issue that caused some hoods to fly open unexpectedly while underway. Now, the automaker has decided to expand that recall to the entire generation, calling back 1.8 million vehicles for a fix it hasn’t yet devised.

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Nissan Looks to Stem the Flow in Japan, Eyes Production Changes in America

Still sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic in North America and suffering from supply chain and demand issues in its Japanese home base, Nissan is prepared to stem domestic output by 70 percent in May, Reuters reports.

The unconfirmed production cut won’t be a single-month affair, either. On this side of the Pacific, it seems Nissan brass want birds of a feather to flock together, with possible changes incoming at the automaker’s two American vehicle assembly plants.

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AWD-only Nissan Altima, Not Surprisingly, Isn't Setting Sales Charts on Fire in Canada

The new-for-2019 Nissan Altima, arriving in the fall of 2018, marked a significant departure from the previous model. For starters, there was no V6 on offer; a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with variable compression technology set up shop as the uplevel option. Also different was the appearance of all-wheel drive.

In Chris’ review of an attractive AWD Altima, he made note of Nissan’s enthusiasm for the technology, with the automaker’s U.S. brass claiming a significant take rate for Altimas with four driven wheels. That may be true in the U.S., but how does a traditionally front-drive model fare when it’s only available in AWD? Canada has the answer.

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2020 Nissan Altima AWD Review - The 'Not a Rental' Review

A few years ago, the family and I rented a car and drove to a national park, just like thousands of others do every year. After a few hours of hiking and sightseeing, we found a restaurant in the park for lunch. Our rental that day? A silver Nissan Altima. Here’s the weird part: there were eight more silver Altimas parked side-by-side, all with minor trim differences and stickers from different rental agencies.

It was genuinely weird.

TTAC has a long history of reviewing cars from rental agencies – initially as a ward against potential influence from the automakers, and occasionally to review cars we don’t normally see in media fleets. This isn’t one of those. This 2020 Nissan Altima AWD is a marked improvement from the rental counter – it’s no longer the ubiquitous scourge of indifferent travelers.

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2019 Nissan Altima First Drive - Take the Turbo

Midway through my drive in the 2019 Nissan Altima, I was ready to pronounce it a bit “meh” – decidedly improved over the previous-generation car, but lacking in verve. That’s been a Nissan hallmark of late – a conservatism has descended upon the brand, taking out of some of the sportier cachet it was once known for.

Instead, we’ve been getting good-looking vehicles that cruise the highway just fine but lack a little bit of charm and character. This, from the brand that once called a large sedan a four-door sports car with a straight face?

My outlook changed a bit after we left lunch behind. Pulling out of the parking lot of one of California’s myriad beaches, I punched it to get up to speed. The acceleration from the 2.0-liter variable-compression turbocharged four-cylinder wasn’t life-changing or anything of the sort – we’re talking about a mid-size sedan, here, remember – but it was enough to make me remember, for the umpteenth time, that power cures a lot of ills.

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Two Countries Prepare to Launch Two Very Different Nissan Altimas

It’s the third high-profile midsize sedan launch in a year, and Nissan’s pretty confident that this — THIS — is the one that’s really going to turn the declining segment around. Or so U.S. chairman Denis Le Vot claim s. In our first drive review of the all-new 2019 Altima, scheduled for Friday morning, we’ll ponder if this revamped sedan and its revolutionary new engine makes for a worthy challenger to Toyota’s segment-leading Camry and the somewhat lagging Honda Accord.

Meanwhile, north of the border, Nissan Canada is busy preparing its own launch. We’ve discussed some of the similarities and glaring discrepancies between the two vehicle markets before, but for the 2019 Altima, the gap between the U.S. vehicle and Canadian one is vast. Maybe it has something to do with optimism vs. realism.

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Nissan's Sedan Optimism Comes at an Interesting Time

Just the other day, Steph wrote about Nissan executive Denis Le Vot’s optimism that sedans will rebound from the current doldrums. Only 30 percent of U.S. vehicle sales in August were passenger cars.

Le Vot cited market research suggesting Generation Z loves the body style, as well as interest rate growth that could drive younger buyers towards sedans, as opposed to pricier crossovers.

The Nissan North America chairman mentioned a revamp of Nissan’s “core sedans” by 2020. The first step in that direction involves the venerable Altima, the next generation of which was unveiled in New York earlier this year, adding all-wheel drive, a new available engine, and new tech.

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Another Sedan 'Savior'? The Optimism Pouring From Nissan's U.S. Chairman Is Bittersweet

In the lead-up to the current-generation Toyota Camry’s launch in late summer, 2017, company brass predicted this model would change things. This Camry, in addition to the new-for-2018 Honda Accord and redesigned 2019 Nissan Altima, would arrest the segment’s downward plunge, said Jack Hollis, Toyota’s U.S. VP of marketing. He predicted a sales increase in 2018.

Well, while the Camry is more than likely drawing more buyers from a shrinking pool, the segment has not grown in 2018. The sales surge that followed the 2018 Camry’s release didn’t last, with the model posting declining year-to-date sales starting in July.

It seems there’s a severe lack of optimism in the segment, and with good reason. But Nissan North America chairman Denis Le Vot isn’t having any of it. The decline stops riiiiight now, he predicts.

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2018 Nissan Altima SV Rental Review - Farewell, Thine Faithful Full-size

It seems like lately I’ve developed a habit of reviewing vehicles on the verge of being replaced by a brand new generation. And by habit, I mean one review. But it seemed fitting when the local Enterprise location handed me keys to a “Full Size” and it turned out to be the soon-to-depart, current-generation Nissan Altima.

With a new Altima already unveiled, promising more/better/faster everything, is there anything to miss about the outgoing model? After a week living with one, I can definitely say there might be.

Probably.

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Operation 'Get Noticed': Nissan Offering a Launch Edition 2019 Altima

Desperate times in the passenger car segment call for desperate publicity measures, so Nissan’s trying to make a splash ahead of the release of its next-generation 2019 Altima.

Among the brand’s conventional cars, the Altima’s 2018 sales slide (down 21.7 percent over the first four months of the year) is only topped by that of the larger Maxima (down 25.1 percent). Not altogether surprising, given the market and the older model’s age. However, now that there’s a fairly edgy replacement waiting in the wings, Nissan’s doing what it can to generate buzz ahead of the launch.

Enter the “Altima Edition ONE.”

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2019 Nissan Altima: Midsize Bag of Tricks

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.

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

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.

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So, Who's Winning the Midsize Sedan Battle?

In a shrinking segment increasingly dominated by two longstanding nameplates, the battle for sales supremacy is quickly resembling a U.S. election. Two main players, plus a handful of also-rans. (In Europe, this would be a very different — and probably quite confusing — affair.)

For all players in the U.S. midsize sedan market, it’s really a battle to hold on to market share, to keep sales from sliding further, as more and more customers look elsewhere for family transportation. Two Japanese offerings, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, loom over all other challengers. In November, one of these nameplates began putting some serious distance between it and its main competitor.

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QOTD: Which Model Deserved One More Generation?

We’ve asked you before about the particular brand you’d resurrect if given the power to bring just one back from the dead. A different Question of the Day also inquired which models trumped the previous generation by bringing fresh ideas and improvements to the redesign.

Today, we follow similar lines and ask which model was killed off too soon; which vehicle deserved one more generation.

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  • Namesakeone If you want a Thunderbird like your neighbor's 1990s model, this is not the car. This is a Fox-body car, which was produced as a Thunderbird from MY 1980 through 1988 (with styling revisions). The 1989-1997 car, like your neighbor's, was based on the much heavier (but with independent rear suspension) MN-15 chassis.
  • Inside Looking Out I watched only his Youtube channel. Had no idea that there is TV show too. But it is 8 years or more that I cut the cable and do not watch TV except of local Fox News. There is too much politics and brainwashing including ads on TV. But I am subscribed to CNBC Youtube channel.
  • Jeff S Just to think we are now down to basically 3 minivans the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna. I wonder how much longer those will last. Today's minivan has grown in size over the original minivans and isn't so mini anymore considering it is bigger than a lot of short wheel based full size vans from the 70s and 80s. Back in the 70s and 80s everything smaller was mini--mini skirt, mini fridge, mini car, and mini truck. Mini cars were actually subcompact cars and mini trucks were compact trucks. Funny how some words are so prevalent in a specific era and how they go away and are unheard of in the following decades.
  • Jeff S Isn't this the same van Mercury used for the Villager? I believe it was the 1s and 2nd generations of this Quest.
  • VoGhost I don't understand the author's point. Two of the top five selling vehicles globally are Teslas. We have great data on the Model 3 for the past 5 years. What specifically is mysterious about used car values?