By on September 28, 2018

2019 Nissan Altima

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.

(Read More…)

By on September 24, 2018

2019 Nissan Altima

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 claims. 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. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2018

2019 Nissan Altima

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.

(Read More…)

By on September 17, 2018

Image: Nissan

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. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2018

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.

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2018

Image: Nissan

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.” (Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

By on March 8, 2018

Image: Nissan

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. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2017

 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T - Image: Honda

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. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2017

1997 Honda PreludeWe’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.

(Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

2018 Nissan Altima white - Image: NissanBolstered in its fight against all-new editions of key rivals from Toyota and Honda with the standard fitment of automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, the 2018 Nissan Altima’s price rises by only $240 compared with the outgoing model.

The base 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 S rises a few ticks above $24K to $24,025, including destination and handling charges. The Altima continues with a 179-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to a continuously variable transmission.

Given the era in which we live, it’s not surprising to see a more significant price increase for the lone remaining V6 model — the sportier 3.5 SR is dead. (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry – Image: Toyota“When you get into next year and you look at 2018, I believe with these three products
and the excitement they bring back to that segment, I don’t see it falling anymore.”

– Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor Sales USA’s VP of marketing

U.S. sales of midsize cars tumbled by more than 250,000 units in 2016 even as new vehicle volume rose to record highs. The rate of decline was sharper than the decline experienced by the car sector at large. Only Chevrolet, with the all-new Malibu, and Subaru, with the relatively low-volume Legacy, sold more midsize cars in 2016 than in 2015.

Fleet sales excluded, retail data manifests a worsening of results as the year wore on. According to J.D. Power’s PIN December Industry Health Report, midsize car market share fell below 10 percent for the first time ever.

But Toyota USA’s marketing chief, Jack Hollis, believes 2017 could mark the end of the midsize decline, and 2018 sales of midsize cars could even begin to increase. (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

1992 Nissan Altima (public domain)

I had somewhat of a unique high school experience, in the sense that it was the most after-school special, stereotypical experience possible. I went to a suburban school with just the right amount of ethnic diversity — which is to say that even the black and Hispanic and Asian kids listened to Pearl Jam and wore Ralph Lauren.

When it came to our first cars, we didn’t just go down to the local dirt lot and buy something with our savings from fast food jobs. No, we were spoiled brats who were given sensible compact to mid-sized sedans by our parents. We didn’t lust after MK II GTIs or Geo Storms — no, we sat around the lunch table in 1994 and debated the merits of the fifth-gen Honda Accord, the basic but steady Ford Taurus, and the GOAT XV10 Toyota Camry, especially the blingy “American Edition.”

As for me, I had my heart set on the recently introduced Nissan Stanza Altima.

(Read More…)

By on August 18, 2016

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Canada (May 16, 2014) - An all-new Nissan Micra has returned to the Canadian landscape. This is a fun car, packed with details and more value than what is available in other small cars in the market. Its key attributes were on display in Montreal as the brand hosted a welcome-back event for the car., Image: Nissan Canada

Grits and poutine aren’t the only divisions betwixt us.

Celine Dion and two-year election campaigns aren’t the only factors that enable Europeans to tell us apart.

Catastrophic illness-induced bankruptcy and wait-time-fostering universal healthcare aren’t the only hallmarks of our unique approaches to public policy.

There are wildly divergent vehicular tastes between the United States and Canada, as well. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2016

2015 Toyota Camry XSE red

If your neighbor tells you they’re thinking of buying or leasing a new midsize sedan, you wouldn’t be crazy to assume that they’ve likely visited the local Toyota, Honda, and Nissan dealers.

Yet the majority of U.S. midsize car buyers do not, in fact, choose the Camry, Accord, or Altima.

Diversity wins. The dominator isn’t all-conquering.

(Read More…)

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