The Nissan Altima is a comfortable, sporty, tech-savvy midsize sedan, but the all-new-for-2019 model comes with new tricks up its sleeve. The new Altima has a new look, sporty attitude, two new engines, an impressive array of safety features and available of all-wheel drive, which provides newfound all-season appeal that neither the highly popular Honda Accord nor Toyota Camry can offer.
You'll Like The 2019 Nissan Altima If...
All trim levels of the Nissan Altima are comfortable and family-friendly, but this midsize sedan also has a sporty attitude. You take up that sportiness even more with the SR model, which has different suspension tuning, paddle shifters, and 19-inch wheels, and uses a 248-horsepower engine. Also, unlike most of its competitors, the 2019 Nissan Altima is available with all-wheel drive, a huge plus in the snowbelt.
You May Not Like The 2019 Nissan Altima If...
The Altima doesn’t offer a hybrid, so you’d have to look to the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Ford Fusion for that. Also, the Altima is a fine middle-of-the-road sedan, but there are sportier options – and more upscale options – in the segment.
New styling, improved driving dynamics, more safety features including a near-autonomous driver-assist system, and the availability of all-wheel drive. There are still two engines available, but the Altima’s standard 4-cylinder has been dramatically changed, and the V6 was replaced by an all-new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
The 2019 Nissan Altima’s redesigned interior has more upscale color schemes and nicer materials than in past models. The new infotainment system includes a standard 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, and handsfree text messaging. The features are easy to use: The screen, climate controls, and audio knobs are within easy reach. Also, USB and USB-C ports are available in both rows. The interior has plenty of room, but interestingly, the longer wheelbase and overall vehicle length that the new platform provides don’t translate into more passenger room. While front headroom is slightly better, rear headroom and front and rear legroom are down slightly.
The 2019 Altima is longer, lower and wider, and the new dimensions give the midsize sedan a hunkered-down stance. The new styling gives this Nissan chiseled lines and a smoother, sharper nose. The biggest styling difference: a new angular C-pillar design that’s reminiscent of the big-brother Maxima. The sporty SR gets LED headlights, a dark chrome grille, 19-inch wheels, black caps on the side mirrors, and body-color door handles.
We sampled three versions of the 2019 Nissan Altima, starting with the sporty SR trim level, which has different suspension tuning, paddle shifters and 19-inch wheels, and uses the 248-horse VC-T (Variable Compression Turbo) engine. Power comes on quickly and with ease, and response from a stop is excellent, but the VC-T engine sounds a bit unrefined. The ride is tuned slightly firmer in the SR, and handling is quite good – but not as good as in the segment-best Mazda6. Next up: the Altima Platinum Edition One, the only Altima to come standard with the VC-T engine. While the standard suspension’s ride was comfortable on an extended drive, it’s firmer than in other midsize sedans. Also noteworthy are the Altima’s seats, now with added bolstering. They are comfortable and supportive, and there were no feelings of fatigue or achiness after several hours behind the wheel. These are arguably the best seats you can get in a midsize sedan. Third up on our drive was the Altima with the base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which we expect to be the volume seller. It’s much quieter than the previous standard engine. Compared to the turbocharged powerplant, you can feel it work harder on grades and when passing other cars on the freeway, but it's got ample power around town and at highway speed. Providing decent power (188 horsepower) and highway fuel economy as good as 39 mpg, this engine will satisfy most drivers.
The 2019 Nissan Altima starts at less than $25,000 for the S and tops out over $36,000 for the limited-run Platinum Edition One, with SR, SV, SL and Platinum trims priced within that range. Only the SR, Platinum and Edition One are available with the VC-T. It’s a $4,500 option with the SR, $3,000 with the Platinum, and standard with the Edition One. All Altimas that are powered with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder are available with all-wheel drive, as a $1,350 option. The only option is the premium package. All prices include $895 destination charges. Pricing is competitive with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Nissan. As for the Altima's resale value, we expect it to be about average.
The new Nissan Altima comes with an impressive array of standard equipment. In addition to a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission, there’s remote engine start, safety items including automatic emergency braking, a rear-door alert, rear-view monitor, and a driver alertness feature. In the comfort and convenience arenas, there’s an 8-way power driver’s seat, plus an 8-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, and four USB charge ports.
In addition to the available turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive, there are plenty of other upgrades and options for the Altima. Comfort and convenience add-ons include heated front seats and steering wheel, 2-way driver-side power lumbar support, driver-side memory settings, a 4-way power front-passenger seat, leather seating, dual-zone climate control, a 9-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, and a moonroof. Exterior upgrades, such as LED fog lights, heated outside mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators, and 19-inch wheels are options on higher trim levels. Safety systems include rear sonar parking sensors, an around-view monitor, ProPILOT Assist, and the Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced safety systems.
2.0-LITER VC-T ENGINE
Nissan’s new 4-cylinder engine offers V6-like power while improving fuel economy. The compression ratio changes as the situation calls for it, prioritizing power when you want it and fuel efficiency while you’re cruising. Nissan estimates the 2.0 VC-T's fuel-economy improvement over the previous V6 is three combined mpg, up from 26 to 29.
The Altima’s roster of available safety features expands to include ProPILOT Assist (which centers the Altima in the lane while keeping it a safe, consistent distance from the car ahead), plus Safety Shield 360 with rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and standard automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning.
Under the Hood
The 2019 Nissan Altima comes with a choice of 4-cylinder engines. The 2.5-liter engine, expected to be the volume seller, is the same size as the previous standard engine, but now uses direct injection, is quieter, and is more powerful, while also being more fuel efficient. It’s also the only engine available with the option of all-wheel drive. The second is the flagship engine, a 2.0-liter variable-compression turbo four that replaces the previous model’s V6. While the new engine has less horsepower than the V6 did, torque is higher (up 29 lb-ft to 280), and fuel economy improves as well. Both engines use a continuously variable automatic transmission.
188 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy (est.): 28/39 mpg (front-wheel drive), 26/36 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
248 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg
The Nissan Altima remains a comfortable, sporty, tech-savvy midsize sedan, but the all-new-for-2019 model comes with new tricks up its sleeve to face off against tough competition. Last year was a big year in the midsize sedan world, as the top two best-selling sedans, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, were completely redesigned. But 2019 is the Altima’s year, as the all-new Nissan arrives with a new look, sporty attitude, two new engines (both mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission), an impressive array of safety features and, for the first time, the availability of all-wheel drive (AWD). This newfound all-season appeal is something neither the Accord nor the Camry can offer.