The Altima features a greatly improved exterior design that makes it one of the best-looking sedans on the market. It features an aggressive design up front, and overall you will find the Altima to be more low to the ground and wide than previous iterations.
Once you head inside the Altima, the good news continues, as the materials used are high-end and among the best you’ll find in class. Seats are very comfortable, even on long rides, and both rows feature adequate legroom and headroom.
The Platinum trim Altima that I tested included 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheelsand also included interior accent lighting and memory settings on the driver’s seat. Base versions come with 16-inch steel wheels.
The Altima I tested included a 2.0-liter, variable compression turbo (VC-T) engine, paired with a CVT automatic transmission. Very few vehicles offer the innovative VC-T engine, which (as its name would suggest) varies the compression ratio to boost the sportiness of the drive while still offering eco-friendly fuel mileage numbers. Numbers on the powerplant were 248 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque.
In my experience the ride in the 2019 Altima was peppy and responsive, and handling was among best in class. This was a vehicle I definitely looked forward to driving, in large part thanks to the VC-T engine. For the record, that is not something I say often when driving a midsize sedan, as they tend to be more Point A-to-Point B cars than something thrilling.
The base engine option is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that offers 188 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque.
Front-wheel drive is standard on the 2019 Altima. But the big news is that the Altima is now offered with all-wheel drive at all trim levels, something few vehicles in this class can claim.
(One important note: the AWD system is only offered with the base engine, and can’t be paired with the VC-T option.)
The Altima is Nissan’s first AWD sedan, which may make a big difference as people cross-shop with the Altima with the other usual suspects (Among more than a half-dozen midsize sedan competitors, only Ford Fusion and Subaru Legacy offer AWD).
Nissan has plenty of tech and safety features to offer on the 2019 Altima, making it among best in class in this area.
The Platinum trim Altima I tested included a helpful Intelligent Around View Monitor.
Automated emergency braking and forward collision warning come standard.
All but the base model will get rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.
There’s an effective warning system that makes a loud vibration if you leave your lane. The noise is loud enough to make sure you stay on the straight path, so it does its job, but I found it is sometimes too sensitive. You are able to turn the systems off if they get to be too much (i.e. if you’re in a construction zone).
You also get a helpful reminder notice when you turn off the car to check the back seat for your belongings (or your kids, for that matter). There are also some tech features not found on many of its main rivals, such as remote start and Android Auto compatibility, as well as a pair of USB type-C ports.
Nissan’s a leader in the push toward autonomy, and their current semi-autonomous system offering is ProPilot Assist, which is standard on the top three trim levels of the Altima. The system combines adaptive cruise control (which slows you down if a vehicle moves in front of you) with the ability to help steer the vehicle back into its lane. It will bring your vehicle to a complete stop if needed.
Also offered on the top three trim levels are lane-departure warning and the helpful rear automated braking (good for backing out situations where a vehicle might appear suddenly).
Official fuel mileage numbers for the 2019 Altima with the VC-T engine were 25 city/34 highway/29 combined, which are very impressive numbers. In my time in the Altima, I was averaging 30 mpg.
If you go with the base engine, numbers are a strong 28 mpg city/39 highway in FWD, and 26 city/36 highway in AWD.
My Platinum trim test vehicle was just under $35,000 and near the top of the price range; Base price for the Altima starts about $24K. There are a handful of trim levels ranging from the base S, all the way up to Platinum.
For those looking for something a bit luxurious, a limited edition 2019 Altima called the Altima Edition ONE is available (starting price $35,750) that features leather-appointed seating, upgraded wheels, illuminated sill plates and three years of concierge service. This one is going directly after people who might buy a high-end Accord, and it offers a very tempting alternative.
There is lots to like about the new Altima, and its upgrades mean that it competes well even against top sellers like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, which are the brands it will be battling in the long term.
Nissan should be commended for continuing to throw down the gauntlet in segments where other automakers are scaling back, and sedan shoppers looking for a positive surprise in this segment would be wise to check out the 2019 Altima.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.