by: Mike Ginsca,
The Nissan Altima started life in 1992 as a compact car but over the decades it has grown quite a bit. Now in it’s 6th generation, the 2019 Nissan Altima is, as near as makes no difference, the same size as the Nissan Maxima. On top of that, it now comes standard with All-Wheel-Drive so getting stuck in snow is a thing of the past.
Engine – The Canadian market only has one engine to choose from, a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that produces 182hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. The American market also has a 2.0L Variable Compression turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 248hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Why we don’t get that engine here? I have no idea but hopefully in the next year we will.
Back to the 2.5L engine, it develops an adequate amount of power but it’s not as punchy as the 3.5L V6 of the old generation Altima. But on the other hand, this 2.5L engine is quite fuel efficient. It is rated for 9.3 L/100km in a city and 6.7L/100km on a highway. During my week with the Nissan Altima, I managed an average of 8.3L/100km which is not too bad.
Transmission – Like many other Nissan models, the Altima AWD is only available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In everyday driving conditions it feels like a traditional CVT, as in, it holds the engine’s rpms for ideal acceleration and fuel economy. Push the throttle a bit harder, and the transmission begins to simulate shift points. It’s not meant to be sporty so it’s completely fine for this car.
Braking – There’s nothing out of the ordinary with the way that the 2019 Nissan Altima stops. The brakes provide strong stopping power in emergency situations and emergency automatic braking is standard across all trim levels of the Altima.
Handling – The steering feel and sharpness has been improved over the previous generation Altima. It’s not a sports sedan but it feels a lot better than before. During my week with the Altima, it was hot and sunny so no real chance to test the new AWD system. Front-wheel-drive is not available in the Canadian market but it is in the U.S. market. Again, they seem to get more options than us Canadians.
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Ride Comfort – The suspension is tuned to absorb bumps and on that basis, it does a good job. Coupled with the soft Zero-gravity seats, the Nissan Altima is a comfortable daily cruiser.
Interior Space – As mentioned at the beginning, this new Altima is the same size as the Nissan Maxima. The wheelbase (distance between the center of the wheels) is actually bigger than the Maxima and as a result, you have a little bit more space in the Altima. There’s about an inch more leg room in the Altima but there’s a bit more head room in the Maxima with the dual-pane moonroof. Trunk space is larger in the Altima by about 31L over the Maxima.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The engine can be a bit buzzy at higher rpms and is particularly loud when you stomp on the throttle pedal. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a particularly throaty sound like the one in the Veloster N. The rest of the cabin though is well insulated from wind and road noise even at highway speeds.
Interior Design – Most of the interior design cues come from other current Nissan models so you immediately know you’re in a Nissan product. The engine start/stop button is located on the center console like on the Maxima and it too has a flat bottom steering wheel like its bigger brother. What’s a bit odd though is the choice of interior trims. The center console has nice looking wood but the door panels around the window controls, have a faux carbon fiber pattern. It just seems odd that Nissan wouldn’t have used the wood pattern there as well. Apart from that little nit-pick, the interior looks good and is easy to get accommodated to.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – Apart from the base S trim, the 2019 Nissan Altima comes fully loaded with all of the advanced safety features that are available on the market. I particularly like the adaptive cruise control on the Altima over other vehicles because it is much smoother than other manufacturers to reach the set speed.
This fully loaded Altima is equipped with every option available such as heated seats and steering wheel, navigation, surround view cameras, sunroof, and premium Bose stereo to name a few. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard features.
Exterior Design – The new Altima receives Nissan’s deep V grille but unlike other Nissan cars, it is the biggest in the line up. LED headlights are available on the SV and Platinum trims but not the base S trim. Around back though I personally don’t like the black outlines in the tail lights. Make it look very 2000. But thankfully if I’m driving the car, I don’t have to look at them.
The 2019 Nissan Altima starts at $27,998 CAD and this Platinum trim tops the price range at $34,998 CAD. It’s hard to say what the Altima competes against because other manufacturers offer two engines with their vehicles such as the Mazda 6 and Honda Accord. This Altima competes against those cars very well if you ignore the more powerful engines that those offer. But if you want a more powerful engine in the same size, you have to opt for the Maxima which is more expensive than the most expensive Mazda 6 and Honda Accord. I just hope that Nissan introduces the 2.0L variable compression engine in the Canadian market soon for a more accurate comparison.
Thank you to Nissan Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Nissan.ca
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Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.