There’s some Infiniti in there, and we like it.
Nissan’s got a new family saloon in the 2019 Altima, which packs a sharp, trailblazing design, more advanced driver tech, and the promise of a better drive into one very desirable package. With more than a whiff of Infiniti detected, the new Altima made its debut at the New York International Auto Show, which is taking place in New York.
Under the skin there’s a new set of drivetrain options, a new platform, and some serious suspension engineering. This is also the very first Nissan saloon for the North American market to be offered with a turbocharged 4-pot engine, namely the same mill that we saw first on the Infiniti QX50, though no mention has been made of its variable-compression engine. Seems promising.
While the aesthetics of a car are open to opinion, we think that the new Altima is a pretty sharp looking thing. Nissan certainly hopes you think so too, as the face you see here will soon be rolled out across the Nissan saloon range. As such, you should familiarise yourself with the ginormous V-Motion grille up front, flanked by angular headlights with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights, pronounced wheel arches down the sides, framed by rather daring character lines.
We also quite like the design of the glasshouse of the Altima, which blends the traditional 3-box saloon design (favoured for practicality) with a fastback roofline (because it’s all about the style) rather beautifully. The supplied press photos also see the car shod in the largest of the wheels available, measuring 19-inches in diameter, while the rear bears resemblance to the rest of the current Nissan lineup.
The cabin is also a meaningful step in the right direction for the brand, featuring architecture and an overall aesthetic that is vastly different from Nissans of old. At the middle of it all is a new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, framed by shortcut buttons, that also rather usefully features Android and Apple smartphone mirroring out the box.
You’ll also have spotted the flat-bottommed steering wheel, lifted out of the new North American Qashqai (which they call the Rogue Sport, for some reason), sitting fore of a new set of driver instrumentation, which itself now features a larger supervision screen between the dials.
There’s now the inclusion of the brands’ Safety Shield technology here too, adding a raft of ADAS systems to the Altima range. Autonomous emergency braking (forwards and rearwards), lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert, and high-beam assistance all get lobbed onto the Altima. In addition to that, there’s also the offering of ‘ProPilot Assist’ for the first time, which handles accelerating, braking, and steering to keep the car going unperturbed on a single-lane on the motorway. However, for legal reasons, the system still requires the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times, ready to take over control at any given time.
Motive force comes from two petrol mills, one of which feature a turbocharger. The borin- sorry, the naturally-aspirated mill comes in the form of a new 2.5-litre lump with direct injection. Nissan claims that compared to the outgoing 4-pot of the same size, the new engine is smoother, quieter, and more efficient, though it has offered neither figures nor proof of its claims (we’ll have to drive it and see, we guess). This engine can be had with all-wheel drive too, the first time an all-four system has been offered for the Altima, undoubtedly increasing its all-weather usability by some margin.
The more exciting new powertrain option comes in the form of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol plant, which offers “near V6-level performance with 4-cylinder fuel economy.” It had best deliver on the former promise, as the new ‘VC-Turbo’ mill replaces the old 3.5-litre V6 that was renowned for its creamy smoothness. Once again, no figures were offered, but there were the usual noises made about improved economy, NVH levels, and so on.
Locally, the Nissan Altima was killed off from the lineup last year, turning Nissan on to an SUV-only company on our shores after having axed the smaller Pulsar earlier still (but they still have sports cars though). However, considering that the new Altima is better looking, better packaged, available with all-wheel drive, and arguably more desirable than it has ever been, perhaps this could be what’s needed to bring the nameplate back?
Be sure to stay tuned to CarShowroom as we bring you more updates as they come.