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Nissan Altima: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/5/2018 Motor Trend Staff

WE LIKE ProPilot Assist system, good equipment levels on base car

WE DON'T LIKE Lifeless chassis, noisy engine and suspension, dull CVT

The Altima's exterior design walks a fine line between edgy and parody. It mostly carries it off, though Chris Theodore dubbed it "a watered-down version of the concept car." That said, the grille execution is the most emphatic take yet on the Nissan bucktooth graphic and gives the Altima a stronger road presence than its predecessor.

2019-Nissan-Altima-Platinum-VC-Turbo-Edition-One-rear-three-quarter.jpg © Motor Trend Staff 2019-Nissan-Altima-Platinum-VC-Turbo-Edition-One-rear-three-quarter.jpg

The interior is relatively generic 21st century Japanese, but some of the materials choices, notably the fabric on the rear of the front seats, betray obvious cost-cutting.

This is the first Altima available with all-wheel drive, but the system can only be ordered with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, so it doesn't make the car any more entertaining to drive. In the Altima, AWD is more about all-weather traction than performance—which feels more leaden than the test numbers suggest. Nissan's revolutionary VC-T variable-compression engine seems more at home in the Altima than it does in the Infiniti QX50; it delivers decent thrust and drivability, but the CVT transmission sucks the life out of it.

The chassis is lifeless and slow to respond to driver inputs, and it doesn't even deliver decent ride quality and refinement by way of compensation. The Honda Accord leaves the Altima in its wake, but value-seeking buyers (and rental fleets) will love the Nissan's standard equipment levels. But beware, pricing climbs rapidly.

"I was really hoping for some newfound sophistication in this generation of Altima," Chris Walton said. "It looks better and has the new variable-compression engine, and the ProPilot Assist system is highly effective. But the doors still sound hollow, the suspension's impact harshness is deplorable, and the price isn't competitive."


• 2019 Car of the Year introduction
• Buick Regal
• Ford Mustang
• Ford Transit Connect
• Honda Clarity
• Hyundai Accent
• Hyundai Elantra
• Kia Forte
• Lexus ES
• Lexus LS
• Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
• Nissan Altima
• Toyota Avalon
• Toyota Corolla Hatchback
• Volkswagen Jetta

    2019-Nissan-Altima-Platinum-VC-Turbo-Edition-One-rear-three-quarter-in-motion.jpg © Motor Trend Staff 2019-Nissan-Altima-Platinum-VC-Turbo-Edition-One-rear-three-quarter-in-motion.jpg
    2019 Nissan AltimaSV AWDPlatinum VC-Turbo Edition One
    Base Price/As tested $30,175/$30,315$36,645/$36,645
    Power (SAE net) 188 hp @ 6,000 rpm248 hp @ 5,600 rpm
    Torque (SAE net) 180 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
    Accel, 0-60 mph 7.4 sec6.1 sec
    Quarter-mile 15.7 sec @ 90.2 mph14.6 sec @ 97.4 mph
    Braking, 60-0 mph 119 ft118 ft
    Lateral Acceleration 0.84 g (avg)0.86 g (avg)
    MT Figure Eight 27.7 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)26.3 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)
    EPA City/Hwy/Comb 26/36/30 mpg25/34/29 mpg
    Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedanFront-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
    Engine/Transmission 2.5L DOHC 16-valve I-4/Cont variable auto2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/Cont variable auto
    Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 3,412 lb (59/41%)3,441 lb (61/39%)
    Wheelbase 111.2 in111.2 in
    Length x Width x Height 192.9 x 72.9 x 57.3 in192.9 x 72.9 x 56.9 in
    Energy Cons, City/Hwy 130/94 kW-hrs/100 miles135/99 kW-hrs/100 miles
    CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.65 lb/mile0.68 lb/mile
    2019-Nissan-Altima-Platinum-VC-Turbo-Edition-One-front-three-quarter-in-motion.jpg © Motor Trend Staff 2019-Nissan-Altima-Platinum-VC-Turbo-Edition-One-front-three-quarter-in-motion.jpg

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