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Nissan Altima upgrades, beefs up to handsome sedan
Solid build goes with handling prowess
Published Sunday, December 30, 2018 4:05 am
by Winfred Cross | For The Charlotte Post

The 2019 Nissan Altima is solidly built with driving and handling prowess.

Nissan’s Altima has always been popular, at least with buyers, even when it felt a little flimsy with those doors that closed with a ting instead of a thud.

The doors certainly close with a thud now. The all-new Altima is solidly built with the kind of driving and handling prowess everyone will like.

The new Altima looks a lot like its big sister Maxima, which is one of the best-looking sedans on the road today. Nissan’s corporate grille  – smoke grey on my SR – is present and gives the Altima a handsome, wide stance. The sharp creases on the fenders are dramatic and the rear end has a neatly finished look.

The interior is a big improvement but stops well short of the Maxima’s sleek interior. I get it, though. Why offer something that nice on something that’s thousands less? There would be no need for a Maxima.

I do like the interior. One of the first things you notice is how roomy the cabin looks. The dash is sleek, almost minimalist. Yes, there is a touch screen to control infotainment and other functions, but it looks to float out of the dash. That’s a nice touch.

There are two big things that stand out in the interior – the seats. Yes, these front seats are some of the best in the business. Each wraps you in a cocoon of comfort and support that rivals some more expensive cars. If you want to drive aggressively the seats offer great support. If you are simply cruising on open highway the seats are just plain comfortable.

Speaking of driving, the Altima offers much better acceleration and handling than before. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 188 horsepower and 180 pounds-feet of torque. It’s a good engine that has a nice, flat torque curve, but I’d like to try the turbo. This beast puts out 237 horses with 267 pounds-feet of torque.

The standard engine makes the Altima feel quick. It makes an interesting sound, almost as if it’s growling. The transmission is continuously variable and on the SR comes standard with paddle shifters. It’s a good engine but I would love more power. The great news is that you can get 39 miles per gallon on the highway, 28 mpg in the city. These are strong numbers for a midsize sedan.

The Altima’s driving dynamics are also improved. Intelligent ride control and intelligent trace control help the driver feel more confident. Ride control will even smooth out bumps by giving a bit of pressure on the brakes when going over bumps. Trace control keeps the car centered in a lane. That aside, the upgraded suspension and steering are doing much of the work. Steering is nicely weighted and the rear independent suspension keeps the car firmly planted. It’s sporty but not quite the sports sedan. If this had the turbo engine, well, that’s a different story.

The Altima SR comes with a number of standard features which include leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, blinds spot warning, intelligent forward collision, eight-way power driver’s seat, remote start, rear cross traffic alert, cruise control,19-inch alloy wheels, seven-inch touch screen, backup camera, steering wheel audio switches and keyless entry. That comes at a base price of $25,100.

My test SR had an optional sunroof, heated mirrors and front seats, rear spoiler and splashguards. With destination, the as-tested price was $27,665.

The Altima feels like a bargain at this price. I want to drive the vehicle with a turbo engine to see how much more the suspension can handle. As it sits, this Altima is a well-done sedan that can hold its own with the direct competition. Nissan has another winner.

Email Winfred Cross at: cross@alldaytech.com.


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