We're spending 12 months with this Nissan Altima, reviewing the full ownership experience with ongoing updates.

 

Lane-Keep Finesse 

by Micah Muzio on July 22, 2019

Price: $32,930 | Price yours 
Current Odometer: 1,836 miles 
Latest MPG: 23.82 mpg 
Lifetime MPG: 24.90 mpg 
Maintenance/Service Costs: $0 
Days out of Service: 0

Lane-Keeping Assist is a technology that enables a vehicle to recognize when it has departed its lane, typically during a moment of inattention, and automatically steer itself back into the proper lane. Lots of cars offer this technology but not all systems are equal. Having experienced the lane keeping abilities of Kelley Blue Book’s 2019 Nissan Altima, I think it’s one of the best…with one caveat. 

What makes one Lane-Keeping Assist system better than another? Simply put, it’s finesse. I recently drove the new 2020 BMW X5 SUV. When it detected a lane departure the system initiated an aggressive steering input that, even though I’ve used these systems countless times, totally alarmed me. Meanwhile, some lesser systems react to a lane departure by steering blindly toward the opposite side of the lane, inviting a second departure. 

In my view, the best Lane-Keeping Assist systems intervene with gentle yet confident steering while smoothly guiding the vehicle to the center of the lane. Sounds logical, right? That’s the exact behavior I witnessed from our 2019 Altima sedan. Crossing the lane markers at freeway speeds invoked a warning tone and a vibration through the steering wheel accompanied by smooth, rational steering to the center of the lane. In other words, finesse.

As hinted earlier, there is a caveat for the Altima’s Lane-Keeping Assist. In my estimation, 45 miles per hour on well-marked city streets should be plenty quick for our Altima to identify its own lane but at these speeds the system’s willingness to activate was inconsistent. No sweat. We’ve got a year to suss out the quirks of our car’s driver- assist features. In fact, our Altima’s lane-keep abilities are merely one aspect of Nissan’s broader Intelligent Mobility suite of driver-assist features. As we explore the 2019 Altima’s driver-assist tech, we will share its strengths and shortcomings. Stay tuned. 

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Wonky Trim?

by Micah Muzio on July 8, 2019

Price: $32,930 | Price yours
Current Odometer: 1,798 miles
Latest MPG: 23.82 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 24.90 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $0
Days out of Service: 0

A casual observer might not notice but something popped out to me when driving Kelley Blue Book’s long-term Nissan Altima. And I mean, literally popped out! Two pieces of trim on the passenger’s side dash didn’t look right. A closer inspection revealed some slight wonkiness.

First, there’s a small plastic vent that directs air toward the window for defrosting purposes. It isn’t sitting quite flush. The gap is subtle but when compared to the matching vent on the driver’s side, something is clearly amiss. Meanwhile, near that vent sits a speaker grate for our 2019 Altima’s 9-speaker Bose audio system. In similar fashion, one edge of that speaker grate is raised where it should be sitting flush with the surround dash surface.

In the big scheme of things these are minor complaints. The car functions just fine despite a little lightly misaligned plastic. Then again, I know folks who would absolutely obsess over these kinds of imperfections. And why not, our Altima’s $33,000 MSRP is real money. If I’d personally paid for this particular Altima sedan, no, I would not run to the dealer screaming for a fix. But at its next service appointment, yeah, this’ll be a topic of conversation.   

 

Welcome to KBB: 2019 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL AWD

by Andy Bornhop on June 24, 2019

 

  • Price: $32,930 | Price yours
  • Powertrain: 182-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • All-wheel drive
  • EPA fuel economy: 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway

 

Those of us with good memories will recall that the first Nissan Altimas dating back to 1992 and 1993 were compact little sedans called “Stanza Altimas,” with subtle trunk badging reflecting that fact. The Stanza part of the name, though, soon got dropped, and the Altima went on to become a huge sales success for Nissan.

Just how huge?

Consider this: Nissan, over the last 25 years, has sold more than 5.6 million Altimas, which are built in the U.S. and effectively bridge the gap between the Sentra and Maxima.

For 2019, an all-new sixth-generation Nissan Altima proves that sedans are not dead. And we’re happy to report that Kelley Blue Book has arranged a long-term loan of a 2019 Altima to give our readers a sense of what it’s like to live with this new Nissan sedan for a year.

Our new Altima: the particulars

Our long-term 2019 Nissan Altima is a midlevel 2.5 SL with all-wheel drive, the first time AWD has been available on any Nissan sedan in the U.S. The AWD system, which adds about 120 pounds to the weight of the Altima, works like a fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive system much of the time, but it can send as much as 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels whenever it senses the front wheels are scrambling for traction.

With its Scarlet Ember exterior paint, light-colored leather interior, edgy exterior lines and 17-inch alloy wheels, our new Nissan long-termer is a sharp-looking car, a 5-seat sedan with an MSRP of $32,930 (plus a destination fee of $895). We’ve already noticed how the Scarlett Ember paint, a $395 option, changes its hue in differing light conditions.

As a midlevel 2.5 SL model, our Altima is powered by Nissan’s naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that sends 182 horsepower to the wheels via an Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Although it’s still a 2.5-liter as in the previous Altima, this direct-injected engine is comprised of 80 percent new or redesigned parts.

The 2.5 SL is well equipped. Standard comfort and convenience items include a power moonroof, a Bose sound system with 9 speakers, heated power front seats, a heated steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control. It also has remote engine start and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat that will allow us to pick up some 2x4s at our local Home Depot.

ProPILOT Assist

More significantly, KBB’s new long-term Altima is equipped with Nissan ProPILOT Assist, a technology that’s a steppingstone to an autonomous driving future. ProPILOT Assist is said to reduce the hassle of stop-and-go driving on single-lane highways by automatically controlling the Altima’s acceleration, braking and steering, but only when drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel.

While we look forward to testing (and reporting on) the efficacy of ProPILOT Assist, we relish the idea of spending a lot of quality time in our new Altima, whose comfortable interior features an  8-inch touch screen and two pairs of USB ports (one set in front, one in back), plus NissanConnect, an infotainment system that includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a navigation system, XM satellite radio and Bluetooth streaming audio. Traffic sign recognition, which displays the speed limit of the road you’re driving on, also is standard, along with a hands-free text messaging assistant.

Safety and Security

On the safety and security front, our new 2019 Nissan Altima SL is similarly well equipped. In addition to a raft of airbags (10, to be exact), this Canton, Mississippi-built Nissan sedan boasts automatic emergency braking (with pedestrian protection), forward collision warning, rear automatic braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert as standard. Lane-departure warning also is standard, along with intelligent lane assist, high-beam assist and a driver alertness monitor. While we’re a bit disappointed that our new long-term Altima is not equipped with Nissan’s excellent Intelligent Around View Monitor (which makes backing up in tight parking so much easier and safer), it’s by no means a deal-breaker.

Key specifications/features

Price: $32,930
Engine: 2.5-liter 4 cylinder
Horsepower: 182 at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 178 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm
Transmission: Xtronic CVT
Power moonroof
Leather-appointed interior
Heated front seats and steering wheel
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Bose stereo with 9 speakers
Sirius satellite radio
ProPILOT Assist
Active cruise control
Automatic emergency braking
Steering Assist
NissanConnect
Satellite navigation
8-inch color touch screen
Blind-spot warning
Rear cross-traffic alert
17-inch alloy wheels
LED headlamps and foglamps
Curb weight: 3,423 pounds
EPA fuel economy:  26 mpg City/36 mpg Highway/30 mpg Combined

Looking ahead

In the coming year, our KBB team plans to share our experiences with the Altima and answer questions such as these along the way: Is the Altima still an attractively priced midsize sedan with a spacious back seat and a huge trunk? How does the AWD system affect the Altima in everyday use? How will our taller staffers fit inside, given the Altima’s sunroof? Is this Nissan fun to drive, or is it more of an efficient appliance? And lastly: Should we have ordered our Altima with the new VC-Turbo powerplant (which replaces the V6 in the Altima lineup) instead of the 2.5?

Clearly, there’s much to be answered here, so we better stop writing and start driving our new long-term Nissan Altima right away. Check back for regular updates. 

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