The Altima was just redesigned for 2019, and it's significantly different than its predecessor. First introduced in 1992, the midsize sedan slots in-between the larger Maxima and the Sentra in Nissan's car lineup. It's built at Nissan's assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The outgoing Altima is Nissan's third best-selling vehicle.
The brand new Altima offers snazzier looks and some very interesting powertrain options. All-wheel drive is now available, as is a technologically impressive VC-Turbo engine with variable compression for enhanced power and economy. We'll get to all of the new details and features below.
With this buyer's guide, Autoblog aims to help you make an educated decision about whether or not to buy the 2019 Nissan Altima. We'll touch on safety and reliability ratings, engine specs, horsepower, fuel economy ratings and pricing, and we'll conclude with a summary of Autoblog's most recent Altima test-drive.
Is the 2019 Nissan Altima safe?The car's immediate predecessor, the 2018 Altima, earned an overall five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency's top rating. NHTSA also gives the car five stars for frontal- and side-crash protection, and four of five stars for rollover crash protection. NHTSA has not rated the 2019 model but we expect the performance to remain largely the same or improve.
The 2019 Altima again gets the "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which puts vehicles through its own array of crash tests. It gave the Altima a "Good" rating in all of its crash test metrics, but only rated the headlight performance as "Acceptable". Compared to the 2018 model, the LATCH anchor ease of use rating improved from "Marginal" to "Good" in the 2019 model.
Be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you're researching, since ratings may differ for Altimas from other model years.
Is the Nissan Altima reliable?J.D. Power most recently evaluated the 2017 Altima but has not yet rated the 2019 model, although we expect it to have similar results. It gave the 2017 four of five stars ("better than most") for overall quality, five stars ("among the best") for overall performance and design, and three stars ("about average") for predicted reliability. The Altima won high marks for its powertrain, transmission, and features and accessories but less-than-stellar marks for certain mechanical issues with both the powertrain and the body and interior.
Autoblog, we should note, has raised some concerns with how J.D. Power weighs serious and less-serious reliability issues. You can read about that here.
There have been no recalls of the 2019 Altima reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
How much interior and cargo room does the Nissan Altima have?Nissan says the 2019 Altima provides as much as 39.2 inches of front and 38 of rear headroom, and 43.8 inches of front and 35.2 of rear legroom. Total cargo volume is 15.4 cubic feet.
Those head- and leg-room numbers are generally right in line with the non-hybrid 2018 Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, two key competitors in its segment, though the Accord offers more cargo volume at 16.7 cubic feet.
What are the Nissan Altima's engine specs and horsepower?While the 2018 Altima could be had with either a 3.5-liter V6 or a 2.5-liter inline-four, the new 2019 Altima drops the V6 for a technological marvel: the VC-Turbo. It's a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four that can vary its compression ratio mechanically from 8:1 all the way to 14:1. It produces 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque – less horsepower but more torque than the old V6, which made 270 and 251 respectively.
Nissan claims the 2.5-liter engine is 80 percent new or redesigned from the previous model. It makes 188 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, up a bit from the old engine's 179 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque.
The sole transmission option is Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable automatic.
Nissan has not announced an Altima Hybrid.
Does the 2019 Altima have all-wheel drive?Yes, but only on the 2.5-liter models. The VC-Turbo models are only available in front-wheel drive.
How fuel efficient is the 2019 Nissan Altima?Fuel economy has improved somewhat for the thriftiest Altima. The front-wheel drive 2.5L model now achieves 28 city, 39 highway, and 32 combined MPG in EPA tests. Choosing AWD reduces economy slightly, to 26 city, 36 highway, and 30 combined. The VC-Turbo option is slightly lower, rated at 25 city, 34 highway, and 29 combined. Selecting the sportier SR trim on the 2.5L models reduces economy a hair further.
How much does the Nissan Altima cost?The least expensive 2019 Altima is the 2.5 S FWD, starting at $24,645. Stepping up to all-wheel drive brings the 2.5 S to $25,945. The 2.0 VC-T SR starts at $30,045, and the most expensive Altima is the VC-T Limited Edition, which starts at $36,645.
Use Autoblog's Smart Car Buying program powered by TrueCar to search out competitive local pricing and savings on the 2019 Nissan Altima.
What does Autoblog think of the 2019 Nissan Altima?Autoblog recently drove the 2019 Altima, spending most of our time in the novel VC-Turbo SR model. We found it to be swift, and the VC-Turbo produced a sporty purr, but a hint of torque steer emerged under hard acceleration. Overall, it's a convincingly sporty entry in the segment, with a planted, predictable nature in corners. But some of our reviewers have taken issue with the Altima's unusual steering feel. The sporty SR trim begs for a manual transmission, but the CVT is competent. As our reviewer noted, when buyers unenthused by crossover options and seeking something with attitude go shopping, the Altima SR VC-T will be there waiting for them.