Class: Midsize Car
Miles Driven: 257
Fuel Used: 11.0 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 23.4 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 25/34/29 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Regular Gasoline
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $35,750 (not including $885 destination charge)
Options on test car: Premium paint ($395), splash guards ($205)
Price as tested: $37,235
The great: Pleasant, competent road manners; zingy turbocharged powertrain
The good: Good selection of technology and safety features; all-wheel drive is available (though not with the turbo engine)
The not so good: So-so passenger room and small-items storage space
Wait . . . did Nissan just name a car after a boy band?
We can’t say for sure if there are five choreographed crooners somewhere out there calling themselves Edition ONE, but there definitely is a 2019 Altima that answers to that name. It is the limited-production line-topper of Nissan’s redesigned family of midsize sedans. How limited? Let’s just say after the example Consumer Guide tested, that’s ONE down and 3899 to go.
The restyled Altima lends its new looks to a body that is 1.1 inches lower, one inch longer, and 0.9 inches wider than the one it replaces. Wheelbase grows by 1.9 inches. There are new engines and—perhaps most eye-opening of all—the added availability of all-wheel drive in a vehicle class where that is a rarity.
Only some of that applies to the Edition ONE, which is restricted to the turbocharged variable-compression 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and, thus, front-wheel drive. (AWD Altimas come with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four.) The car clocks in at $36,635 with delivery, which is $820 more than a turbo-engine Altima Platinum on which it is based. The extra outlay secures 19-inch alloy wheels with a dark-gray finish, rear spoiler, external ground lighting, illuminated kick plates, carpeted trunk mat, trunk net, Edition ONE carpeted floor mats, and Nissan Concierge Service with remote access to a live team of assistants through the standard NissanConnect Services system.
The Edition ONE comes about as loaded as a new-generation Altima can be. There are no packages for it (or for the Platinum for that matter), though the test car did have extra-cost Scarlet Ember paint and a set of factory-installed splash guards that nudged the full price to $37,235. Notable standard equipment runs to LED fog lamps and projector-beam headlights, body-color heated power mirrors, power moonroof, leather seats (heated in front with power adjusters and driver’s-seat memory), heated leather-wrapped steering wheel on a manual tilt/telescoping column, interior accent lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote engine start, and keyless entry and starting.
A 9-speaker Bose audio system belts out your favorite talk and tunes—including that delivered via standard satellite radio and Apple CarPlay-/Android Auto-enabled apps. Audio and navigation management is carried out—fairly easily—on an 8-inch touchscreen atop the center of the instrument panel. Additional nods to the connected world are voice-activated Siri Eyes Free/Google Assistant functionality, and twin illuminated USB charge ports ahead of the shifter and in the back of the center console. For a veneer of autonomous control in stop-and-go driving, there’s ProPILOT Assist with full-speed adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. Newly available rear automatic braking—which detects objects while the vehicle is in reverse and can automatically apply the brakes if necessary—joins forward emergency braking, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, rear cross-traffic alert, and headlight high-beam assist in Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of driving aids.
The VC-Turbo engine is rated at 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel (236 ponies and 267 lb-ft when burning regular). Internal linkages alter the attitude of the crankshaft which either lengthens or shortens the piston stroke and changes cylinder compression, depending on the needs for power or operational economy. After a brief instant of turbo lag, the engine reacts with snappy, linear acceleration from a standstill. It doesn’t run out of breath on the highway, and has good reserve passing power. The real surprise is that the powerplant does this while hooked to a continuously variable transmission. This one is quiet and responsive, even when a driver jumps on the gas for a power burst.
EPA estimates peg the new turbo Altima at 25 mpg in city driving, 34 on the highway, and 29 combined. This driver wasn’t that lucky. A stint of 172 miles with 60 percent city-style driving resulted in just 24.0 mpg.
The car actually is fairly fun to drive for more than its engine performance. Steering is pleasingly direct for predictable and accurate handling. Nissan has a couple of electronic tricks up its sleeve for enhancing vehicle dynamics: Intelligent Trace Control (ITC) and Active Ride Control (ARC). ITC is designed to brake each wheel individually to enable smooth steering through corners—say when exiting an expressway somewhat briskly like this reviewer did with less understeer than he expected. ATC applies the brakes and adjusts engine torque on bumpy roads to smooth out the ride.
There’s a low-slung sense to the seating position, but entry and exit aren’t a problem. The same is true in back, where the doors are big. Legroom is good—just not outstanding—in either row, but headroom seems a little “close,” especially under the moonroof. Given the car’s overall low profile, windows aren’t especially large, and Nissan’s somewhat gimmicky rear roof-pillar design restricts driver vision to that area. Seats are comfortable. The tan seat leather and woodgrain dash accents in the test car warded off drabness, and soft-touch surfaces were well distributed.
Cabin storage is modest, with so-so capacity in the glove box and covered console bin, average door pockets with bottle holders, pouches on the backs of the front seats, and cup holders in the console and pull-down armrest in the rear seat. The trunk has good total cargo space that narrows somewhat between the wheel houses. The opening is wide and liftover is low. For more room, the rear seat folds in a 60/40 split, but seat backs don’t lay flat and they rest a couple of inches above the trunk floor. A bulkhead behind the seat narrows the threshold to the rear-seat area.
The limits on passenger space for the cost may not make 2019 Nissan Altima Edition ONE the best choice for midsize-car buyers, but likable road manners and interesting new features suggest the new Altima has its act together.
2019 Nissan Altima Edition One