Aug
28
2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD

2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD in Gun Metallic

2015 Audi Q52019 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV AWD

Class: Midsize Car

Miles driven: 327

Fuel used: 11.3 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortC+
Power and PerformanceC+
Fit and FinishB-
Fuel EconomyB+
ValueB
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
Big GuyB+
Tall GuyB
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.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs182-hp 2.5L
Engine Type4-cylinder
Transmission CVT automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 28.9 mpg

Driving mix: 20% city, 80% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 26/36/30 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular recommended

Base price: $29,430 (not including $895 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Floor mats, trunk mat, cargo nets, dual trunk hooks ($300)

Price as tested: $30,625

 

Quick Hits

The great: Pleasant road manners; inclement-weather capabilities of all-wheel drive

The good: Clean control layout; good selection of technology and safety features; respectable fuel economy for an all-wheel-drive vehicle

The not so good: So-so passenger room and small-items storage space

More Altima price and availability information

 

John Biel

Nissan could have pinned its hopes for the 2019 Altima on new styling, slightly enlarged body dimensions, and the debut of a variable-compression turbocharged engine, and then called it a day. But just to be sure car buyers would get the message that the midsize sedan was as new as its looks, Nissan also added all-wheel drive.

AWD is pretty rare in the Altima’s size and price class. In fact, the only other competitors that offer it are the Subaru Outback and Legacy, and the Ford Fusion, the last of which isn’t long for this world. For this test, Consumer Guide drove an Altima SV, which sits at dead center of the five models available with all-wheel drive.

2019 AWD Altima Review

The Nissan Altima is redesigned for 2019, gaining sharper, more-dynamic styling than the outgoing model. The SV trim level is positioned as the popularly equipped volume leader of the Altima model lineup.

Nissan calls its system “Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.” Rather than a performance enhancement, the manufacturer considers the system a foul-weather friend that is supposed to impart SUV-like confidence. Electronic monitors continually read road conditions and, on snow- or rain-slicked pavement, the system distributes power to the wheels with the best traction. Altimas with AWD start at $1350 more than their front-wheel-drive counterparts.

Test Drive: 2019 Nissan Altima Edition ONE

 2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD

The Altima’s dashboard layout is clean and attractive, with easy-to-use controls. There’s OK space for adults in the back seat, but the sloping roofline and the sunroof’s housing compromise headroom for tall passengers.

Most ’19 Altimas come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. (The 2.0-liter variable-compression powerplant is reserved for a select group of front-drive cars like the Edition ONE version that CG previously tested.) Nissan claims the 2.5 is substantially modified from its previous engine of the same displacement. It now makes 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque when paired with front drive, but output is restricted to 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft in AWD cars.

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 2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD

The Altima’s trunk offers a generous 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space, and the large opening makes it easier to load bulky items.

All Altima engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission that is quieter and more responsive than some of its ilk. The powerteam in the test car delivered adequate but not necessarily thrilling performance, and the engine displayed some roughness at idle. It can be pretty frugal, however. EPA fuel-mileage estimates for AWD cars are 26 mpg in the city, 36 on the highway, and 30 in combined driving. When this tester put 229 miles on the car, 45 percent of which was in city-type driving, he recorded 30.0 mpg.

The Altima steers and handles decently for what’s basically a “popularly priced” family sedan. All come with Intelligent Trace Control, which is designed to brake each wheel individually to enable smooth steering through corners, and Active Ride Control, which applies the brakes and adjusts engine torque on bumpy roads to improve the ride. The tires mounted on the SV’s standard 17-inch alloy wheels have enough sidewall to keep the ride fairly placid as well.

The only options on the $30,725 test car were in a group of floor mats and trunk-convenience items. New tech features included in its base price were ProPILOT Assist—an autonomous-ish driving aid composed of full-speed adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist—and rear automatic braking that detects objects while the vehicle is in reverse and can automatically apply the brakes if needed. The list of other standard items counted LED fog lamps and projector-beam headlights, body-color heated power mirrors, power moonroof, cloth seats (heated in front with 8-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat), heated leather-wrapped steering wheel on a manual tilt/telescoping column, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote engine start, keyless entry and starting, forward emergency braking, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, rear cross-traffic alert, headlight high-beam assist, driver-alertness monitor, 6-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, 8-inch touchscreen, 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.

Once inside, passengers will find the seating position a little low slung, though this doesn’t seem to have much of an adverse effect on entry and exit. Legroom is all right—but just so—in either row, and headroom suffers somewhat under the moonroof. Windows aren’t especially large (a product of the car’s overall low profile), and the rear roof-pillar design restricts driver vision in that area. Driving and comfort/convenience controls are easy to read and operate. Seats are comfortable, and the tested SV had contrast stitching for a little added visual interest—though the amount of this and the use of soft-touch material was reduced in the second row.

First Spin: 2020 Subaru Legacy

 2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard on SV models; base S models have 16-inch steel wheels. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 182 horsepower and is paired with a nicely tuned continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Cabin storage is modest at best. There is so-so capacity in the glove box—situated low enough in the dash to open onto a passenger’s knees—and in the covered console bin. Door pockets (with bottle holders) are of average size. There are pouches on the backs of the front seats, and cup holders in the console and pull-down armrest in the rear seat.

The trunk possesses good cargo space even though it narrows somewhat between the wheel houses. A wide opening and low liftover facilitate loading. For more room, the rear seat folds in a 60/40 split. However, the seat backs don’t rest flat or even with the trunk floor. Furthermore, a bulkhead behind the seat narrows the threshold between the trunk and rear-seat area.

Nissan may have sacrificed some passenger room to its prevailing styling theme, and comfort is always an important value point to buyers in the midsize class. But a manageable starting price and access to Nissan’s newest tech and engineering features stand to make the new Altima SV a worthy consideration for shoppers in the segment.

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 2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD

The addition of available all-wheel drive gives the redesigned-for-2019 Nissan Altima a notable competitive asset, but the other enhancements and new features are compelling as well.

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2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD

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