Nissan has joined Honda and Toyota in a movement to keep the family sedan viable in a marketplace crazy for crossovers with an all-new version of its Altima, a car whose most significant update for Canada is standard all-wheel drive.
In North America, that makes Nissan just the second non-luxury brand, after Subaru, to make AWD a standard feature on a sedan in Canada, and this the first Nissan sedan to get AWD.
That added traction comes wrapped in a new styling package that lends this car a distinctive look Nissan hopes will help it stand out next to recently redesigned versions of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Trim offerings include S, SR, SV, SL and Platinum.
The starting point for the 2019 Altima's powertrain is a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, 80 percent of whose parts are either new or have been redesigned. That update includes the addition of direct fuel injection, a now-common technology that comes late to the Altima. That contributes to power output that rises 9 hp and 3 lb-ft of torque to 188 hp and 180 lb-ft.
Nissan might prefer you ignore the fact that American buyers get the option of a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder with the company's new variable compression ratio technology. Nissan isn't bringing it to the Altima lineup here -- at least, not yet -- because it isn't compatible with the car's AWD drive system. Nissan Canada felt standard foul-weather traction was more important than more power.
For 2019, Nissan's ProPilot semi-autonomous driving technology comes to the Altima, using forward-facing camera, radar and sensors to help you keep the car in the centre of your lane and maintain a set distance from the car in front in highway driving. It's an evolution of adaptive cruise control and other active safety features and is standard in SV, SL and Platinum trims.
Compared to the outgoing car, the 2019 Altima is about 25 mm longer but rides on a wheelbase stretched twice that much, shortening the car's front and rear overhangs and adding interior space.
Standard interior features include NASA-inspired zero-gravity front seats, which now boast more lateral support, along with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that hosts the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration platforms and a hands-free text messaging assistant.
Wheel sizes include 16-, 17- and 19-inch options, the latter being an Altima first. A sport-oriented SR trim carries over from the outgoing car with uprated suspension and chassis settings for sharper handling.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed