Sedans & Coupes

The 2019 Nissan Altima Is Painfully Average

Nissan makes a lot of great cars, but like any other automaker, sometimes, Nissan just misses the mark. That’s exactly the case with the 2019 Nissan Altima, which is Nissan’s midsize sedan. Here’s a look at why the 2019 Altima is simply too average to be remarkable.

The 2019 Nissan Altima after 30,000 miles

Car and Driver likes to put cars to the ultimate test by driving them for as long as real drivers will drive their cars. This is exactly what Car and Driver did with the 2019 Nissan Altima, and the results haven’t been very impressive.

As Car and Driver wrote, Nissan redesigned the Altima in 2019, and Car and Driver’s first impressions of it was pretty positive. For that reason, Car and Driver decided to test-drive the Altima for 40,000 miles, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Car and Driver’s test drivers have been slowly accumulating mileage on their Altima. 

In any case, one of the test drivers, Sharon Carty, who’s also the editor-in-chief for Car and Driver, wrote, “After living with it for a month, I’m 100 percent neutral on this car. I don’t feel like I got stuck with a dud, but I’m also not excited to get into it every day.” This opinion is pretty much what every other Car and Driver reviewer had of the Altima. 

Why the 2019 Nissan Altima is just OK

One of the main reasons why Car and Driver was impressed by the Nissan Altima at first was because it was, at the time, one of the few popular sedans that offered all-wheel drive. As a result, Car and Driver picked the all-wheel-drive option for the Altima, but this all-wheel-drive option was also the cause of what made the Altima mediocre. That’s because the Altima’s all-wheel-drive system is only compatible with its standard engine. 

The Altima’s standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 182 hp. It’s paired with a CVT, and this was a poor combination in Car and Driver’s eyes. This powertrain combo gives the Altima “a noisy and slow experience,” according to Car and Driver.

To add insult to injury, ever since the 2019 Altima debuted, Toyota and Kia have added all-wheel-drive options to their sedans, and that made the Altima’s all-wheel drive less special.

That said, Car and Driver did have some nice things to say about the Altima. Car and Driver’s reviewers thought that the Altima handles well enough, has a spacious interior, and has some comfortable seats. This makes the Altima a decent family car as it can run errands pretty well. 

Other pros and cons of the 2019 Nissan Altima

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After 16 months in Car and Driver’s long-term testing fleet, the Altima has proven itself to be a relatively fuel efficient and reliable car. Car and Driver averaged about 28 MPG on the Altima, which is about average in its segment. And, as one may expect from a Nissan, nothing spectacularly wrong came up. 

Car and Driver spent about $500 on routine maintenance, and that was it. The Altima didn’t seem to have many issues under the hood, but there were minor issues elsewhere. For example, Car and Driver said that there was a persistent rattling noise that was caused by a loose screw. This was easy enough to fix, but the volume knob on the Altima also seemed to not work properly for Car and Driver. 

These minor issues may be caused by simple bad luck, but they could also be caused by poor manufacturing. Regardless, they aren’t significant enough to change Car and Driver’s overall opinion of the Altima, which, thanks to its lackluster powertrain, is just mediocrity.