The burgeoning mid-size sedan segment has been nothing but competitive over the past couple few decades. With segment champions like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, stalwarts like Mazda6 and ever-evolving competitors like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, it’s no wonder that the Nissan Altima might have trouble finding a comfortable spot nowadays. The Altima is up against tough competition, but with a refreshed look and tech, it might be a worthy rival.
Refreshed in 2019
The 2020 Nissan Altima went through a refresh in 2019 in which it was given a lower, wider stand, new sheetmetal, new technologies, and two new engine choices. Long gone is the stout V6 that once sat underneath its hood, which has been replaced by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder variable compression turbocharged engine that produces 248 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that pushes out 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque.
Both engines are mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that transmits power either through the front wheels, or all wheels, depending on the configuration you choose. Other new features include Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist which is the company’s suite of driver-assist features.
The ProPILOT Assist included technologies like rear-automatic braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and the Intelligent Around View Monitor. Aside from the new drivetrains and tech features, the Altima has a new, aggressive look on the outside with a simplistic and elegant feel on the inside, thanks to Nissan’s new VMotion design language.
How does it rank?
The Nissan Altima has always been a tried-and-true competitor in the segment and as it evolves with the rest of the pack, it hasn’t gotten the most glowing reviews as of late. Car and Driver ranks it 5 out of the 6 other competitors, besting only the Chevrolet Malibu. They liked the tech features offered as we as the new all-wheel drivetrain, however, they did knock it for its acceleration, stating that the “CVT reacts slower than rival automatics.”
Consumer Reports gave the Nissan Altima a pretty high rating of 84, but said that the “steering feels disconnected through corners, leaving the Altima without the eagerness of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, and quite short of the precision of the Mazda6.”
However, they did go on to note that the all-wheel drive is tough to find in a mid-size sedan and that the CVT works well with the powertrains, especially the new 2.0-liter engine.
Edmunds also credited the Altima with having comfortable seats, a compliant and well-dampened suspension. They also found that the “steering was vastly improved over the previous generation.” Quite contrary to the Consumer Reports findings.
It is worth it?
With everything we could find about the 2020 Nissan Altima, it still seems as though it would be a great choice for anyone looking to get into a mid-size sedan. Consumer Reports gave it a 5 out of 5 reliability rating and Kelley Blue Book’s Consumer Reviews currently hold it at a 4.5 out of 5. While certain driving dynamics might hold it back compared to other rivals, we think that the Nissan Altima is definitely worth a look.