Let’s face it, Nissan cars have never been popular for their appearance. The GT-R, for example, has always been a favorite among enthusiasts because of what it can do, not for how it is designed. But Nissan has been upping its styling game lately, and its products are starting to look better. At the New York International Auto Show, the Japanese automaker has unveiled the all-new Altima, in the process showing us how the brand’s sedans could look like in the near future.
Up front, the latest implementation of the V-motion grille is superbly tasteful. Unique character lines run from the grille up onto the hood for that aggressive face. The new Altima borrows the same floating-roof design found on the bigger Maxima, but its profile is cleaner and classier. Wheel sizes range from 16 to 19 inches, depending on the variant you are getting.
Under the hood, gone is Nissan’s 3.5-liter V6 powerplant of old (although the outgoing model in the Philippine market has a 2.5-liter straight-four). With the sixth-generation Altima, you can have either the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 188hp and 244Nm, or the production-ready 2.0-liter variable-compression turbo engine. The latter seamlessly changes its compression ratio through multilink components to improve performance or fuel economy. Assembled in Japan, this power unit produces 248hp and 370Nm, while supposedly delivering significant gains in fuel efficiency.
Sadly, there are no manual transmission options as all variants come standard with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT. The only consolation is that SR variants have paddle shifters. Surprisingly, certain Altima versions will get Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system for the first time ever in the US market.
The interior is a big improvement from the previous model’s uninspired layout. It is simple yet elegant, familiar yet completely new, traditional yet very modern. The flat-bottom steering wheel seems like a joy to hold, for one. In-car entertainment may be controlled via an eight-inch touchscreen display sitting atop the center stack. This is part of a system that is already compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you want to take the cabin vibe a notch higher, a Bose premium audio system with nine speakers is available.
Finally, Nissan has fitted the new Altima with the latest driver-assistance technologies. The Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite of safety features makes use of cameras, radars, sensors and an electronic control module to help the driver avoid accidents. Its highlights include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane detection warning, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, forward collision warning, and an around-view monitor.
The US market will get first dibs on the new midsize sedan this year. We hope Nissan Philippines can bring this Altima to our shores the soonest.