2019 Nissan Altima SR AWD Driving Impressions

June 6th, 2019 by

The 2019 Nissan Altima has been reinvented this year with loads of new standard features, a powerful new engine, and a sporty new look. Perhaps most importantly for those of us in Minnesota, the Altima is now available with all-wheel drive. I borrowed a bright copper orange 2019 Altima 2.5 SR AWD from Morrie’s Brooklyn Park Nissan to drive for a few days, back when we still had snow on the ground. I wanted to know just how good Nissan’s first AWD sedan was during the snowiest February in recent history.

Golden Good Looks

The 2019 Altima has some pretty sporty looks with chiselled corners and great looking wheels. The 19″ wheels that come standard on the SR model look fantastic, with a mix of polished aluminum and black accents. I loved the color (“Sunset Drift Chromaflair”) and I wish it was available across all the trims instead of just the S and SR trims.

Interior design looks nice, with stitched soft-touch material across the dash, door panels, and center console. I liked how the orange stitching contrasted with the black interior and brought in a little taste of the exterior’s bright paint color. The cloth inserts in the seats are very breathable, which is nice in the summer and allow the seat heaters to work at their best when it’s cold.

It’s What’s On Inside That Counts

The Altima has a really comfortable and smooth ride. The front seats were plush and offered plenty of elbow room. There was also more than enough room in the back for adult passengers to get comfortable as well.

The Nissan Connect infotainment system works well and is pretty simple to use. I appreciate that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard across all trim levels. It meant I could use Google Maps without having to pay for the higher-end navigation system. It was also a breeze to connect my phone to either the USB-A or USB-C ports and start streaming music. The 8-inch touchscreen is easy to reach but the graphics are starting to look dated compared to some of the other options in the segment.

The instrument cluster looks modern and sophisticated. A 7-inch screen breaks up a pair of traditional gauges indicating speed and engine RPM. The steering wheel controls are laid out in an intuitive and easy to reach way. I also liked the sporty shape and feel of the wheel itself.

Drivetrain Decisions

The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is perfectly adequate in this application. With 188 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque at 3600 RPM, the Altima doesn’t feel particularly quick but it keeps up with traffic just fine. For those looking for a little more power, Nissan’s clever new 2.0-liter variable compression turbocharged 4-cylinder makes 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. For the time being, however, you won’t be able to get the new VC-Turbo engine with Nissan’s Intelligent AWD.

If you’re torn between having the extra power of the VC-Turbo engine or the extra traction of the Intelligent AWD system, you’re not alone. Personally, I appreciated the extra grip since there were a few inches of fresh snow on the ground when I drove the Altima. With a set of winter tires, I imagine the AWD Altima would be nearly unstoppable in snowy conditions. But now that the weather is nicer and the roads are clear, the extra power would certainly make the car a little more fun to drive. I guess the best compromise is to buy two new Altimas, at least until Nissan decides to pair their new engine with AWD. To find out more about the 2019 Nissan Altima, visit Morrie’s Brooklyn Park Nissan.

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