Nissan’s new mid-size Camry rival bags both AWD and state-of-the-art variable compression engine
The sixth-generation, 2019 Nissan Altima has been revealed at the New York motor show and it will bring new technologies and a fresh design when it opens its battle with the new Toyota Camry in the US from October.
However, it’s not yet known if or when the Altima could return Down Under, where the mid-size sedan was culled from the Nissan line-up last year due to slow sales, although it continues to race in the Australian Supercars series.
The new Nissan Altima is expected to come here at some stage, given Nissan Australia boss Stephen Lester has declared that he will consider any model that can compete in market segments in which the company is not currently represented.
The new Altima introduces Nissan’s future sedan design languageNissan Australia is expected to make a decision in the coming months and, if the Altima sedan does return here, the thoroughly updated model could finally have a competitive edge over its rivals.
The headline news is the Japanese mid-size sedan introduces Nissan’s future sedan design language, as well as all-wheel drive and the company’s ground-breaking variable compression ratio engine tech, which was first introduced by premium brand Infiniti.
The 2019 Altima’s optional new all-wheel drive system can channel 50 per cent of its torque to the rear wheels in slippery conditions.
The all-new Altima takes its inspiration from the award-winning Nissan Vmotion 2.0 conceptAvailable with a 140kW/244Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that gains direct-injection and is claimed to be 80 per cent new, the all-wheel drive system is combined with the firm’s Xtronic CVT automatic transmission.
For those desiring more performance, Nissan used the New York show to announce it was replacing the old car’s naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 with a pioneering new 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘V-C Turbo’ engine that produces 185kW/370Nm.
Only available with front-wheel drive, the new engine has the remarkable ability of being able to vary the compression ratio from 8:1 (for high performance) to 14:1 (for high efficiency).
Nissan claims the advanced engine brings a “double-digit” increase in efficiency — compared to the old V6 — at highway speeds.
In the US market, the SR grade gets a new sportier chassis tune and steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles.
As well as being more efficient, the entire Altima range is said to benefit from a retuned suspension that is claimed to improve steering feel and enhance ride comfort, and Nissan says the Altima also has improved refinement.
Inside, all models get a new 8.0-inch infotainment system and new active noise cancellation technology to make the cabin quieter.
There’s also a new 7.0-inch information display in the instrument cluster and a rear cross-traffic braking that applies the brakes when you’re reversing out of a car park bay if it detects oncoming vehicles.
New autonomous driving aids introduced to the Altima range include Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system, which can steer, brake and maintain a distance from the car ahead in low-speed stop/go traffic.