You have to move fast on the auto show circuit. The press days in Geneva are barely over but manufacturers are already teasing what’s to come at the New York International Auto Show later this month.
We’ve already gotten a first look at Kia’s next-generation K900 and now Nissan is teasing the makeover of its mainstay midsize model, the Altima, which is getting its first real redesign since the start of the 2013 model-year.
What we see is apparently telling us more than just what the new 2019 Altima will look like however, a note from Nissan explaining that, “This official exterior sketch reveals an expressive, sophisticated all-new Altima and hints at the future of Nissan’s sedan design language.”
Long the best-selling model in Nissan’s U.S. line-up, Altima has lost momentum over the last several years, slipping 17% in 2017 and landing behind the Rogue crossover. No surprise, really, considering that’s happening just about everywhere. The Toyota Camry, long the country’s best-selling passenger car also fell to the power of that carmaker’s own RAV4 in 2017. That SUV is now the fourth-best-selling vehicle in the U.S., the Rogue number five.
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What we see in this rendering reflects what we’ve already started to note with other recent Nissan products, such as the larger Maxima, as well as the new Xmotion Concept that made its debut at the North American International Auto Show just two months ago. Like that show car, the 2019 Altima incorporates some familiar Nissan design cues, such as the brand’s “boomerang” headlamps and V-motion grille, though it grows wider and adds a more three-dimensional element. The overall look is what Nissan’s design director Alfonso Albaisa has dubbed Vmotion 2.0.
As always, there are some not-so-subtle exaggerations. We expect to see the wheels downsized on the production Altima, while spy shots of the 2019 sedan indicate the mirrors will be more conventionally sized. But the almost GT coupe-style roofline is a definite go, and the steep rake of the hood gives the creased hood a longer and more powerful appearance.
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Under the hood, changes are likely to be more modest. The Altima is expected to retain the current 2.5-liter inline-four paired with Nissan’s omnipresent CVT gearbox. There have been a number of conflicting reports on whether a V-6 will remain an option – and whether the automaker will take a nod at SUV buyers by adding an all-wheel-drive option.
We can safely bet on an array of new technologies, including Nissan’s latest infotainment system, along with the emergency auto-braking system that is now standard on the smaller Sentra, as well as the Rogue. We’re seeing the maker roll out its semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist technology this year, as well, and that might also be in the cards.
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Nissan clearly has a lot riding on the 2019 Altima remake, the fifth-generation of the midsize sedan. That market is under intense pressure yet remains one of the biggest segments in the American automotive marketplace. But competition is absolutely fierce. Just among the major Japanese brands Nissan will be going up against the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord models that went through complete makeovers for the 2018 model-year – the Honda sedan winning the coveted North American Car of the Year trophy.