2019 Nissan Altima First Drive: More Grip, More Heart

You know the story: SUVs and crossovers are quickly taking the place of mid-size sedans. And with options from Honda and Toyota now better than ever, the 2019 Nissan Altima is playing catch up. Prior to this year, the last time the Altima received any significant update was in 2012. But this new model shouldn't have a hard time fitting in. Even with its position as an outlier among the more established crop, Nissan's new mid-sizer is sharper, safer, and with the addition of a new engine, more fun to drive. Not to mention it looks good.

The Ultimate Altima?

I wasn’t sold on the Altima’s new look initially – but photos don't do this car justice. The sedan is sharp in person. Imagine a tighter, cleaner looking Maxima; the same stylish cues from the larger four-door carry over, including elements like the V-Motion grille – which now extends all the way down to the front splitter – the trendy floating roofline, and a nicely sculpted rear. Depending on trim, the Altima rides on 18- or 19-inch wheels, which gives it a meaner stance over the outgoing model's 17-inch fitments.

The new Altima is actually longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing model by one inch all around. Nissan extended the Altima’s 111.2-inch wheelbase by two inches, and with the new “D Platform” underneath, the Altima is 41 pounds lighter and 15 percent stiffer. Meanwhile, the engi...