Long-Term Review

2019 Nissan Altima VC-Turbo Ownership

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader July 2019
  • All-new 2019 Nissan Altima.
  • An 8-in touchscreen is standard on all versions.
  • New VC-Turbo engine delivers 248 horsepower.

It's easy to dismiss sedan sales as being irrelevant, Americans are gradually migrating toward SUVs in all shapes and sizes. However, there are still enough people buying 4-door cars to make them worth checking out. Cars like the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima and the Toyota Camry are still near the top of the best sellers list each year alongside many well-known trucks and SUVs. At the same time, virtually every popular compact to midsize sedans has recently been updated -- that includes the Nissan Altima.

Why We Got It

The 2019 Altima redesign is exactly why we thought it was the right time to spend some quality time with the 2019 Nissan Altima. We have plenty of real-world experience with Nissan SUVs (like the Pathfinder) and trucks and find them, in general, to be a good value new or used. But the Altima isn't just a new skin, it's a whole new car with new tech and new features.

Of the top-selling midsize sedans, the newly re-worked Altima is the one that looks the most like the previous version, but is the one with the most dramatic changes. Both the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima have dropped their V6 engines, a big change that breaks from roughly 25 years of tradition. But the new Altima adds some fairly groundbreaking tech with its new VC-Turbo engine. Through the use of sensors and software, the Altima's VC-Turbo engine offers the acceleration of a high-performance turbocharged 4-cylinder with the fuel efficiency of a smaller engine.

The VC-Turbo is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 248 horsepower. This engine varies the compression ratio from 8.0 to 1 to 14.0 to 1. Gearheads will know that high-compression engines are generally more performance oriented as they get more of a powerful bang out of the air and fuel mixture all gasoline powered cars use to make power. We're looking forward to experiencing this new technology on an everyday basis.

The new Altima is also a bit nicer inside. All versions of the Altima come with an 8-in touchscreen and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The textures and materials are also a step up from the previous version, although this is most noticeable in the Platinum trim. All-wheel drive is now an option with the Nissan Altima, something that was not previously offered.

Our Altima

If you're buying a new Altima, there are a few little details to keep in mind. Ultimately, these little things steered us toward a specific car. Although the 2019 Altima starts at under $25,000 we opted for the $35,000 Platinum version with front-wheel drive. The first thing to know -- you cannot combine the AWD model with the new high-tech turbo engine. Nissan's tried and true 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on the lower trim levels and the AWD versions. Also, there are three different "Platinum" versions of the 2019 Altima. There's both FWD and AWD in the Platinum trim as well as a "VC-Turbo Platinum" version. The other trim option that uses the fancy turbo is the SR VC-Turbo, which is the sportiest version of the new Altima. We opted not to get this one as we value everyday comfort over sporty handling. Executive Editor Brian Moody says “In the long run, I think this is the right choice. Our perfect car is a VC-Turbo Platinum with AWD. That isn't a car you can get from Nissan right now. Buyers who want a good balance of performance and comfort will be best served by the front-wheel drive Platinum version of the new Altima.”

That being said, the Platinum version we have includes many standard features, so much so that there are no additional packages available unless you want accessories like 19-inch wheels. LED headlights and fog lights, a power sunroof/moonroof, chrome exhaust tips, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, Bose premium audio, active noise cancelling, two USB ports and two USB-C ports plus Sirius XM traffic and travel link with a 3-month subscription are all included.

Initial Impressions

The thing we're watching most closely is the engine and how different staff members respond to the new turbo. We've only had the car a few days and can already feel the extra kick in everyday driving. It is fun to drive, but also remarkably quiet and super smooth, even on the highway. Will we miss the V6? Too soon to tell. Find a Nissan Altima for sale

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New 2019 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL AWD
New 2019 Nissan Altima
MSRP $34,085
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New 2019 Nissan Altima 2.5 Platinum AWD
New 2019 Nissan Altima
MSRP $36,385
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New 2019 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
New 2019 Nissan Altima
MSRP $30,310
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New 2019 Nissan Altima 2.5 Platinum AWD
New 2019 Nissan Altima
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 Nissan Altima VC-Turbo Ownership - Autotrader