2020 Nissan Altima SL with Intelligent AWD

Modern interior, stately outside, comfy ride
August 31, 2019 Updated: August 31, 2019

This new Altima is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four engine, capable of providing 182 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque, and coupled to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT. Intelligent Ride Control and Intelligent Trace Control are standard features to improve ride comfort and cornering stability.

With this powertrain, the Altima achieves excellent mileage, rated at 36 mpg highway and 26 mpg city, for a 30 mpg combined average.

The exterior takes an athletic stance. It is accentuated by LED fog lamps and LED projector headlights with signature DRL. Body-colored, power-adjustable, heated side mirrors, and dual exhaust tips are complemented by a sporty rear bumper and horizontal taillights. Materializing Nissan’s current design language is the deep V-shaped front grille with chrome insert, flanked by LED headlights mentioned above.

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Boomerang taillights that wrap around the back. (Courtesy of Nissan)

The moonroof further opens up the roomy cabin to make everyone feel all the better by bringing the sky inside. And for your trunk cargo, Altima offers 15.4 cubic feet of space.

The 2020 Altima SL rides on 17-inch alloy wheels.

This four-door sedan provides comfortable seating for up to five. Headroom and legroom are more than ample. Leather appointed seating surface, 8-way heated power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, and 4-way power front passenger seat make for a luxurious and comfortable front cabin.

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Looking from the driver’s seat. (Courtesy of Nissan)

The back half of the cabin is enriched by 60/40 split fold-down rear seats and dual-zone automatic climate control, which is invaluable especially during this hot weather we are experiencing.

Bose Premium Sound System with 9 speakers fill the cabin with quality aural entertainment. All these features work together, allowing Altima the opportunity to host a superb journey for all occupants.

Safety features like ProPILOT Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, plus a Rear Sonar System add a vast dose of assurance that Altima “has your back!”

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8-inch touch screen. (Courtesy of Nissan)

NissanConnect with navigation provides a suite of remote access and monitoring services powered by SiriusXM, which also supplies a 3-month trial subscription to its Satellite Radio, Travel Link, and Traffic services. Interaction is mainly performed through the 8-inch color display with multi touch control, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported to extend that control to your smart devices.

I wished the 7-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display would allow the font and icons to be a little larger. This screen in the instrument cluster panel communicates the essential data and indicators so the driver is always aware of the status of various vital functions of the vehicle, including advanced driver assists such as Intelligent Driver Alertness and Traffic Sign Recognition. Nissan is offering these as standard features, but some manufactures charge extra by placing them in options packages.

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Advanced Drive-Assist Display. (Courtesy of Nissan)

Altima is very competitive against its rivals, especially when it comes to what is offered. In fact, it is priced better than Ford Fusion or Kia Optima even though it comes with more standard features.

Someone asked me about when a hybrid Altima model will be sold. Since I have little clout or personal knowledge about future Nissan plans, I can only guess. But I do know the working talent and skills of their engineers, so I expect to hear about an electrified Altima to be somewhere on an approaching landscape.

The Altima line up starts with the base S FWD model priced at $24,100. The SL with Intelligent AWD model tested here sits just below the Platinum models, and carries an MSRP of $31,950. This Nissan is fully loaded and has no options package to add, but there are still a handful of accessories like Splash Guards ($205), Exterior Ground Lighting ($380), and Impact Sensors ($210).

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.