Sedans, in case you haven’t heard, are dead. No one is buying them anymore so automakers are cutting sedans from their lineups and replacing them with a growing number of SUVs. While sedan sales are slowing, they’re not dead yet, thanks to solid offerings like the Nissan Altima.
The popularity of crossovers and SUVs is in large part due to their versatility. Cargo? No problem. Towing? Yup. Passenger room? You’re covered. There are good reasons to buy an SUV, but there are drawbacks, too.
They’re often more expensive, especially when you get to 8-passenger models, and their fuel economy numbers are worse. There’s also no need to own one if you don’t need the room or capability.
Part of the capability equation comes from all-wheel drive. An SUV is the go-to choice for those who live where it snows because no one wants to be stuck waiting for the plow to clear the way. There was a time when sedans were outright lousy in the snow. Those times are long gone.
To that end, the 2019 Nissan Altima now boasts optional all-wheel drive. While you might think it’s still far inferior to an SUV in the snow, we ended up driving it through a terrible snowstorm this January and it had no problem at all on treacherous roads.
On a highway that we could barely see with nothing but SUVs and pickup trucks for company, the Nissan Altima held its own. It was the kind of weather you don’t drive in unless you have to – in this case it was an endlessly delayed flight that put us on the ground well into the storm.
So, score one for the good ole sedan.
People also lean toward SUVs for their roomy interiors. There’s room for five or more in SUVs while sedans draw the line at five. If you have a large family, then that may be an issue, but for everyone else, why do you need all that seating?
The Nissan Altima has a roomy interior that easily seats five adults. There’s plenty of head and legroom in back even with the front seats pushed back for taller front passengers. Sedans are always most comfortable for four, but when you need to carry that fifth passenger, everyone will be just fine.
The Altima also offers a surprisingly upscale interior with sleek, modern appeal. We spent our recent drive time in the SL, which sits one step down from the fully-loaded Platinum. It has a base price of $31,340 and includes a Bose audio system, power moonroof, leather seats with power adjustability up front, heated front seats and steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
It comes with a fully-featured infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, two USB charging ports, and an 8-inch color touchscreen. There’s also advanced safety, including ProPilot Assist, which gives you a taste of the autonomous vehicles of the future.
There’s a choice of engines with our Altima coming equipped with the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 182 horsepower paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. It’s a responsive engine that makes driving the Altima fun. Even with all-wheel drive, this engine gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined.
That fuel efficiency makes the Altima a winner whether you’re using it as a commuter car or to run the kids around town. While gas prices are low, there’s no telling when that could change. A fuel efficient vehicle makes sure you don’t break your budget if they suddenly rise.
What the Altima lacks is the towing and cargo capacity of an SUV, but there’s still a roomy trunk. It has 15.4 cubic feet for cargo with a wide trunk opening, so it can more than manage a family’s luggage for a week’s vacation. There are also 60/40 split-folding rear seats that add additional cargo flexibility.
The 2019 Nissan Altima proves that not only is the sedan not dead yet, but that there’s good reason to park one in your driveway.