2020 Nissan Altima: popular mid-size gets added tech

I have no control over the timing of my test drives.

So let’s just call it serendipity the 2020 Nissan Altima 2.5 Platinum AWD sedan was delivered the day prior to leaving on a long, three-day weekend jaunt to the environs of Portland, OR.

Now in the sixth-generation of its production cycle, Nissan continues to add technology to its popular, mid-size, cash cow – which comes in S, SR, SV, SL and Platinum trim levels.

This year, in response to demand, the Japanese automaker has added intelligent all-wheel drive, making it available across all tri-levels equipped with the 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine. The system uses an advanced torque split-control strategy that automatically redistributes torque to the wheels (0:100 front up to 50:50 front-to-rear) according to road and driving conditions.

The engine is rated at 188 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque, which was more than enough power to keep a smile on my face whether traversing I-5, or off the beaten path roads like Cornelius Pass en route to Roloff Farm in Helvetia. The Altima accommodates five adults in comfort, and delivers 35-miles-per-gallon fuel economy down the highway.

In addition to the security of all-wheel drive, Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 is available across the entire lineup. And ProPILOT Assist is standard on the upper three trim levels.

Safety Shield 360 helps provide front, side and rear safety monitoring and intervention technologies including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, radar-based blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist.

Other safety features included on all trims are automatic emergency braking, intelligent forward-collision warning and intelligent driver alertness.

Unique in the class, ProPILOT Assist eases driver workload by reducing the amount of driver acceleration, steering and braking input under certain driving conditions, such as single-lane highway driving.

ProPILOT Assist utilizes a forward-facing camera, forward-facing radar, sensors and an electronic control module to help the driver stay in the center of the driving lane and to maintain vehicle speed (set by the driver) or help maintain a gap to the preceding vehicle if the vehicle speed drops below the driver-set speed. It also can slow the vehicle to a complete stop and hold the vehicle during traffic jam conditions.

I played with the technology between Centralia and Longview, and it worked like a charm.

Of course, any road trip is not complete without checking out the creature comforts. And the Altima had plenty to check out. Personal favorites included Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, navigation, leather seats, Bose premium sound systems with nine speakers, power sliding moon roof, Sirius XM radio and more.

Last, but not least, is the Altima’s styling. Far from stodgy, it cuts an inviting swath; low and wide. My tester came with a premium Scarlet Ember tint-coat paint job, 19-inch wheels, V-motion grille, and stylish exhaust finishers.

Base Price: $34,425

Price As Driven: $37,190

Destination charge is included in the base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.

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