Nissan's Altima-te AWD Tackles Snow Like a Boss... and So Does the 2019 Altima AWD

by Kristin Shaw

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Nissan hosted our trip to Montreal to test drive the 2019 Altima, 2019 Murano, and Altima-te AWD project vehicle. All opinions are ours.

The Nissan Altimat-te AWD is a one-off project vehicle based on the all-new 2019 Nissan Altima AWD, and it’s fitted with a heavy-duty track system. Like its predecessor, the Rogue Warrior - which debuted at the 2016 Montreal International Auto Show - the Altima-te AWD was modified by Quebec-based Motorsports in Action (MIA), using the DOMINATOR® track system from American Track Truck. The total project took 250 hours to complete, with 150 of those hours spent on the fender alone, which was built using high-density foam and epoxy resin typically used on seafaring motorcraft.

That in itself is exciting enough. However, it’s NOT enough for Nissan, which has announced that the 2019 Altima is the first Nissan sedan in North America to offer all-wheel drive. In Canada, in fact, the AWD is standard on the 2019 Altima.

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We drove both the 2019 Murano AWD and the 2019 Altima AWD on the ice track at Mecaglisse, a motorsport track located 90 minutes outside of Montreal, and 50 minutes from the ski resort of Mont Tremblant, in the Laurentian mountains. While both were impressive, there is something about the Altima that truly inspired the confidence that Chris Reed, Nissan’s VP of Performance and Technology Engineering, told us it would.

“It’s about torque management,” he said. “It gives the driver confidence in the blink of an eye.”

That may sound flippant, but it’s backed with a whole lot of research. The Nissan fairy godmothers have gifted the new Altima with an improved chassis, upgraded powertrain, better noise control, and more comfortable seats (including lateral support and side bolstering). It’s a full inch wider in its stance, and includes the first rack-mount electric power steering, which gives the 2019 Altima better fuel economy and control. Nissan told us its the most fuel-efficient AWD sedan in its class.

In this new Altima, Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system married the 2.5L engine and they built a partnership that continuously monitors road conditions and responds in turn. The system automatically sends power to the wheels with the best traction, which results in more confidence in the driver’s seat. What many people don’t know is that an AWD system isn’t just for snow and ice - it’s also advantageous in heavy rain, which means it’s applicable for just about anyone in North America. For an additional $1350, it seems worth it to us.

Have you driven the 2019 Altima AWD yet? We’d love to hear about your experiences on our social channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Kristin Shaw