Nissan Altima makes AWD, turbo, tech play

Nissan has redesigned its best-selling sedan to woo buyers with advanced technologies in hopes of recapturing their attention as they increasingly defect to crossovers.

The sixth-generation Altima, unveiled at the New York auto show Wednesday with a larger greenhouse, all-wheel drive and a new turbo-charged variable-compression engine, also sets the stage for more electrification and connectivity to come.

More than merely holding steady at the Altima’s current sales volume — U.S. sales of 254,996 last year, a decline of 17 percent from a year earlier, Nissan says it wants to “re-energize the sedan segment” through design and technology.

“We can win back sedan sales,” asserted Michael Bunce, Nissan North America’s vice president for product planning. “We believe there is a large population of consumers who prefer a sedan. And we’re giving them a compelling reason to drive a sedan.

“We believe there’s an opportunity for growth in that segment,” Bunce told Automotive News.

The redesign adopts a larger and flashier V-motion grille, boomerang headlights and a floating roof. The interior was made roomier and more modern, with a seagull-inspired sweeping dash panel, a larger display screen and a sense of open, shared space — a design that anticipates future moves to autonomous driving.

The cabin gained space by pushing the wheels farther out to their corners and by claiming a bit of real estate from the engine compartment.

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