HomeSectionsAutoOn the Road 11/15: Looking at the 2020 Nissan Altima Platinum 2.0

On the Road 11/15: Looking at the 2020 Nissan Altima Platinum 2.0

By Peter Perrotta

I try not to get too technical with these reviews. I like keeping it down to earth, offering up a conversational style, which is not something you would find in the typical car enthusiast magazine.

However, from time-to-time this calling necessitates that technicalities must be introduced.

Enter the 2020 Nissan Altima 2.0 Platinum edition. This mid-sized, recently revamped sedan is a front wheel drive wonder, featuring the world’s first variable compression, in-line four cylinder turbo engine.

Wow. Ok. What is that? And, why did Nissan put this small powerhouse, transverse mounted engine in its 2020 Altima’s?

Put quite simply: more power, less space and better gas mileage. It makes perfect sense, right?

The new 2.0 variable compression, 4-cylinder turbo engine replaces the bigger bulkier, 3.5 V-6 engine Nissan previously used in the altimas.

This powerplant delivers 236 horsepower at 267 pound feet of torque. It couples with the Xtronic CVT (continuously variable) automatic transmission quite nicely too.

The 2.0 turbo delivers an impressive 34 miles per gallon fuel consumption rating on the the highway and 25 miles per gallon in city driving, for an average of 29 – a 15% improvement over the V-6 engine.

Are you following me so far class? So, how is this possible? And, most of all, how does it drive?

For lack of a better description, it drives like a finely tuned aerodynamic rocket ship. During the week I test drove this car, I opened it up on Route 295 several times. It gets up to speed quickly and smoothly without much effort. In fact, this car is so quick that I found myself having to hold it back because before I knew it the speedometer was way over the legal limit.

I had to pull the reins in on the altima at that point, not wanting to have to tell the police that I really didn’t mean to be going so fast.

The platinum edition, top-of-the-line altima I tested has a very low stance and features a newly revamped aggressive styling that cuts the wind rather smoothly.

The high profile 19-inch wheels afford it a grip like control. I had extreme confidence when taking the twists and turns of the Route 295 on and off ramps

So how does the variable compression, turbo engine do it. How does it work?

This new engine technology is designed to continuously transform the characteristics of the the engine so that it can provide both dynamic and efficient performance. It seamlessly changes its compression ratios between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency).

Put more simply, Nissan has figured out away to have technology gremlins under your hood that can variably switch your engine style from performance oriented – for more speed – to efficient oriented – for better gas mileage.

It works similar to the smart four wheel drive systems most vehicles currently employ that are designed to seamlessly switch your car from front or rear wheel drive to four wheel drive on the fly depending on road conditions.

Moreover, the variable compression turbo engine also utilizes both multi-port fuel injection and Nissan’s direct injection gasoline system to further balance efficiency and power under all driving conditions.

The 2020 Altima – Nissan’s sixth generation of this popular model – is offered in five trim levels.

The S, SR, SV, SL and Platinum. All five come equipped with a standard, 2.5 liter four cylinder engine and are available with and Intelligent All Wheel Drive system.

Only the SR and Platinum models are available with this advanced, new 2.0 liter VC-turbo engine. You can only get the 2.0 engine with the front wheel drive models.

The Platinum edition Altima I test drove for one week had a sticker price of $38,840. The MSRP base sticker price for this model is $35,180. The based price model features a ton of standard features.

There were 8 options on the vehicle I tested: splash guards ($205); scarlet ember premium paint ($395) ; floor mats, trunk mat and hideaway net ($300); ground lighting ($380); interior accent lighting ($455);  illuminated kick plates ($400); rear spoiler ($420); and impact sensors ($210).

The highlights of the many standard features on the Platinum edition include: power moonroof; Bose premium sound system, with 9 speakers; leather seats; heated front seats and heated steering wheel; 8 way power driver seat with lumbar and a 4 way passenger seat; Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

Some of the highlighted standard safety features include: Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian protection; Intelligent Forward Collision Warning; blind spot warning; rear cross traffic alert; lane departure warning; Intelligent Lane Intervention and a rear view monitor.

This particular Nissan model had not been rated under the government’s five star safety rating system yet.

Moreover, an important safety feature that comes standard on the SV, SL and platinum models is Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility Pro Pilot Assist features.

Pro Pilot Assist is designed to ease driver workload by reducing the amount of driver acceleration, steering and braking needed under certain driving conditions like single-lane highway driving.

It 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). It also helps maintain a safe gap between the driver and the vehicle in front of him. It can also slow the vehicle down to a complete stop and hold it during traffic jam conditions.

My overall impression of the 2020 Nissan Altima 2.0 Platinum is that while this particular model is pricey, for this category, it is well worth the extra money spent.

However, some of the additional non-standard options that were added to the test vehicle I drove, were not totally necessary unless money was no object.

Key specs for this Altima model include: an independent front suspension; a multi-link independent rear suspension; a 111.2 inch wheelbase; overall length of 192.9 inches; an overall width of 72.9 inches and an overall height of 56.8 inches.

Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column will appear weekly. Comments and questions are welcomed. To contact him, please email:

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