Does The Nissan Altima Have AWD Or 4WD?

If you want more traction control and a safer ride in inclement weather, a vehicle with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive helps tremendously. While most trucks and SUVs have these configurations, many passenger cars do not. If you consider a Nissan Altima and wonder if it has either AWD or 4WD, you'll get your answer here. We researched this model car from numerous professional sources, so you will have a definitive answer.

The Nissan Altima has six available trim levels, none of which have 4WD. The Platinum trim level does come equipped with AWD, with the remaining five trim levels configured with front-wheel drive. 

Now that we know the Nissan Altima Platinum has AWD, we'll look into what this means for this trim level. You might also be curious about how the AWD works in the Altima and if this feature is worth it. Do all-wheel drive vehicles use more fuel? Does the Altima with AWD perform better in the snow? To get the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

A red Nissan Altima parked outside a Nissan dealership, Does The Nissan Altima Have AWD Or 4WD?

What is AWD? Which trim level of Altima has it?

All-wheel drive (AWD) is a four-wheel-drive system that automatically shifts power from the front to the rear. The driver does nothing because the vehicle's computer senses what level of traction and power are needed for each wheel. This is unlike a true four-wheel-drive vehicle, in which the driver must decide to move the configuration into four-wheel-drive mode.

The AWD configuration is great for getting around in snowy weather and works well on dirt and gravel surfaces. It's most common in lighter-weight vehicles, like mid-sized cars, mini-vans, and SUVs. 

Currently, the Nissan Altima Platinum trim level has all-wheel drive. The Platinum comes equipped with what Nissan calls "Intelligent All-wheel Drive." This newer technology involves the continuous monitoring of the road surfaces to determine whether or not all the wheels need to be powered.

When not needed, the system reverts back to powering the front axle. This makes it more fuel-efficient than having all the wheels powered at once. 

What year Nissan Altima has AWD?

According to Motor1, the first year that Nissan had the Altima produced with all-wheel drive was with the 2018 models. As of 2022, the Platinum trim level Altima is the only one that has all-wheel drive available. 

The remaining five trim levels (S, SV, SR, SR-VC Turbo, and SL) all come equipped with the front-wheel-drive configuration. To date, Nissan has not announced any plans to offer all-wheel drive to any of these trim levels in the near future.

The Altima has never had a four-wheel-drive configuration with any of its trim levels and has not announced any plans to do so. Four-wheel drives are available in select Nissan trucks, however. 

Nissan has the full specs for each trim level available on their company website. 

How does Altima AWD work?

The Altima Intelligent All-wheel Drive system kicks in automatically, without the driver needing to do a thing. The onboard computer sends signals to the front and rear axles so that each wheel knows how much torque and power is needed for optimal driving. 

When driving in normal conditions, it's not necessary to have all the wheels powered in this way. Doing so will eat gas and lessen your fuel economy. The Intelligent All-wheel Drive feature will sense when all the wheels need powering and will only power the front two the majority of the time. This way, your fuel economy is spared.

While you will get better fuel economy with the Altima Platinum than with most other all-wheel drives in the same class, it still gets fewer miles per gallon than a front-wheel drive vehicle. We'll discuss the reasons for that later in this post. 

Is Nissan Altima good in the snow?

The Nissan Altima is a superior vehicle for driving in snowy conditions. While driving an Altima won't make you totally accident-proof, the way car's design certainly makes it noticeably easier to get around in wintery weather.

The Intelligent All-wheel Drive will kick in when the roads are wet or slick. The wheels will know what level of power and traction are needed to operate efficiently and effectively, making for a safer and easier ride through the snowy streets.

On board, the optional heated steering wheel and dual climate temperature control are great for cold weather driving. The suspension system makes for a smooth and comfortable ride in any weather.

Is an AWD car worth it?

Whether or not an all-wheel drive car is worth it will depend on a few factors. If you are driving in warm, dry climates on paved surfaces, then all-wheel drive wouldn't make much of a difference to your driving. All-wheel drive helps with driving conditions that require more power to all four wheels to get around, so it wouldn't necessarily be worth if you primarily drive in a mild climate.

But what if you live in an area with lots of rain, ice, or snow? All-wheel drive is definitely worth it in those situations. This technology will allow you to better control and drive your vehicle. The best part is, it's done automatically, unlike a four-wheel drive.

Mud and gravel roads are also better traveled with an all-wheel drive vehicle. The proper amount of torque needed to provide just the right amount of traction can keep you from getting stuck or spinning out of control.

Does AWD use more gas?

As a whole, an all-wheel drive vehicle will use more fuel than one with front-wheel drive. The more that all four wheels are powered, the more fuel is consumed. This can lead to up to 15 percent less fuel economy than their front-wheel-drive counterparts.

The Nissan Intelligent All-wheel Drive system helps cut back on the amount of fuel burned, since the drive configuration is mostly in front-wheel drive, powering the front axle only. The rear axles are only powered when the computer senses that the rear wheels need more torque to gain proper traction. Situations like loose dirt or gravel, snow and ice, or pavement wet from the rain would make this system kick in.

Even though your Altima will use less fuel than most all-wheel drive vehicles, it will still consume more fuel than a front-wheel drive configuration. The reason for this is the added weight. An all-wheel drive configuration will add hundreds of pounds to the curb weight of your vehicle. The more the vehicle weighs, the more fuel it will burn when it is in motion.

In closing

The Nissan Altima continues to be a leader in its class of mid-sized cars. Even though this car only has all-wheel drive available in the Platinum trim level, the other trims' front-wheel drive is great on the road. Before you decide on a trim level, evaluate whether or not you would need all-wheel drive for your car.

Depending on the driving conditions you are mostly exposed to, a front-wheel-drive configuration might work best. But if you decide that an all-wheel drive car needs to be in your future, know that the Intelligent All-wheel Drive system for the Nissan Altima works great and is better for overall fuel economy. Drive safe!

If you found this post on the Nissan Altima to be informative, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following posts on AWD and 4WD vehicles:

What Trucks Have AWD? [Inc. 10 Specific Models]

Should You Rotate Tires On AWD And 4WD Vehicles?

Is The Nissan Frontier A 4WD? [By trim level]

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