Nissan has unveiled a project vehicle representing a new era of all-wheel drive capability and aimed at the Canadian market.
The one-off project vehicle-named the Altima-te AWD-is based on the all-new 2019 Nissan Altima AWD. Its aggressive look and attitude is highlighted by a heavy-duty track system.
“This is not the Altima of old; for the 2019 model year, we are redefining what this historic nameplate stands for,” said Joni Paiva, president of Nissan Canada Inc. “With the scarcity in the market of all-wheel drive configurations available on sedans, we wanted to make a statement to customers. The average person does not assume a sedan offers AWD.”
The Altima-te AWD gets some inspiration from the Rogue Warrior, another one-off, track-equipped crossover project from Nissan.
“Like the Rogue Warrior, it sends a clear message to the market-this Altima has the ability to conquer the harshest weather environments with the added confidence provided by standard Nissan Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, which adapts to road conditions in the blink of an eye,” Paiva said.
Also like the Rogue Warrior, which debuted at the 2016 Montreal International Auto Show, the Altima-te AWD was modified entirely by Quebec-based Motorsports in Action using the DOMINATOR track system from American Track Truck.
The tracks measure 48 inches long, 30 inches tall and 15 inches wide. According to Nissan, the Altima-te AWD required more extreme body and chassis modifications compared to the changes that were made on the Rogue Warrior project vehicle. The front and rear fenders were flared out by 7 inches on each side to accommodate the DOMINATOR track system, expanding the total body width by 14 inches.
To modify the fenders, the MIA team designed and fabricated a bespoke widebody kit and built the fender parts using high-density foam and epoxy resin typically used in nautical structures. Those modifications alone amounted to more than 150 hours of work, bringing the total project to 250 hours.
According to Nissan, the extreme fender flares allow a reduction in snow projections, which could impede the driver’s visibility.
In order to make the Altima-te AWD fully functional, MIA also increased the vehicle’s ride height. The team designed and built the necessary components to raise the car by 3 inches. The front and rear load-bearing chassis were dropped by 1.18 inches and the suspension components were raised by 1.96 inches.
The suspension geometry was corrected to offset the deviation caused by the ride height change and restore the proper kinematics.
The Altima-te AWD is currently on display at this year’s MIAS public days, and will appear in the Nissan booth at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto in February.