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New York — The all-new 2019 Nissan Altima debuted Wednesday at the New York auto show.

Nissan hopes to set the redesigned midsize sedan apart in an increasingly tough segment with the addition of ProPILOT Assist technology, which the automaker calls “the foundation for autonomous vehicles of the future.”

The ProPILOT Assist system includes a suite of driver-assist technologies designed to help drivers stay centered in their lanes, safely navigate stop-and-go traffic and maintain speed while setting a preferred distance from the vehicle ahead. The system is powered by camera, radar sensors and an electronic control module. It’s available on the SV, SL and Platinum trim levels.

The addition of rear automatic-braking to Nissan’s Safety Shield technology also is available on the upper trim levels.

The Altima introduces what Nissan called the first production-ready variable-compression turbo inline 4-cylinder engine, replacing the previous-generation Altima’s 3.5-liter V-6. The engine is designed to deliver the performance of a V-6 with the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder. Standard on the Altima is a 188-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, featuring 80 percent new or redesigned parts.

Adding to that performance is the Altima’s first-ever all-wheel-drive system, offered in response to demand from buyers in the colder, snowier northern states. The all-wheel drive system will be available on all trim levels equipped with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine.

The 2019 Altima takes its design cues from the Vmotion 2.0 concept that debuted at the Detroit auto show in 2017. The new Altima features a more athletic stance, riding lower and wider than previous model years. The new Altima stands 1.1 inches lower, and stretches 1 inch longer and wider. This more domineering design is highlighted by smaller front overhangs — made possible by a longer wheelbase — with the rear wheels being pushed farther to the corners.

It goes on sale this fall. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

The Japanese automaker’s flagship sedan follows behind redesigns of rivals Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, which got redesigns in the 2018 model year.

In a segment that saw sales decline 13 percent overall in 2017, Nissan’s Altima deliveries skidded 17 percent. That’s compared to Accord’s 6.5 percent dip and a relatively flat year for the Camry. Nissan sold 19,750 Altimas in February, down nearly 16 percent from the same month a year ago.

NNaughton@detroitnews.com

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