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Nissan Altima



  • manimal79manimal79 Posts: 7
    Hi guys, thank you all for your inputs about the Altima. They have been quite informative. I am planning on buying a car within the next month or so and i have come down to three choices, and one of them is the 2002 Altima.

    Anyway, I have some questions regarding the Altima:

    1) To the owners of the 02 Altimas: are you satisfied with them? Why or why not? Have you encountered any problems? how is the feel of the car? on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best, how would u rate it?

    2) How reliable are these cars?

    3) What is the resale value (residual) of the Altima?

    Thanks in advance.
  • bigzheng17bigzheng17 Posts: 81
    I am suprised to see the poor bumper bash result for 02 altima. I know the bumper on pre-01 are pretty strong. last year i rented an 00 altima, and hit a concret stool in parking lot in order to avoid another car, i think i was going about 5-10 mph. i checked the front bumper, besides some uneven paint caused by the concret surface, there are not even a dent.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    "I think if you get the ABS and airbag packages, you're getting a pretty safe car. The NHTSA side impact test car did not have the side/side curtain air bags."

    I suspect it's a pretty safe car too. However, there are vehicles that get 5-stars side impact even without side airbags. Given that the Altima's structure doesn't seem up to that particular type of impact, I'd rather wait for the NHTSA to perform the same test on a side-airbag-equipped Altima. There's obviously the chance that it won't improve the score significantly.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    I didn't buy an Altima, BTW, we got a Legacy wagon (with pretty solid all around crash test scores).

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    One thing that's nice about the Altima is the availability of side curtain airbags (I just wish its sedan-height side impact scores were better). So far Subaru has only put in head protection for front-seat 2003 Forester passengers (and they're not side curtains but multi-chambered side bags).

    Granted that Subarus tend to do well in side-impact tests without the head protection, but those tests do not currently measure what happens when you get hit higher, like with an SUV or minivan. This is especially critical in sedans and coupes, where one's head is at a lower point. The NHTSA side test only simulates something the rough size of a Corolla banging into you, and nowdays there are a heck of a lot of SUV's and minivans on the road.

    IIHS says it is working on a test where the side impact simulates a larger vehicle than what the NHTSA tests for. If they start those tests up, I'll bet that we'll see side curtains and other head protection devices appear pretty quickly. Like the Altima, the new Camry has them available too, and I can't imagine Honda releasing the next-gen Accord without them. Subaru will have to follow suit, though I hope it's not just with dual-chambered bags for front passengers only.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Lots of factors affected my purchase, but in order I'd rank it like this: active safety (accident avoidance), safety cage/structures, and only then passive restraints.

    So I'd pick the tougher safety cage before the air bags, personally.

    Also, the full-time AWD, 4 channel ABS, 4 disc brakes with twin piston front calipers will hopefully allow us to avoid needing those. :-)

    Plus, we got a wagon and that would force us into a too-pricey Pathfinder.

  • imprtlvrimprtlvr Posts: 38
    Hey all, I've got my choices down to two cars-Altima 3.5 and the VW Passat. In my opinion, the Passat is a classier car, and it certainly wins in my book on interior and build quality, and safety features/crash test scores. However, it is greatly underpowered compared to the 3.5 Altima. And the Altima has slightly more room inside. I know this is an Altima's owners board, but I just wanted some opinions.
  • cnackcnack Posts: 7
    My 95 Altima has 88000 miles on it and the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT just came on last week. The car is running fine but after reading all the posts about check engine lights, I can see that this is a common problem with the 95-96 Altimas. I have checked to make sure the gas cap was on tight as suggested in other posts. My question: Is there anyway for me to check the computer problem code myself at home without paying a dealer $70 to hook it up to their diagnostic machine? I am on a tight budget so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • jmfreshourjmfreshour Posts: 57
    We have a 95 SE that had the same issue around that mileage. Turns out that it was an O2 sensor that had to be replaced. I think that it was about $150. Dealers usually don't charge the diagnostic fee if you get the car fixed at the same time that they do the diagnosis. As for doing it at home, unless you have the proper equipment, you're out of luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Some shops offer to check the code for free, ask around at local places. It probably just needs a new oxygen sensor, about $70 aftermarket. Bosch makes 'em.

    Altima or Passat? Two good choices. The Passat feels like a near-luxury car, over-engineered as it is. Price is higher than average, and the leather seats are hard, but there's not much to complain about.

    The 3.5 SE has some torque steer and a clunky shifter, and some don't like the interior (it's OK to me), but again not much to complain about.

    It's like ice cream: Rocky Road or Fudge Swirl, which do you prefer? Odds are you'll be happier if you pick the flavor you like best, not us.

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    "... in order I'd rank it like this: active safety (accident avoidance), safety cage/structures, and only then passive restraints."

    Understood, and appreciate the explanation. I think every buyer needs to make a personal decision and weigh what they want. In my own case, I don't try to rank them as much as I try to balance them. The reason is that I worry more about the accident I can't avoid -- e.g. getting t-boned at an intersection by a driver running a red light (hence my interest in side-impact crashworthiness and side curtain airbags), getting hit in general by a drunk driver, etc. Unfortunately, a great AWD system and great braking won't help in a lot of those cases, and you have to fall back on structure and passive devices.
  • bigzheng17bigzheng17 Posts: 81
    just wondering how is your subaru doing. i recently included legacy into my list, but not sure about it's reliability. also do you think the 165hp engine is good enough? compare to 175 in altima and 200 in accord v6, it's seems a little small.
  • implicitimplicit Posts: 41
    is happy with their purchase now. I certainly am! After seeing those crash tests scores I hope everyone can rest easy now. All the complaints about how light the car seems and its cheapness certainly doesn't pertain. My Altima is a 2.5S basically fully loaded with ABS and Air bag package, convienence package, bose, sunroof but no leather cause I don't care for it and would rather not have it.
  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    I second the O2 sensor. We have a 95 with 140k on it and the light has come on a couple of times. Both times was due to the sensor. I have my work done at a private shop, not at a dealer. Cost me about $120 +/- (I can't remember exactly).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To prevent being T-boned in an intersection, you just have to rely on excellent situational awareness, and that's up to the driver. Try riding a motorcycle and you learn that skill rather quickly!

    The Legacy is fine, we did have the dealer lube the accelerator pedal, which seemed stiff, but otherwise it's been perfect. Experience with my '98 Forester (which I still have) says Subies hold up well.

    165hp is fine, remember, even recently the top Altima offered 150 or so. Accord still has 150hp in this price range (V6 is way, WAY more than I paid), and Camry has 157. Altima is definitely the quickest here, but the wife seems to accumulate one speeding ticket every couple of years or so.

    But it might have been the wagon bodystyle that sealed the deal. We could fit the stroller inside and still had room left to change a diaper behind it, all while under shelter from the rain. Plus you can fit a box about 4 times bigger, plus a roof rack expands capacity even further, there is no comparison.

  • ahossaahossa Posts: 152
    I don't know how many of you saw the actual Dateline crash tests but O'Neal noted that he wished many more manufacturers of mid priced cars would put the side air bags as an option as Nissan did with the Altima. Quite frankly, I thought the Altima would have done worse because of the cost cutting and the use of aluminum on the hood and trunk and engine.Now i hope the correct the interior and road noise for the 03 model
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Im interested to know why you would think that aluminum would be less able to manage crash forces. I also find it a bit strange that you would somehow correlate an aluminum block engine with a poorer crashworthiness. In any case, I agree with the IIHS statement that even in frontal crashes (severe ones), side head protection airbags should inflate to restrain dummy motion.. this seems like a no-brainer, so I wonder why we dont see more systems (in those vehicles so equipped)inflating in the IIHS test.
  • bigzheng17bigzheng17 Posts: 81
    i really like the awd of subaru, but since i don't see a lot of them on street (at least not here), i got a bit worried about why people are not buying it. i'll probably transfer to a college in canada in one or two years from south u.s., so awd does look very nice.
  • implicitimplicit Posts: 41
    Isn't aluminum weaker then steel or iron? The last time I heard it was. I think it's more he inner structure and cage of the car that prevents the crash then the hood and engine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    jz: people buy Outbacks, Legacys are almost invisible. *sigh*

    It'll be interesting to see the new Murano, though it looks like prices will put it against high-end Highlanders.

  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    If my memory from structural analysis in college serves me right, steel (not an alloy or treated in a special manner) does NOT have the same strength as aluminum. The strength to weight ratio of aluminum is much higher than steel. The difficulty with aluminum is the welding/connection process. Audi has been able to work out a majority of the problems in co-operation with Alcoa. They use this technology on their A8. I believe they are also looking to let this technology trickle down to some of their other products. Probably to help in their pursuit of becoming a head to head competitor of BMW.
  • obiwankenobi1obiwankenobi1 Posts: 290
    In a flat 4-cylinder configuration by Subaru is smoooooooth!

    I got to drive an 02 Forester at my last job and it had the smoothest 4 banger I had ever experienced.

  • cnackcnack Posts: 7
    Thanks jmfreshour and porknbeans for the suggestions. Sounds like I need to break down and spend some $ to get it fixed. :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cool job, I'd love a company car! :-)

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I loved the days when I was an assistant fleet manager of an engineering company. I was all of 20 years old, and running around town in cars like Explorer Eddie Bauers and Volvos. I just knew I was hot stuff, having a different car every other day. Boy, I miss those days. :(
  • I WISH it was a company car, but I sold vehicles for an auto broker, so I experienced quite a few drives in cheap to exotic vehicles.

    Cheapest New Test Drive: 2001 Toyota Echo :(
    Most Expensive New Car Test: 2001 Porsche Turbo :)

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    The Town Hall is about to take on a new look in an effort to make content more easily searchable and accessible.

    Have you seen the Letter from the Town Hall Manager on the Town Hall Welcome page? If not, you might want to follow that link to have a look.

    And hang on to your seats. Change is never easy - for any of us - but resolving the Search problems we've had will be worth the pain.

    Sedans Host
  • implicitimplicit Posts: 41
    Alone as a metal I don't think Aluminum is stronger then steel. What makes it stronger is when it crumples. When the metal folds into its self it strengthens.
  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    Thank you, I stand corrected.
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