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New 2005 Altima: Interior and other info

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  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,541
    Just returned from a test drive of a 2005 Altima SL 3.5. (With NAV and Traction Control / Air Bag Pkg.)

    Overall, given that this is a FWD car, it is a pretty impressive effort.

    I had driven a 3.5 automatic (4-speed) just after introduction. The difference between that car and this one was more dramatic than I would have expected. The interior materials, fit and finish are clearly improved. The NVH improvement is substantial. And the 5-speed automatic has an excellent man-u-matic mode. Very well executed and to my taste.

    The ride and handling under mildly aggressive driving was solid, firm, well damped and responsive.

    The 3.5 L V6 is still a very good motor. At 250 HP / 249 TQ through this trans., it certainly delivers performance that most anyone would find adequate. And most would likely find sporty. With an EPA rating of 30 highway and a 20 gal. tank, the cruising range potential is useful and pretty remarkable.

    If FWD were not an issue for me, I would very seriously consider this car. For just over $30K list as driven, with a pretty effective NAV system, this looks to me like a attractive package.

    Just my $.02 contribution (less $.03 rebate – I owe $.01!!!)

    - Ray
    Impressed.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "Just my $.02 contribution (less $.03 rebate – I owe $.01!!!)"

    That was funny.

    Sat in a basic 2.5S at the NY Auto Show. I very much like the redesigned center stack and improved tactile feel of the controls. I thought the seat fabric was a BIG disappointment, however, and I'm not sure its any better than the outgoing iteration. The Suzuki Verona I was in had nicer material, and stickered at 16,800. (Granted, its the only facet in which that car is better than the Altima, but worth noting...)

    ~alpha
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    why is FWD an issue?

    just curious.
  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    Reading all your posts has convinced me that you know about as much about cars as the people who design and build them. Are you majoring in Automotive Engineering or something similar? If you were in the market for a mid size car what car would you buy?
    Btw, have you sat inside a loaded V6 Altima(2005 model). Seems like all the interior improvements Nissan made to the Altima is only limited to the V6 version.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    no, the interior changes are all the way down to the base 2.5 and 2.5s.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I appreciate your comments and feedback. I would like to be clear in that I am not an engineer, nor am I pursuing a career in Automotive Engineering (I dont want to portray myself as something Im not). However, I do have a very intense passion for transportation, specifically automobiles. My fondness tends to be toward the practical, which is why I like sedans, and why I know more about the best sellers than exotics and those priced in the upper strata. I thoroughly also enjoy facts and driving, which is where most of my commentary comes from, and I read EVERYTHING I can about vehicles I find interesting. Regarding driving- even if its just a 15 minute test drive, if you know what youre looking for, you can tell spades about a vehicles design, where corners were cut, etc. I think most consumers have a problem matching their actual needs against the right design, and balancing what they WANT vs. what they need.

    I was fortunate to have visited NYIAS with some of the members of the Subaru Crew Cafe here at Edmunds.com. Most notably, Bob, rsholland, was very interesting to talk to, and stated that he really enjoyed all vehicles, which I feel as well.
    If somehanded me a 3 cylinder Chevy Metro with an automatic, I could still have fun with it, and evaluate it based on its intended purpose, and against its competitors. They're just cars.

    I guess thats a long answer to a short question, my apologies. ( I do like talking about myself, lol).

    My pick in the family sedan category. Hmmn. Right now, encompassing everything from safety, fuel efficiency, reliability, resale, room and performance, Id have to go with The Honda Accord EX 4 cylinder with Side Curtain Airbags. At 23,230, on the sticker, its hard to fault its portfolio of assets.

    HOWEVER, the most promising entry, I feel, for the immediate future, and the growing desire for AWD capability without SUV consumption- the 2005 Subaru Legacy. Certainly, I havent driven one, but the car is well styled, roomy, ergonomically near faultless, has a proven drivetrain, the latest safety features, and AWD- all for an expected $23,000 - $24,000 with auto.

    My parents- both 49 yrs old- will be looking to make their final new vehicle purchase for at least 5 or 6 years, this fall. The Legacy is number one on the MUST SEE list.

    ~alpha
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    have them check out the ford freestyle. wagon looks, with 3 rows of seats and AWD. should be a great crossover entry. it will come out this summer.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Legendary Ford quality!!

    My parents owned Fords and GMs up through the early 80s. They are done with American makes forever- seriously theres no going back for them. (The Fords moved them to GM, GM moved them Toyota, and with my aunts delightful Aspen experience, they bypassed Dodge altogether.).

    ~alpha
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    "My parents owned Fords and GMs up through the early 80s."

    I won't claim that Ford and GM have caught up to the Japanese brands in quality but the gap has certainly been closed and they are much better than they were 20 years ago. One shouldn't dismiss a car they like due to 20 year old data. My $.02.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    YOU talk to my parents and tell them that, ESPECIALLY when they've had no reason to leave the Japanese makes, but strong memories as to why to leave the domestics.

    ~alpha
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    That's one of the big problems the domestic OEMs have. Many people are making decisions based on old data. I'm not criticizing them, it's normal, just not necessarily rational. I'm sure I'd do the same thing in their position.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Imacmil has a fair point. My parents have owned Domestic Big 3 cars for years and through the 80's and 90's and 00's. My parents had a lemon from GM but every manufacturer makes lemons. I think mostly now its mostly an even level playing field in terms of quality.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    domestics be getting even in terms of reliabiltiy, but in other aspects of quality there not there.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,896
    Nothing wrong with the tone of the conversation, but let's try to drift back toward the Altima - new folks who drop in might get frustrated by the lack of Altima talk. Thanks!

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  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Sorry! But to that end, now that the 2005 Altima is no longer a future vehicle (on the market for a month, with few 2004s left), perhaps all newbies and veterens should head over to the current Altima forum? I think its time this one gets closed (you recently closed the Solara convertible thread for similar reasons).

    ~alpha
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,541
    I do not want to try to turn this into a FWD vs RWD vs AWD forum. There probably is one already somewhere on Edmunds.

    There has been much written about the pros and cons. Personally, most of my issues with FWD have to do with performance, handling and feel. Not such (also important to many) issues as interior space efficiency.

    Also, my comments here primarily apply to cars such as the Altima V6 (SL / SE), but also apply to any car with FWD and over, say, 225 HP / TQ.

    First, I absolutely consider the 2005 version of the Altima SE and SL to be a very nice car. It also does a good job of minimizing the inherent compromises associated with FWD.

    The steering and handling feel are tough engineering challenges for FWD. With a typical FWD static weight distribution in the 60 / 40 range (some have even more than 60% on the front), this means that the front tires are carrying 50% more than the rears!! This is a lot.

    Adding the driving torque to the duties of the front wheels is a significant additional task.

    Torque steer is one typical result. This varies with a number of factors and can be minimized under many circumstances.

    Handling: with the front wheels carrying so much more of the vehicle weight,
    developing significant cornering force and then trying to also deliver acceleration torque typically just does not work well. No tire can generate both full lateral acceleration and full forward acceleration or full braking. (This is obviously also an issue with RWD, just less so - as if it is better balanced, as most sport sedans are, then the rear tires are not as heavily loaded nor as involved in turning.) This affects how enjoyable the car is to drive in a spirited manner, for instance, when accelerating out of a corner.

    Braking: More important, in an emergency, the (heavily loaded) front tires are even more heavily loaded during hard braking. Adding an attempt to steer the vehicle typically creates an unstable situation. And no ABS or stability control systems can actually increase the maximum physical tire grip available.

    Related: Acceleration from a stop - I experienced annoying wheel spin even on dry roads when I rented a 4-cyl (current series) Altima in the San Diego area a couple of years ago.

    Also potential issues – but not as much of a concern for me: FWD often requires a large(r) turning circle.

    Uneven Tire wear.

    FWD, RWD, (AWD – I owned a VW Passat W8 (approx. 270 HP / TQ and AWD) each have their inherent pros and cons. And some engineering decisions affect how those pros and cons actually manifest in any particular vehicle dynamics. Just need to understand them and choose based on your own requirements and desires.

    Again, the Altima deals with these issues reasonably well. Just not well enough for me.
    - Ray
    Still impressed . . .
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    "And no ABS or stability control systems can actually increase the maximum physical tire grip available."

    This is not correct. The amount of "tire grip" is strictly a function of the tire/road coefficient of friction. If the statement was "an expert driver may be able to produce shorter stopping distances without ABS than with ABS" it would be correct. The key word here is expert. For 99% of the driving public, ABS will not only product shorter stopping distances, it will allow the driver to steer to avoid an accident. Not only do locked wheels not produce the shortest stopping distances, you can't steer them either.

    Regarding the Altima, IMO ABS ought to be standard on at least the high end models (3.5 SE & SL). I think it's ludicrous that the $27K 3.5SL has everything but the kitchen sink standard yet you have to pay another $1000 or so to get ABS. It sends the message that Nissan thinks creature comforts (e.g., leather & sunroof) are more important than safety.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    Does the 2005 interior really address the previous version issues of the interior being low rent and cheap looking? I haven't seen a new one close up yet.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,541
    Clearly, they have addressed the interior issues.
    Whether or not they have addressed these issues to your satisfaction would be a very personal judgment call.
    My opinion is that they have done an excellent job in this respect - as well as regarding noise control.
    - Ray
    Seeing over 100 2005s on the local lot on Saturday . . .
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,541
    One annoyance I noticed on my test drive: The tach is rather small, has a small 'sweep' and mounted low to the left. This is likely only an issue for someone using the man-u-matic function.
    - Ray
    Otherwise really liking the Atlima's man-u-matic implementation . . .
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The only unimproved aspect is the poor grade of cloth that covers the seats in non-leather equipped models. Otherwise, kudos, Nissan, for listening!!

    ~alpha
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    a completely different type of upholstery on the non-leather models...its not really cloth anymore. its the same material as the armada "cloth". its very comfortable, and seems more durable. time will tell, but i like it alot.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,896
    Yeah, I'll close it in a couple of days then. I usually wait til I get my official "report" indicating that a vehicle is available, but I haven't received one for a few weeks!

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  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    Any changes? I haven't seen them side-by-side but the 2005 doesn't look any different.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    The following changes have been the most noticeable.

    Interior
    -The gauges have chrome rings that look NICE
    -The shifter is now plated in chrome
    -the cloth, especially the black cloth has improved IMO. Also, the blond and frost cloth look just like the cloth in the Maxima SE
    -The entire dash board top has soft touch materials and is better looking than the 02-04s. There is now a storage area above the audio unit.
    -The audio unit is the same as the 02-04s but is shaped differently
    -The armrest DOES NOT adjust
    -You LOSE the lumbar support for 05
    -The door panels are completely different and have the same suede cloth found in the Maxima.

    Exterior
    -The rims are different
    -The taillights are RED for the turn signal
    -The hood has rasied slightly and has the crease down the middle of the hood like all current Nissans.
    -The grille has a slight design for the tooth, but doesn't have the tooth.

    I am satisfied with the new Altima for the most part, however, it does have a few cheap interior materials. They are vastly superior to the materials used in the 02-04s (Which werent that bad, but not high HIGH quality)

    I plan to enjoy this car for a LONG time. I wish I could have gotten a V6 SE though.

    The next one I get will be the redesign for 07...maybe the hybrid version.
  • carpeoplecarpeople Posts: 36
    "Regarding the Altima, IMO ABS ought to be standard on at least the high end models (3.5 SE & SL). I think it's ludicrous that the $27K 3.5SL has everything but the kitchen sink standard yet you have to pay another $1000 or so to get ABS. It sends the message that Nissan thinks creature comforts (e.g., leather & sunroof) are more important than safety."

    The 3.5s do have it standard. Nissan adds that as standard but keeps the airbags as optional.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    If ABS is standard in the 3.5s, they've managed to conceal that rather well. It's certainly not indicated in the brochure feature chart I downloaded. I'll have to look at the site again.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    I did find it in the features chart. The brochure you can download indicates it is optional as part of the side air bag package/TCS package. I'd say this makes the 3.5SL very competitive with the Accord EX V6.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    on 3.5 models so I have heard.

    Too bad, Nissan didn't add it to the sticker of most new 05s when they came out.

    Also, the 3.5SL is pretty competitive with the Accord EXV6, except for price.

    The Altima cost a good deal more.

    You win or lose certain features from each one though.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,775
    Since the SE-R board was prematurely closed, let's try it here. What does everyone think about the SE-R?

    I saw it last night at the auto show and give it the thumbs up. It's distinctive and looks fast. I'm surprised that they didn't go a little crazier with it. It could have been a little more "The Fast and the Furious" but it is agressive. I expected a bigger spoiler on the back.

    I wouldn't be too concerned with it making the Maxima obsolete as people said on the other board. It's definately more of a hot rod while the Max is morerefined. I've actually been surprised to see alot of the Max's is this area being driven by greybeards.
This discussion has been closed.