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Nissan Altima

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  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Published test results for 240 HP Altima 3.5 SE 5-speed manual have been 0-60 mph in UNDER 6.30 seconds. The Motor Trend test of the 2002 255 HP Infiniti I-35 Sport automatic was 7.0 seconds 0-60 mph. The I-35 was quickest! The Nissan V-6 appears to be doing its job well!
  • This is my first post to this forum though I have followed it closely. I went to the local Nissan dealer yesterday and noticed an odd thing. Back in late Sept to early Oct, I went to the dealer to check out the new Altima. They had just gotten their first shipment of 3 Altimas (one 3.5 and two 2.5's). At the time there were 9 2002 Maximas on the lot. I had noticed them being there for some time since I regularly drive by the dealer. There were several people myself included checking out the Altima but there seemed to be little or no interest from anyone in the Maxima. Yesterday I went to the same dealer to test drive the Altima and found 12 Altimas on the lot including 2 of the 3 cars from the original shipment (the 3.5 and one of the two 2.5's. Surprisingly there was only a single 2002 Maxima there and it looked like it had just arrived (still had plastic everywhere). Where did all those Maxima's go? The salesman said they sold them all. Hmmm.

    Anyway, I drove 2 of the Altimas a 3.5se 5 speed and a 2.5sl auto. Both handled well though the steering felt a little too light to me. In addition I noticed that on a brief drive on some potholed highways that even minor ruts or holes seemed to change the vehicle's direction. The engine on the 2.5 auto was fairly quiet but power seemed just ok to me especially when starting out at the bottom of a hill. The 3.5 was a blast and is reason enough to buy this car IMO. There was some torque steer but not too bad. I read a lot about the interior of this car being substandard but after the first look back in Sept I just thought those people were being picky. However yesterday I took a closer look and now I think that there is some merit to this. The door panels in particular seem cheap. Also I didn't care for the black leather, the texture is a lot like the tarp I use to cover my gas grill in the winter. Even the cloth is only so so. Kinda feels like terry cloth to me. The Blonde leather is better so I will go for that. Finally out of the 4 cars I sat in 2 had trim problems. I actually had a piece of plastic on the rear passenger door pull pop out of place (I popped it back in) when I tried to shut the door. Still the 3.5se was such a blast to drive and great looking that I would buy the car anyway! Sorry for the long post.
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    I truly found this talk of and about mere tenths of a second and 5% HP increases in a family sedan discussion quite silly and pointless!

    Anything over 150-160 is already more than adequate with a full load of passengers and some stuff in the back. Discussing and comparing cars within a couple of dozen HP of each other in the over-200HP segment strikes me as childish playground boasting games!

    And car companies are playing off and profitting from this mentality!

    I feel that handling and comfort, and overall build quality and reliability are WAY more important than a few HP.

    My $.02
  • oac3oac3 Posts: 373
    I am glad to see some realism on the basic facts about a Honda and an Altima, coming out here on this forum. Just what I had been saying all along.

    maxamillion: you'd wait till next year for the '03 Honda before buying, eh ? IMO, that is a smart move. If the '03 Honda gets a 220+hp, that will be a real winner, when you throw in its quality interior materials, solid build quality, great fit and finish and undeniable great re-sale. It will beat the '02 Alty hands down. Unless... Nissan were to take input from forum like this instead of BusinessWeek and others praising it to high heavens, without pointing out the obvious.... The obvious ? It's been well debated here already...

    nafrong: where have the Maxima gone ? Sold, of course. People are already realising the greater "value" in the quality workmanship of the Max over the shoddy materials in the high priced Alty ! and savvy buyers are going with the better put together.

    ahossa: you captured the essence of several of us who have looked at the Alty, svelt new design and all, and have come to similar conclusions based on similar observations. maxamillion put it very well when he said: "... Nissan has a great product on their hands, it's just that Ghosn was too cheap to give a very nice car, a very high quality interior.."

    Me I am going to wait till the '03 versions of the Alty and Honda come out. If Nissan does the right thing, I'd want the Alty 3.5 SE with manual tranny, my kinda car..., if the price is right. Otherwise, I just might buy the old-reliable Honda and save a little bundle instead...
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I bought the Altima. With the new Accord coming out and the new Mazda 6, things should get interesting. Haven't seen the new Accord yet but the Mazda 6 looks real sharp. http://www.km77.com/marcas/mazda/6_02/galeria.asp
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Why can't a $25-35,000 family sport sedan (Altima 3.5 SE, Maxima SE, and I-35 Sport) have 240 or 255 HP? They get decent EPA ratings of around 20/26. Better than hordes of SUVs and minivans with far less HP! And they are smaller and lighter!

    Before going after serious sport sedans, I say ban any and all behemouth, gas guzzling unsafe to drive at speed pickups, SUVs, and minivans. Just this afternoon I watched a guy in his 2002 Ford Explorer pull out of a gas station like a bat out of Hades. He was accelerating and turning at same time. He came darn close to tipping that SUV over. He looked a little ashen white as he sped by me in the opposite direction. Wouldn't happen in any 240 or 255 HP Nissan sport sedan.

    Power, performance, handling, ride, build quality, fuel economy, and reliability are NOT mutually exclusive. A good car in this price range should deliver all or nearly all. Think BMW 3 Series does a good job in this regard. It sells well with little or no discounting.
  • stanny1stanny1 Posts: 962
    You can add FWD cars to your list also. www.rearwheeldrive.org
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    FWD, RWD, AWD, 4WD. Too many nice and great FWDers out there. Even sport sedans. Acura 3.2TL Type S, for one. Didn't you say something recently about Volvo being Ford's affordable worldwide premium car? Isn't the S80 FWD? Didn't it replace the RWD 960? Saab also FWD. Good Audis. And more.
  • stanny1stanny1 Posts: 962
    I really respect your car knowledge for a young guy. Yes, the Acura 3.2TL is a great value, even though it's Accord underpinnings are short term. I don't know about the S80 with it's GM tranny. That's a straight six turned sideways and the serviceability of that arrangement bothers me. If you are going to keep a car for a long time, it could be expensive. Volvo had a great record with the old RWD arrangement and the Aisan-Warner automatics. We'll have to see on that one.
    The Altima 2.5 seems like a great value but they sure want blood for the 3.5. I always liked the Maxima a lot more.
  • gerapaugerapau Posts: 211
    My comments re the rear suspension on the Maxima were made to ateixeira who stated that he drove the Maxima "back to back with a Camry and a Passat, and it didn't seem to ride and handle as well". The Maxima, in any version, handles better then either of those two cars. Maybe my comments should have been more along the lines of; The Maxima SE, which has a non-independant rear suspension, handles better then most cars in its class. It handles better then the Camry, better then the Accord, better then the Passat (all in V6 models).


    You and others tend to dismiss the Max's handling simply because of its rear suspension while the handling of the Max continues to receive praise from the press. Take a look at an article here on Edmunds http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/roadtests/spin/45264/article.html. They state that "Handling is precise with good feedback coming through the leather-wrapped wheel, and so neutral was the Maxima's behavior while tackling the twisties that it was hard to tell which wheels were propelling the car. Given the car's athletic handling, one would expect a much firmer ride than that delivered by the SE's supple suspension, which absorbed all but the most severe bumps in the road." Another article here at Edmunds is http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/roadtests/firstdrive/46808/article.html where they state "Responsive steering, flat cornering and neutral behavior when unraveling a twisty road make one realize that a ripping sport sedan needn't cost $40,000". Yet another article praising the Max's handling is http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/00maxima.htm where they state "It is also the back roads that will reveal the excellent cornering ability of this car. Without getting into the technical details of the suspension improvements, it is enough to say the Maxima is rock solid in the corners." I could probably find many other articles that praise the handling of the Maxima but people like you would probably still dismiss it as a sedan with a minivan's suspension.

  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    I can honestly say that the Maxima is just too soft for my tast. I drove the 3.5 Auto and I was very impressed. That engine is very smooth and strong. When you are on the highway and you tap the gas you get an imediate response from the wheels. The maxima felt like there was more of a lag. Roaming around the twisties I felt very at home in the Altima. It was tight and responsive. On the highway the torque and acceleration was wonderful. Passing is as easy as tapping the foot. The car mags are right though on the highway there was a bit of a straigh line dead zone in the steering. However at 100 MPH that thing is smooth as silk. The one thing that reall bothered me is that as a passenger I couldn't see ANY of the instruments. Maybe that's just the Type A in me. (GRIN)
  • <<Tom (last name unknown) from American Honda already said that the next Accord will beat the Altima in HP and Torque.>>

    Honda with high torque? LOL. What's next, a Honda that has a V8? (little dig on Honda's pathetic "luxury" division that offers a FWD V6 flagship)

    <<And check this: the current Altima with manual does 0-60 in about 6.9 to 7 secs.>>

    Where did you get those numbers? Every review I've seen puts the manual 3.5SE at 60 in 6.30 or lower.

    < The current old model Accord does that in 7.6 secs WITH AN AUTOMATIC and 40 fewer HP.>>

    Yeah over a second difference. Oh, and it's an Automatic. You can't and won't be able to get an Accord with a V6 and stick. Honda has no reason to release a stick model as they appeal to the middle-of-the-road sedan buyer, not the performance minded.

    << That's just about a half-sec diff b/w the two. The next Accord will be pretty incredible - >>
    New math. ?

    <<anyone trying to discredit them will get a black eye next fall. Even if by chance the Accord comes out with less than 240 (say, 230), it will run past the Altima. Honda's engineering will see to that. If you doubt me, ...>>

    I doubt you. Honda can work wonders with its cute little inline 4s but I just don't think Honda's all that when it comes to making engines with the torque. VTEC's a neat gimmick though.

    ashutoshsm:

    <<Anything over 150-160 is already more than adequate with a full load of passengers and some stuff in the back.>>

    I don't know how or where you drive but for me, and my current car, more than the driver slows the vehicle down. I've got 155HP and nearly the same torque. Yet, the car with a full compliment of passengers does no zip to 80 on a freeway merge. For my money, anything less than 200 is useless.

    << Discussing and comparing cars within a couple of dozen HP of each other in the over-200HP segment strikes me as childish playground boasting games!>>

    Or is smacks of people who like to enjoy their cars and not be mere passengers.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Shoot me your email address. RE; Drew
    bradshawg2@aol.com
  • lsclsc Posts: 210
    of course 240HP is useless, if you are looking for just a people mover. the Altima is supposed to be fun to drive. Granted it's not rear-wheel drive but it's still plenty fun to drive.

    The acceleration is exhilarating... I took a couple of friends out for a 'fun' drive. Both of them almost wet their pants. The V-6 is unbelievable...we didn't know it would have so much pull at 80mph.

    the maxima is a great value... i just got the brochure, and the interior is very nice.

    it's kind of funny though, because I remember in 2000 when people were saying that the material in the 2000 Max was a grade below the '99.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd like to see Nissan offer two things: AWD and a wagon bodystyle.

    Think about it - Honda and Toyota have left this niche empty, in order to sell profitable SUVs. The market has been left for Subaru and Audi for years.

    We took a road trip this weekend in our sedan, and have to leave several items we would normally take with us at home. Our stroller alone takes up half the trunk. No wonder families flock to the wagon bodystyles SUVs offer.

    Wagons can be good looking, too. Look at the Protege5, the Lexus Sportcross, and the Mazda 6 wagon. You could even argue they look better than the sedans.

    AWD would kill any torque steer, offer all season traction, and it would make the perfect excuse to get all those folks out of their view-blocking monster trucks. I think we'd all like that.

    -juice
  • jimsxnjimsxn Posts: 108
    I used to think same as you...being a great proponent of cars over SUVs. But a little birdie told me that AWD adds very little value except in extreme conditions and accounts for significant decrease in performance due to increase in weight. If you look at the performance of 165 HP Sube sedans or 180HP Audi 1.8T, you would understand. There has to be another way of cutting down torque steer.

    As far as wagons are concerned...I am all with you.
  • AWD and a wagon? That would be heaven. And I bet they'd sell well, too. Are you listening, Nissan? On the Honda Accord site the buzz is that there might be an Accord wagon coming, but it is at least as much wishful thinking as prediction. After all the SUVs and minivans seen on our roads, a wagon looks downright sexy. If Nissan made a good wagon--preferably AWD--and really took safety issues seriously, it would have a lot going for it. People have been willing to pay incredible prices for Volvo wagons that then were a nightmare to own. Someone is going to come out with a nice-sized Japanese station wagon, and it might as well be Nissan.
  • It is apparent from your post that you don't have kids.

    You said:
    "Sell it as a safety issue. An mother-to-be will love that. Turn the suv safety issue on its head. Tell her she doesn't really want a poorly accelerating, poorly braking, sloppy handling tippy mobile that guzzles gas and money to boot. That would be dangerous and uneconomical as well.
    You need to start saving up if you're going to have a family. SUVs don't just typically cost more to buy, they also cost more to fuel, maintain, and insure."

    From this I gather you have not looked at the cost of insuring an SUV. My wife has a Sequoia. For arguments sake, say it cost $40K. I drive a '98 Camry, which cost $22K in June of 1998, now worth maybe 6-8K. The difference in costs to insure, 26$ per year. If I didn't have collision coverage, the Sequoia would be 400$ per year CHEAPER than my Camry. Apparently, the people in the insurance business think her Sequoia is a hell of a lot safer to be in than my Camry.

    You said:
    "If she's still balking on the size issue, bring some big bags and a baby stroller (borrow them if you have to) to the nearest dealership and show her how easily they all fit in the Altima's big trunk. Demonstrate with a car seat how there is plenty of room to maneuver it in and out of the spacious back seat."

    Have you done this? What kind of car seat do you have? When we put my daughter's Graco Coachrider in the middle of the back seat of my Camry, there is not enough room on either side to fit an adult for a ride longer than a run to the supermarket. I have not been inside the new Altima, but I cannot fathom it being a hell of a lot bigger than my Camry. And in terms of the trunk, pack up not just the stroller, but throw in her pack-n-play, the diaper bag, the clothes bag, the toy bag, your suitcase, your wife's suitcase, the toiletry bag, the gifts for grandma and the fruitcake for dessert. See how much room is left then. I know it because I have had to bring my daughter to Grandmas house in the Camry. My wife had to sit with the fruitcake on the floor the whole way. Can it be done, absolutely. But it sucks. Especially when the baby starts screaming for a bottle and her bottles were stupidly packed in the bag deepest in the trunk!

    Then you said:
    "I'm not sure why everyone's convinced they need suv, minivan, or even a wagon just because they have a kid. Actually, I do know why. It's because the auto industry has them convinced of this. If you're going to have several kids, yeah you will need something with more seating room, but otherwise, c'mon. It's really a matter of want, not need. Yeah, maybe it's a little easier with the extra size, but look at all of the negative trade-offs. Heck, my folks raised three boys with nothing more than midsized sedans. I don't remember complaining about a lack of room."

    Exactly. My parents Torino wagon could fit a pool table in the back. But they also didn't have carseat laws, backseat shoulder belt laws, booster seats and all the other crap that we have to deal with today.

    Lastly, you said:
    "I do remember having some fun driving a few of those sedans doin' stuff that would have put me upside down by the side of the road had they been suv's. I'm with you on this one, behind you 100%. Stick to your guns, then give me the courage to do the same with my wife!"

    Exactly, try and pass that by your wife, and she'll chew you up like last night's dinner. Although it may be a way to guarantee that I won't have to be the one to drop her off at daycare anymore...

    It sounds to me like your post to the I don't like SUV's board was mistakenly put here.

    Crapgame
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Best way to compare IRS vs non-IRS is to use the same platform. Just read all the reviews comparing the IRS Mustang Cobra to the non-IRS Mustang GT. There is a huge difference.

    There are too many factors, including highly subjective ones, and too many inherent differences between the cars to objectively compare the Maxima's handling to a Camry or Accords. Are we talking base model or sport? Manual or automatic? With or without TC? TC on or off? Size and weight differ. They have different tires. And different suspension set ups.

    A much more aggressively set up Maxima SE 6-speed manual with LSD will likely have better objective handling results (skidpad and slalom) than a base Accord or Camry V-6 automatic. But the real difference would be between a Maxima with and without IRS. Guess Altima 3.5 SE is closest standin, but it has different, less aggressive tires!

    Think this is why Infiniti G35 is going to IRS. Lack of IRS really stands out in a serious Sport Sedan! Can't find too many besides Maxima and Nissan did it due to lack of funds in mid-1990s. De-contenting the suspensions really changed the beast. The 1990-1994s were sport sedans.
  • cyranno99cyranno99 Posts: 419
    go down to your VW or Subaru dealer :) Nissan used to have a Maxima wagon... hardly a seller. I doubt that you'll see a wagon from Nissan in the next few years....
  • lgoldinlgoldin Posts: 90
    I am not sure that the topic you are talking about is related purely to Altima, but it is interesting anyway. I have 2 kids of 11 and 6 years old and haven't seen yet the need of anything bigger than a good sedan. I needed some more room when I was moving, but it doesn't happen too often lately, so renting a cargo van solves a problem. I agree that with a carseat in the middle of a rear bench you can't fit adult there. But you always can put a seat to the side. I am talking about space only, not safety. If you have more than one kid, some of them will be close to a door anyway. Also I can't understand why anybody going to grandma should bring all kids "equipment" with them? We go camping/hiking quite a lot and I always could fit all my stuff into trunk of my Altima 98, which is smaller than 02.
    It is not that I don't agree with you. I am just trying to understand why people NEED a van or SUV to carry less than 3 kids to school or any other activities. Are you willing to create a separate topic for this? I would be interesting to see opinions. I might be missing something.
  • Dont be such a punk. I wasn't even talking to you and you're a punk.

    Good to see you were able to address almost every one of my points and conveniently left out others. Honda and Toyota can get more out of less with their cars. How do you explain the Lexus LS430 beating the Q45 in 0-60 with less HP? The easy answer is better gearing, but the real answer is better engineering.

    As for Honda - they concentrate on I4s because they're more efficient, and if you think getting 120HP per liter is not a great engineering achievement, then let's see Nissan do it.

    Honda's V8 is coming out in the next RL and NSX. Sure, a V6 in the RL is underachieving, but that's soon to be remedied. If you think Honda can only build I4s, you're ignorant.
  • I was replying to a prior poster. This argument has been completely hashed out in the "I don't like SUV's...." topic. Among the spewing and trolling in there are a few worthwhile posts. But to keep it brief, I'll just add the following:

    I will not put a car seat on the side seat of a sedan. In my wife's Seq? Possibly, but I wouldn't like it. At this point, we only have one child, but when the next comes along, the first one's booster seat will go into the middle of the third row. When we go to grandmas house (Grandma does not have a child-friendly house) everything that could possibly be needed goes. You've heard of Murphy's Law? Well, Murphy lives with me. So we have to bring everything. And I mean everything. We managed a couple times in the Camry before we got the Seq., but we were packed like sardines, and everytime you hit the brakes, diapers and bottles etc. went flying around the cabin. So is the SUV essential, absolutely not.

    To me, what it boils down to is safety. Speaking from experience in frequent commuting through the metro NYC area, drivers are a lot quicker to cut me off in my Camry than they are to cut me off when I drive the Seq. My insurance company says my Seq is safer for my family. And if my wife is going to be hit by some kid flying around in some souped up rice-rocket, then I want more steel around her to give her the best odds I can. Them's the absolute truth.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What you give up in a straight line you more than make up for in better traction, more neutral handling, and no torque steer. I'm referring to full-time AWD systems, though, not part-time 4WD.

    240hp is more than enough, maybe even too much for FWD w/open differential. Despite the Altima's too-light steering, the wheel still tugs when you turn and accelerate. AWD would tame it so that you could apply that power effectively in just about any situation.

    At least give us a limited slip differential. The cheaper Spec V gets it. Traction control is another alternative. But neither does all that AWD does.

    As for wagons, times have changed. Remember, people are spoiled by all the space in their SUVs, and a sedan may be a hard sell for someone that could haul a dish washer home in the box. That Maxima wagon was a box on wheels. New wagons are far more stylish.

    Passat has 170hp-190hp, AWD, but not the reliability you expect from Nissan. Subaru has 165hp-212hp and is really the only other option. You guys don't think a 240hp wagon styled to excite could win some market share for Nissan?

    Look at what AWD+big power has done for Subaru. The WRX has helped the Impreza increase sales 200%. I'm sure Nissan would be more than happy to see the Altima suffer the same fate!

    -juice
  • I think the reason wagons have not sold in the past was because they were ugly (box on wheels) and everyone wanted an SUV. Now is the time. Make it a sylish sport wagon (really a 5 door hatchback). The WRX wagon and the Saab 9-3 and the sportcross are good examples (although the Saab is a nightmare mechanically). I would by one in a minute. The are so much more useful.
    But lets have manual transmissions and good V-6s available. Dont put everyone in a "category".
    I would prefer FWD or RWD. AWD sucks up too much gas. They still have work to do before i buy into that.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My guess is the stylish Protege5 wagon will outsell its sedan cousin. We'll see.

    OK, RWD is fine with me, at least for those not in the snow belt. G35 looks good.

    -juice
  • lgoldinlgoldin Posts: 90
    Point is taken. But I am wondering if SUV collided with a SUV is any safer than sedan vs sedan. If not, then you just take a some part of a hazard out of equation. Plus you can't ignore 18 wheelers anyway. What do you think?
  • Very mature. Regardless...

    <<Dont be such a punk. I wasn't even talking to you and you're a punk.>>

    It's an open forum. You want to carry on a private dialogue, do so via e-mail, otherwise accept other people will respond to your postings.

    << Honda and Toyota can get more out of less with their cars. How do you explain the Lexus LS430 beating the Q45 in 0-60 with less HP? The easy answer is better gearing, but the real answer is better engineering. >>

    This is proven by...oh, no proof. You prefer Honda and Toyota. To each his own.

    <<As for Honda - they concentrate on I4s because they're more efficient,>>

    Actually, it's their bread and butter. Think about it. How many USDM Hondas sell with V6s or higher (if Honda released a V*, lol)? A marginal portion of the Accords sell with V6s and you've got the Minivan. Over at Honda's "luxury" division they sell quite a few V6s, but I think even you would agree that the majority of Honda's revenues come from cars pushed by I4s - RSX, Civic, Accord, Prelude.

    << and if you think getting 120HP per liter is not a great engineering achievement, then let's see Nissan do it.>>

    Who said Honda had poor engineers? I actually praised their engineering skill, "Honda can work wonders with its cute little inline 4s."

    <<Honda's V8 is coming out in the next RL and NSX.>>

    We'll see. At this moment it's vaporware.

    << Sure, a V6 in the RL is underachieving, but that's soon to be remedied.>>

    After close to 15 years of offering a "luxury" division without a RWD, V* car. Wow, on the ball.

    << If you think Honda can only build I4s, you're ignorant. >>

    Never said that either. You should respond to what's WRITTEN. :)
  • Where did I insult you personally? Thin skin you have.

    Anyway, you got one thing right - I prefer Hondas and Toyotas but if Nissan had gotten everything right in the Altima, I'd pull for it. Make no mistake, its performace numbers are great for a family sedan, but look at the other factors - quality and price, and it's a tough sell in its segment. If Nissan thinks performance alone will sell (aside from its Toyota-derivative styling), they're wrong. So far all I've seen out of the Altima is a poorly-conceived marketing campaign just like the Q45's.

    Sure Acura is lacking in a RWD V8 car - but look at it this way. The original Q was a performace machine, but got killed in the market. Infiniti's only decent seller is the I35, and its new Q is doing badly. The TL is the #2 luxury seller (second only to the Town Car - go figure), beating Lexus, BMW and M-B. So market forces play by a set of rules that Nissan/Infiniti are not playing to very well. And I like an underdog - but not an underachieving one.
  • lgoldinlgoldin Posts: 90
    I don't know guys if you saw this http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/bm/ccoy02-2.htm. What I don't get is that 2.5 Altima makes 0-100kmh in 9.4s, same as Protege 5. It was the case for 98-01 Altima's. 2.5L should be faster. Does anybody know any official numbers for 2.5L Altima?
This discussion has been closed.