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Nissan Altima



  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I test drove a Max SE auto the same day as the Altima. For some reason, the Maxima did not impress me with handling. It had strong pull though.

    Altima's turning and handling felt natural. I felt like I had already known the car beforehand.

    Maybe all that reading about the car on the Internet :)
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    Has anyone seen the November issue?

    They got a 0-60 time of 6.3 from a 3.5 w/5-speed

    They test 10 cars for less than $25K and the 3.5SE is one of them. The last page is a pros and cons page. 8 of 10 editors had cons about the steering, torque steer, over-boosted, lack of on-center feel.... 2 of 10 editors had cons about the interior, "plasticky monotone interior", "interior materials could be better"
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    And nearly every editor praised the engine. One editor's pro consisted solely of "Its engine" repeated 5 times.

    I found it sorta funny that while everyone on Internet message boards has been complaining about the interior, R&T didn't say much about it and complained more about torque steer and steering feel. I think the complaints resulted from the nature of their test, which involved a lot of high-speed running on a track with several flat-out sports cars (Camaro, Mustang, RSX-S).
  • A proud current owner of two Nissan cars. Got a chance to test drive 02 Altima twice and 02 Camry once. My observations are:

    1. As soon as I stepped into the 02 Altima S, I noticed the poor interior right away. There is no comparison between my 00 Maxima SE and 02 Altima S. The differences are like days and nights. Door handles are like toys. My 00 Maxima has soft leather (fake or real) touch everywhere, not 02 Altima. 00 Maxima SE is still much smoothier and has better feel of the drive than 02 Altima S. However, the car drives fine and very good for a 2.5 4 cyl. Keep in mind that I was not comparing with a 3.5 Altima V6 SE.

    2. 02 Camry LE 4 is noticeably quieter than 02 Altima S. Altima made loud noise in a little harder start. Wind noise is noticeable also. Both are very agile. I cannot tell the difference. But the Camry's interior is much more attractive to me. However, Altima's exterior is more attractive. For equally equipped Camry and Altima, I was quoted about the same price, although Camry's list price is much higher. I guess you buy an Altima if you want attention and you buy a Camry if you want comfort and interior quality and quiteness.

    3. Value-wise, it is a tough call. Camry, for the same price, should have a higher resell value and there is no doubt about Camry's reliability. I am debating between 02 Camry, 02 Altima, and 02 Maxima. 02 Maxima is attractive because you can get a very good deal and it is made in Japan, which means something to me. Only more expensive Japanese imports are made in Japan. I think you know what cars I am talking about. The price difference (as of today) between a Maxima and a compatible Altima is very little.

    4. Because of supply and demand, the salesman was NOT eager to sell me the Altima. I got more attention for Maxima and Camry. The Toyota dealer seems to be willing to deal. But Camrys are still selling quite well.

    Just my observations based on test drives.
  • gerapaugerapau Posts: 211
    The front legroom in the Maxima is identical to that in the Altima. Also, keep in mind that if the situation is the same here as it is in the US (I can't say if it is since I am not currently in the market) you should be able to get the Max at a substantial reduction off MSRP while you will probably pay close to MSRP for the Altima. This, plus the fact that the residual is slightly better on the Max then it is on the Altima means that the two cars may be much closer in price to lease then you may think. If you use Nissan Canada's web site to check out the lease costs of the two cars you will see the following:

    If you pay MSRP on the base Altima 3.5SE it will cost you $406 per month for a 48 month lease with 24,000km per year and 0 down. If you can get $3,000 off on the base Maxima SE(I did when I bought mine and I have known others that have also) it will only cost you $419 per month for the same terms. With only $2,000 off MSRP the Max will cost $443 per month to lease (again, the same terms).

    While you may think that the Max is not worth $6,200 more then the Altima, the difference in lease costs is probably much closer then you may think. The 6 speed, more powerful engine, limited slip differential, HID headlights, heated front seats and steering wheel, auto dimming rearview mirror and side impact airbags (all of which are standard on the base Max SE and not on the base Altima SE) are worth the extra few dollars per month for me. I would like it though if Nissan gave the Maxima a fully independent rear suspension like the Altima (although in the 2 years I have owned my Max I have only noticed the down side of the Max's suspension a few times).
  • I own a 2001 Maxima SE , cloth with automatic transmission. I love it. Have had it exactly 1 year now, and the car has just under 17,000 miles. I had a problem with the CD player in the 1st month of ownership, and it was replaced. The only other problem was a faulty service engine light that came on and stayed on. The dealer reprogrammed the computer and it hasn't reappeared.

    My wife has slowly taken over the Max, and I have been relegated to driving her 98 Altima SE. Great car mechanically, absolutely zero problems, but very slow and boring compared to the Max. It has 69K miles, and I am ready for a new ride. Here's my dilemna:

    Should I buy a loaded 2002 Altima 3.5 SE for 2% over invoice (around $27K), which I have been quoted by the local Autonation dealer?

    Or should I buy a 2002 Maxima GLE for invoice at the same dealer for $26K?

    The Maxima has more power, is more luxurious, and is a better deal. However, the Altima is sportier and won't be redesigned in 2004 like the Max. I really am torn and any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
  • When I leased my new Galant in 99 I had the dealer put in an after market leather package to upgrade a rather mediocre cloth interior. The cost of the upgrade was only about $8/mo. and was a huge improvement stylistically to the interior.

    This also enabled me to keep the general price of the lease down by not having to go to a higher end model with a lot of equipment that I didn't want or need.

    I would suggest that anyone interested in the Altima, but put off by the interior consider this as an option.

    I was very satisfied with the improved look and given my car's somewhat BMW like exterior this has made me feel like I'm driving a much more upmarket European inport.
  • yjguyyjguy Posts: 3
    Good points. Maybe I'll head back to the dealer after lunch tomorrow and try out a Maxima. Any idea when the 6 speed will hit our shores?
  • lsclsc Posts: 210
    Instead of delaying any longer, I bought the Altima SE automatic. The only options I got were the sunroof, floor mats, rear spoiler and the micron filter.

    I would have preferred the manual but the automatic with the options that I was looking for was good enough. The only thing I wish I had was the auto-dimming rearview mirror (maybe I'll buy it after market for $179)

    The V-6 engine made me forget and interior short comings. I admit that the quality and the materials fall short but the seats are very comfortable and its very roomy.

    The suspension is also an excellent design, definitely a smoother ride than the Acura TL AND it handles better. The chassis is very rigid and it's very quiet. I love the ride...and the standard stereo is good. I'm going to eventually replace the speakers and add an amp but that's down the road.

    I test drove all the variations of the Altima as well as the 2001 Maxima. The 2002 Maxima I didn't drive but I'm sure there is only so much Nissan can do with the older chassis. I love the interior of the Maxima but the roominess and the superior chassis of the Altima outweigh the interior material quality. At least that's where my priority lies.

    The look of the Altima was the deciding factor. The Altima looks much sportier and looks futuristic. I never came around to the design of the Maxima and I hope they do a good job in the redesign.

    That's also a good point that the Maxima will be redesigned in a couple of years but I really don't think you can go wrong with either car. It all depends on your priorities.

    Just keep in mind the age of the chassis. As good as the Maxima's is... the Altima is that much better. It truly is a remarkable combination of handling and ride...something that the Maxima can say in a couple of years (w/ a better interior) but not now. And the best thing about my Altima is the V-6. Clearly better than the TL's 3.2 liter engine combined with a smoother tranny (even though it's a 4-speed). Don't get me wrong, the TL's engine is awesome but the Altima's 3.5 is one of the best.

    I can't drive the speed limit! help!!! :-)
  • hawks1hawks1 Posts: 57
    I've test driven the '02 2.5 (4 cylinder) automatic and was very impressed. And today I had the pleasure of driving an SE automatic. What a terrific car - the V-6 was unbelievable with its quickness. Shortcomings with the interior understood, this is still one hell of a car. Handling and suspension were superb, especially with those big 17" wheels. The tranny was super smooth, both up and down. And what a beautiful design, tremendously sharp! The dealer I visited today sold only Nissan's and I noticed he had more available Altima's - both V-6's and 4 cylinder's. The dealers that sell multiple brands seem to have been given a lesser allocation. Some in my area were given no V-6's at all. I did see a silver SL today outfitted in charcoal leather interior. It seemed much more quality than some of their other interiors. However, with this car it's not the interior that matters, rather it's all of the other great positives that it has.
  • Could you tell me more about the altima interior? What makes it seem cheap? I only briefly sat in one. Will take more time for a test drive in a while. What I saw, I liked. Can't wait for the test drive. Seems like some competition for the maxima.
  • For lindathomp200: this business of the Altima interior is highly subjective, as you'll quickly learn by reading these posts. The biggest problem most people have is with the big expanse of cheap plastic on the dash, something Nissan wants us to think of as "titanium accents." It is just cheap plastic, and looks it. Some folks think the fake wood looks even more fake than usual. Some folks think the leather looks cheap and fake, while others object to a perceived cheapness in the cloth. Mostly, it's the dash that puts people off.

    Again, this is highly personal and subjective. Get in an Altima and form your own impressions. Most folks love the car so much they are ready to overlook the interior. I find this an interesting issue in car design: how could Nissan get so many things so right and then blow it on this one area so badly?
  • I've been to my Nissan dealer 3 different times to check out the Altima. The first time, I mostly just noticed how huge the interior is, and I'm 6'1". The driver's seat goes back so far at its maximum, that even *I* can't reach the foot pedals comfortably (especially to use a clutch, and I'm planning on the 5 speed V6 ;)

    I sorta noticed the interior on the first visit - I thought it wasn't too bad, maybe could be made of something stronger. The second visit is when I actually got to test drive. I also got a nice long look at the interior, and the part that bugs me so much is the plastic area that surrounds the stereo (that whole "middle console".) It looked and felt very cheap to me, and started giving me my first doubts about actually buying one (especially at MSRP...)

    The third time was when I went in to get my coupon validated for the free watch for taking a test drive. I had a few weeks in between visits to re-assess the interior, and they had just gotten some new cars on the lot. This time it seemed a bit stronger than before, although it still *looks* fairly cheap...I believe that if I were to buy it, I'd have to get it at a fairly good discount off of MSRP. It's *too* cheap to buy at full sticker, but not if we can make a good deal.

    As for the engine...I have a post on here from awhile back, where I test drove both a V6 auto and a 5 speed 4 cylinder. The V6 has boatloads of power, and the 4 cylinder with stick is pretty amazing too.

    Overall, I'd say the interior isn't bad - I certainly haven't noticed anything more than the center console. The rest of the interior seems just fine to me. Lots of headroom (*even with the sunroof*), tons of legroom, and an "ok" center console.

  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    I think some of the comments about a cheap interior here might be fixed easily by Nissan. Just this morning I went out to get the mail only to find a gigantic container, like a jumbo size of oatmeal. Inside was the full Altima brochure, CD, and letter, it seemed to be missing whatever "Test-drive Offer" was supposed to be in there. Well, needless to say, junk like this costs money and I think they spent a little too much on it.

    As for me, we have a 2000 Chrysler 300M that we'll have had for a year in 6 days. We've put 15,000 miles on it and it's a very nice car, not too mention absolutely gorgeous. It stickered for a little over $32,000 but we got it for $27,000 after rebates. Rides very well, is roomy, has a great interior, and handles nicely. We really like it (most of the time). It's had its problems (ask anyone on the 300M board) but is overall, a very reliable vehicle. Despite the wife (main owner) who keeps saying off and on that she needs more room and wants something bigger (an SUV mainly), we still have it and it should remain for quite some time. However, I am intrigued by these new Altima's, mainly the 3.5 SE. I watched it on Motorweek and it looks really fast and sporty. Our 300M is okay in this regard, but is not all that fast for having 253 horses and it's only further strangled by one of the worst transmissions made. Personally, as long as it's all solidly put together and doesn't rattle or creak like our 300M so often does, I don't think that there's all that much to complain about. What's the noise level in this car like? I noticed that it has Bridgestone tires, and I don't see why it would be all that bad especially compared to the lousy and very noisy and bouncy Crapyear Eagle LS's on our M.

    Anyway, cheap materials and all, I think the Altima has a lot going for it and a lot of you know it. Oh, by the way, who else here got this big oatmeal-like package?
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    hey my wife got an SUV and she has less room than my 300M. Watch out for them wifes.

    I got the oatmeal package. Actually I was at work and wife opened the door and the package was on the front step. She freaked out like a few other people on this board, in light of anthrax incidents (and we do live in South FL). I don't get scared that easily.

    Hey, I test drove a 3.5 Altima, and it was very nice. Not as classy of an interior design as 300M, no autostick. But it accelerates better and brakes are really biting hard (my 3-year old 300M's brakes have gotten a bit soft). It turns very nicely, I was able to take sharp turns while doing a 4-wheel slide, just like I do in 300M.

    I did not notice any excessive noise. But I noticed kind of a faint metallic ringing noise coming from under the hood. Similar to the echo when you put a basketball near your ear and slap it.

    Overall my impression was that this car is a Japanese 300M minus classy gauges, minus passenger 8-way power seat, minus memory seats, minus Autostick, minus 360Watt stereo with 11 speakers.

    Why don't you test drive one and we will trade notes?
  • Hey Ruski,

    I didn't know you lived in S. Florida. like myself. I live in Pembroke Pines. How about you??. I also share your interest in jet fighters, I try to go the Air and Sea show when it comes around once a year. BTW.. nice shot of that Sukhoi....beautiful plane. My favorite is the F-16 fighting falcon.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just drove an SE V6 5 speed with cloth and moonroof yesterday, thought I'd hop in and share my impressions.

    First impression is on the styling, very positive. HIDs are gorgeous, and tail lights distinctive. Very handsome, looks sleek. 17" rims are sweet.

    I thought the interior was fine. People are used to finding bargain Altimas for $15k, so perhaps it's sticker shock, or expectations for a sedan in a different price class. The SE I drove was $25k, but a leather lined automatic was $29,300 and $31,300 with a markup. A bit ridiculous, but people seem to be paying a lot less.

    I only didn't like the Pontiac-orange guages, and 0-70mph takes up only a 1/4 of the speedo dial, making it hard to read your speed. Other than that the seats were comfy and the cloth, grippy. I liked the textured dash, the leather steering wheel, the ignition on the dash. The interior is cavernous, the rear seats too, only they lack adjustable head rests. Great visibility inside, too, with tiny blind spots. Roomy trunk with big opening.

    OK, so let's drive the thing. The shifter is kind of stiff, a little vague. C&D said the Spec V had a "guess again" shifter and I think they used the same one here. Very out of character for a Nissan, IMO.

    The clutch was nice and easy to modulate. Steering overboosted, until you acclerate in a turn and it freezes up like the power steering pump can't keep up. Torque steer is unavoidable in a front driver with this much power, I guess.

    Great handling otherwise. Not too much understeer, which was nice. Those tires are grippy, and the ride was well balanced too.

    The engine is a gem, definitely the high point. Good low end torque, good high end power, smooth all the way. It's one quick car, if you can wrestle the shifter into the right gear.

    My wife's 626 is getting old and I'm starting to look for a replacement. Given she'll probably never notice the torque steer, and prices ought to come down to earth, I'll let her take a spin to see what she thinks. But can they do something about that shifter, please?

  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I am in Weston. We are neighbors.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    I test drove the Altima today, and noted the following.

    The 4 cylinder engine was very smooth and the car rode nicely. It had plenty of pickup. I hated the automatic tranny - but it was no worse than most (I like to choose my own gears). Nice and relaxed on the highway (only 2300 rpms at 60). Very quiet around town, but noticed tire noise on the highway. There was lots of legroom front and back.

    I didn't like the way the gauges were in tunnels, if you weren't looking straight at them you couldn't se the whole thing. I did like the gauge lighting very easy to see with lots of contrast - much better then that low contrast titanium that is getting trendy.

    I was absolutely appaled at the lack of headroom in the rear. The car slopes so severely towards the back that it cuts way into headroom. I am not that tall (about 6'-0) but had to turn my head very severely to fit in. It would need at least 2-3 inches more room for me to fit. The front was fine with a couple of inches over my head.

    Overall this car was very nice, but the rear head room is a deal breaker (it barely has more room than my 3 door Integra). The whole reason I am moving to a 4 door is for more room in the back. Being able to cross my legs doesn't do much good if my chin is touching my chest. I guess style wins over function.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Did it have a moonroof?

    I'm am 6' even, and I fit OK in the back, even with a moonroof. Without one you'd probably fit.

  • jskhojskho Posts: 107
    In the "build your own" section of, you cannot get ABS on a 2.5S with convenience package unless you get sunroof and Bose. Is that true?
    Also, you cannot get a 5sp SE with leather...
    I hope these are not true.
    Any idea?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, the only 5 speed SE on the lot where I went was indeed a cloth model.

    But cloth is grippier than leather.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    It didn't have a moonroof - can't imagine what it would be like if that was the case. I have a long torso so I probably have the sitting height of a 6'2" or 6'3" person, so that may be part of the problem, I also don't like to slouch.

    This is part of the reason why I usually like wagons. The roof stays straight over the back seat, plus tons more cargo space. With no drawbacks to speak of. Wish more companies would make wagons instead of those behemoths they try to convince people they need.
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    Not sure about the 2.5S, but I've sat in two 3.5SE's with leather. I acutally haven't seen an SE without leather around here.

    The configurator at NissanDriven is wrong about a lot of the options requirements. I suggest using something like Kelly Blue Book instead.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree about the wagon. You get 4 times the cargo capacity and more head room to boot.

    I'd also like to see AWD offered as an option. More and more competitors are offering this option (Subaru, VW, Audi, Jaguar, BMW, M-B, etc.)

  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    The 2004 Maxima is rumored to have AWD. Apparently the Altima platform can support it.
  • Where did you test drive the Altima??. If it was Maroone Nissan here in the Pines, that's where I got my Maxima.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I went to Plantation Nissan. They have new car inventory on their website, with details. So I knew ahead of the game (and afterwards) what I was driving.
    check for youself

    They were very nice. How's Maroone Nissan?

    I do like this new Altima, but I keep having this thought in the back of my mind - they may make it even better next year. Why not? They won't have to worry about canniballizing Maxima' sales, they will have learned from customers' complaints...
    what do you think?

    But whatever I get I will probably have for a few years. Which means that I won't have the new Altima for a few years.

    I don't know what to do. I will probably go for the most acceleration and value for the buck - Grand Prix GTP.
  • This issue of how quickly Nissan will move to improve Altima interiors is interesting. To judge by consumer reactions, you'd assume they would hop right on it for the 2003 Altimas. But remember that Nissan has experienced such sluggish sales until the Altima came along that some observers expected them to disappear. If people go on buying this version of the Altima, Nissan will be tempted to shut its ears about the chintzy interior and go on banking our checks.

    The hottest cars in the cute ute sector in recent months have been the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute. Sales are hot in spite of an embarrasing number of recalls and quality problems. Folks who own these cars love them but universally howl about the shifter, which sticks out right over the radio controls. Ford/Mazda obviously made a huge mistake here. Guess what? The second edition of these cars is unchanged.

    I wouldn't take it for granted that the Altima interiors will be upgraded in one year. Maybe two or three.
  • ateixiera: Lucky...we don't have any V6 5 speeds at our dealer yet :-/ About the shifter (I tested the 2.5SL 5 speed), that's the kinda shifter that I like. It kinda "pops" into the gear you want, without having to keep pushing forward till you can't push anymore...

    dudleyr: I'm 6'1", and I had plenty of headroom in the back seat. I was actually pretty surprised, cos there usually *isn't* as much room in the rear. The front seats, even with the sunroof, the headroom was cavernous :)

    I don't know what "torque steer" is, but most of the reviewers gave that as a "CON" for the 3.5 Altima in the latest Road & Track magazine. What is it, and do we need to be concerned about it if we don't race the car around hairpin turns? :)

This discussion has been closed.