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Nissan Altima



  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    Check out this thread at It might help answer your question about the Altima vs. Passat.

    IMO, I wouldn't want to chip the 1.8T in the Passat. I know you read everywhere that it's safe, the engine is reliable, etc., but I just don't believe it. I plan to keep my Altima until it dies, so I would worry about long-term reliability of the chipped engine. Another issue I had was just overall reliability of VW products. They generally haven't fared as well as Nissans in the past.

  • imprtlvrimprtlvr Posts: 38
    Yea, in the case of the Passat anyway 2000 model year and before had some problems, but the 2002 is supposed to be much improved. They say it's like getting a BMW 3 series for 10k less. Chipping it does add heat(which leads to more wear), but that is solved by replacing the stock intercooler. I've talked to guys who've had their cars chipped for years with no problems, it just has to be done right. 85 additional lbs of torque and 45 more hp for only $500 can't be beat.
  • pathmax00pathmax00 Posts: 22
    I have the stock 200 Watt Bose system in my Y2K Max Gle and have not experienced any problems with the system. My car will be 3 years old this July and I have cranked up CD's and or the radio every day in it. I have a 30 minute drive to work so its getting alot of use!
  • jtdmd2bjtdmd2b Posts: 4
    I had been looking at the altima 3.5 5sp, Subaru WRX, and Passat 1.8 5sp for weeks. In Columbus, OH the manual transmissions are hard to find (maybe 1-2 per week). However, the dealerships had tons of Maxima SE 5spds on hand. The factory is giving huge dealer incentives. Mine has Bose, Heated everything (meridian), sunroof, floor mats, splash guards, and Front side air bags. Total MSRP was 28833 and I got it for 23833 with ~60 for other fees and 5.75% sales tax. Xenon headlights are standard equiptment.
  • imprtlvrimprtlvr Posts: 38
    Umm.....if you got a 5 speed Maxima, then you didn't get a new one. The new Maximas are 6 speed.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    importlvr: be sure to drive the 1.8T with the Tiptronice trans, I felt it was downright slow. The 5 speed manual was fine, but the auto is a slug IMO. I drove the 150hp version, so it may be a little better now.

    For an automatic, the V6 engine will be better suited because it makes more torque. Turbos have to spool up, and with a slow shifting auto tranny the problem is aggravated. I've heard you can also chip the VW tranny, but double your budget for chips.

    Plus, it's not fair to compare a loaded 3.5l Altima with a 1.8T Passat. The 4 cylinder Altima is on par with that engine.

    VW does have a very classy interior and a great overall car that is mod-friendly, but I'd buy it on its own merits, not because it's cheaper than a non-comparable Altima. I think the Passat comes with tiny 15" wheels, so I'd budget for rims and tires, too, plus the suspension is soft, so consider a set of coilovers or at the very minimum fatter sway bars.

    The catch? That's $2-3 grand in mods right there. That's a lot of changes to a brand new car to get it right, and you're still saddled with a 4 banger automatic.

  • lsclsc Posts: 210
    VW did a great job on the interior. The interior in the GLX (V6) has very handsome wood and a lot of little features that make it seem like a luxury car. i.e power folding side mirrors, rain sensing wipers, etc. Plus the materials used are excellent.

    The 1.8T's interior is also very nice but it lacks the luxury items that the V6 contains. i.e. climate control, power folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming mirror, no wood trim, etc. This make the 1.8T seem like a regular car. The materials may be nicer than the Altima, but it still seems like a regular car and nothing special.

    The worst thing about the Passat is what we all know, it's slow! very slow.

    I didn't feel the confidence that I have with my 3.5 SE, especially on the expressway when I have to make a quick pass.
  • pda97pda97 Posts: 91
    Since this car uses the same engine as the SE-R Spec V, is it safe to assume that it also requires premium unleaded fuel ? Your response will be greatly appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I thought CR said regular was fine for the 4 banger. Can anyone confirm? Any 2.5 owners want to check their owners manual?

  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    The 2.5 Altima uses regular fuel even though it has the same engine as the SE-R Spec V.

    From the Altima owner's manual, page 9-3:
    For 2.5L engine
    Your vehicle is designed to operate on unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of at least 87 AKI (Anti-Knock Index)."
  • On sunday my dad finally took me to look at some Altima's. My dad's trucks is just one payment from being payed off. When we pulled up to the dealer, we first looked at a fully loaded 3.5 se. It had every option imaginable for Altima and it was an Automatic. Went for $28,990. We then looked at a 2.5 s. This is the trim we will likely get. It had floor mats, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror for options. Went for $19,510. We sat in it and both agreed it was very good. Here are some thoughts I orgainized in the 5 minutes I spent in it. Note: we didn't drive the car but we will do this very soon.
    1. Very, very comfortrable seats. IMO, they were some of the best I've sat in. Lateral support was much better on cloth than on leather. Slippery leather, grippy, comfy cloth.
    2. Plastic interior? It WAS JUST FINE for the $19,500. For $29,000? Forget it.
    3. Friendly interior layout. Radio and and a/c controls were very well placed, and they were VERY, VERY well-put together. The build quality was miles ahead of the Alero and L-series we sat in.
    4. It's huge. Space in abundance.
    More to come soon.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Was that the MSRP? Remember you can deal way down. The higher the price, the more margin for haggling. If you get a 5 speed instead of the auto and deal, you're talking $25-26k or so.

    You gotta sample that engine, though.

  • pda97pda97 Posts: 91
    Many thanks to "afty" and "ateixeira" for their input. That really confuses the heck out of me how 2 cars, namely the Altima and SE-R Spec V, both having the same engine with the same output, would require different fuel grades. The people over at the SE-R V forum already confirmed the premium unleaded fuel req't. What's going on here ??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good catch. Maybe Nissan expects Spec V owners to drive harder, perhaps do more mods to the engine?

    Are the redlines the same? Is the output exactly the same, or are they tuned a little differently?

  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    I think the ECU in the Spec V is tuned differently. Doesn't the base SE-R run on regular?
  • pda97pda97 Posts: 91
    I got this from the official Nissan website:
    - The SE-R Spec V output is 175hp/180lb-ft @ 6000/4000rpm, respectively. Fuel economy is 21/28.
    - The Altima 2.5S output is 175hp/181lb-ft @ 6000/4000rpm, respectively. Fuel economy is 23/29.

    So even though the Altima is a much heavier car with a tiny bit more powerful engine running on regular unleaded fuel, it still get better gas mileage than the Sentra ??? I think I'm going back to engineering school ! Another thing, Nissan explicitly states that premium fuel is required for the V6 Altima, it doesn't say so for the 2.5L Altima. So this kinna confirms that the 2.5L doesn't need premium fuel. Similarly, no such statement is printed in the Sentra section. Does this mean that the SE-R V doesn't need premium fuel after all ?? A 4 cyl engine, unless turbocharged or supercharged, SHOULD NOT require premium fuel !!! This is dumb ! I'll have to drop by my local Nissan dealer and get some explanations on this issue.
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    Have a 94 Altima with flashing air bag light. Was told by another owner with similar problem that they had to replace the sensor/computer for $1,000. Anyone know if the light could indicate other than full computer replacement? Is there a danger of the air bag going off accidently? Can I pull fuse, if any, to stop flashing light and will this have any effect on air bag operation? Just looking for any options other than spending $1K at dealer. This car is third on family drive list and goes few places. However, I understand safety and maybe legal issues in getting it fixed. For any future Altima owners, like very much the new 2002, this car has been flawless to this point. 114K miles. Any help appreciated.
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    You can download the Altima Owner's Manual in PDF format here:

    The Sentra/SE-R/Spec V Owner's Manuals can be downloaded here:

    If you read the section on fuel recommendations in each, you'll see that the Altima 2.5 runs on regular but the Spec V requires premium. There are no mention of the standard SE-R and no mention why the Spec V requires premium.
  • th83th83 Posts: 164
    My local dealer, Superior Nissan of Charlotte, is selling everything currently on their lot for invoice price. The catch is that it has to be on their lot, which is very limiting. I saw on their inventory list that they have a couple of SE-Rs and if those are selling for invoice(which I highly doubt), I might have an SE-R by this weekend! I need a new car for college and this might be just the break that I need. I would prefer an Altima but it looks like they only have base 2.5S models with little options(gotta have a sunroof!).I'll probably go take a look at what they have on Thursday or Friday. The deal ends Saturday though.
  • 93fsu193fsu1 Posts: 97
    When is the last time anyone actually used one?

    I can remember using mine on my P.O.S. I drove in high school, because I had no A/C, but almost every car comes with a/c now and you actually get worse mileage by opening the roof and windows instead of using the a/c.

    So who uses the sunroof?
  • amazing2uamazing2u Posts: 67
    I have one on my Maxima and had one on my last car too. Up here in Canada, it's not practical to have a convertible so this is a "poor man's" substitution. I actually LOVE to have sunlight over my head while driving in the winter time. :)

    Oh, and in the summer time, you can have wind in your hair! LOL! Like I said, a poor man's convertible.

  • lsclsc Posts: 210
    I use my sunroof all the time. I'm sure I can go without one but I use it for ventilation mostly in the spring, fall and summer after the sun goes down.

    There are 4 cylinder engine that require premium. The Honda Prelude - says 'premium unleaded fuel only'. Also, the Altima 3.5 SE only recommends premium fuel. It doesn't require it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Sentra's lesser fuel economy may have to do with shorter gearing. Much shorter, presumably, since it's also lighter.

    I use my moonroof even when it's cold. Put the heat on the floor and open the moonroof vent. The air circulates nicely, and you get fresh air without getting cold.

  • stebustebu Posts: 204
    That's the same kind of tricks I used to use when driving sans top in my old RX7 convertible. I'd extend the cruising season by running the heat with the side windows up or, in the heat of the summer, I'd blast the AC to maintain my cool demeanor (for those that have never owned a one, a convertible gets d**n HOT on a warm summer day when you're not moving fast enough). I mean is there anything more uncool than being stopped at a light with the top down in your freedom machine when pulls up along side and looks over... and you're sweating like a spent lumberjack;-)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Miata's top is down if it's 40 degrees or warmer. The heater cranks, and I wear gloves and a hat if I must, but that top will go down.

    You guys think Nissan will bring on a 240SX convertible replacement?

  • elmoblatch1elmoblatch1 Posts: 134
    Just catching up on old posts & saw #3080 of yours.

    THANKS for the link to the Article.
  • 1969iggy1969iggy Posts: 17
    OK first let me tell you what i have... It is a 3.5 auto with everything EXCEPT the stupid wood (that i think screams"i am old") and leather seats.... Yes i know some will say i was stupid to pay 27K(sticker) for a car that has cheap plastic interior, but i like the interior. Plus i got a real good price on my trade in...

    It was made in November 2001.

    Let me first insert two TSBs that i am having trouble with. I have about 3K on the car and will get these taken care of at my 3,750 mile maintainence. It isn't worth bringing it in for these things alone...

    Make: NISSAN
    Model: ALTIMA
    Year: 2002
    Service Bulletin Number: NTB01073A
    Bulletin Sequence Number: 627
    Date of Bulletin: 11/01
    NHTSA Item Number: SB627437

    Make: NISSAN
    Model: ALTIMA
    Year: 2002
    Service Bulletin Number: NTBO2012
    Bulletin Sequence Number: 627
    Date of Bulletin: 01/02
    NHTSA Item Number: SB627808

    The radio (Bose) is only OK... not worth the money but you can't avoid it if you want a sun roof. It's nice to have the in-dash CD player (6-disc) but for the money i'd like a better system. The Value package CD player in my 99 Camry sounded better. And that didn't have bose speakers... The ignition coil noise is annoying, but i have been told they can fix it easy enough.

    The wind noise from the sunroof is very annoying when driving with a passenger, otherwise i just turn the radio up... That too should be easy to fix, but i'll let you know how these things get handles in about 500 miles...

    Also, the auto transmission isn't really that snappy. It slips a lot under hard acceleration. Kinda like it doesn't know if it really wants to shift. I am hoping this is something that can be fixed... if not i am going to be very unhappy. The one i test drove didn't do this.... and i beat the heck out of it becuase i had read that this was a problem....

    It isn't that great in snow IMO... not as good as the Camry, but then again i put tires on my camry that were all weather radials... the ones on the Altima now are relatively sporty... perhaps with tires better equiped for snow... ???

    The traction control is a waste IMO... when one tire is on ice and the other on dry pavement, the tire on ice will simply spin... WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF TRACTION CONTROL??? I KNOW IT IS ON, WHY ISN'T IT WORKING???

    Don't get me wrong, i love the car, but some of these things need to be fixed for me to be happy with spending 27K on it...
  • elmoblatch1elmoblatch1 Posts: 134
    Thanks for your post & the info-

    I am considering the purchase of a 2002 Altima S with an automatic & the ABS Package.

    My Brother in law was telling me about his 2001 Passat with the Turbo 4.....he's a VM man all the way, but say the car gets a little "loose" at the higher speeds due to the way the turbo works.

    Hoping to get the Altima at about $19, 3 dealers to work with by the end of May.
  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650
    Unfortunately, those are the chances you take when you buy a first year model, bugs are inevitable, that's why it sometimes pays to wait until the manufacturer catches and fixes the glitches.

    Good lucks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No biggie, if there is a TSB that means they already found a fix. Plus, if it were serious, or safety related, it would have been a recall.

This discussion has been closed.