Last post on Apr 20, 2011 at 8:41 PM
You are in the Nissan Altima
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Nissan Altima, Sedan
#1387 of 4962 checked out one
Sep 22, 2001 (11:27 pm)
I just cruised around and found this topic. Nice topic, indeed. I have not been able to read through the 1,000+ posts, but I'd like to contribute a bit to it. Apologies if my findings have been reported here before.
I went to a local Nissan dealer to check out the new Altimas. I was told there are 4 trim levels - 2.5 (base), 2.5S, 2.5SL and 3.5SE. I saw the S (with cloth), SL (with leather) and SE (with cloth) models. Nice, very cool looking design from the outside. The SL stickered at 25K, with leather, 6CD changer and moonroof. The price, though on the high side, kinda fitted the car, somehow. The 3.5SE had a sticker of $25,127, without leather but with curtain airbags, and the Bose with 6CD changer. I had to drive this one. The dual exhaust did it for me over the SL model. I just loved the 3.5SE.
Quick points I noticed right away: The cloth interior of the SL looked cheap and on the thin side. Reminded me very much of my 1996 Altima I sold earlier this year. I can see that this would wear out real quick. There was some plastic cladding around the door which looked cheap as well. I didn't particularly like the dash with the oval-shaped tach, but I can live with it. Otherwise, everything else looked good. OTOH, the cloth interior in the SE is of much better quality than the one in the SL. Much much better, imo. Otherwise there was no noticeable interior difference bwteen the 2.5 and the 3.5. The exterior dual exhaust of the 3.5 was a deal breaker for me. I simply loved it, mated to the sleek 17" wheels and sport-tuned suspension on the 3.5. Uhmmmm... sweet...
I took the SE out for a test drive. Came with 5-speed, my kinda car. The engine was very peppy, alive and very very quick. By now you all can tell I like this car. On the highway, I went up to 80 and it simply soaked the speed up. I took it off O/D and watched the rpm climb and the car take off.... Oh my... wished the CHP were on strike so that I can take this car for a real long spin as fast as I could go..... This engine would win you over, I don't care how cheap the interior looks and/or feels. It sure did it for me.
One negative note: Maybe it is my imagination here, but i feel the doors didn't close with a real thunk. They kinda felt light. On the Camry, you can feel the solidity of the doors; they close with a thunk that inspires confidence. Not on the Alty, though.
I will like to close on a positive note: The sales guy demo-ed the remote keyless entry on the 3.5 for me. It was nice to see you can not only open all the doors with a click, but also lower the two front windows with a push of a button. Similar to the rear trunk door on my '01 Seqouia, where you can lower the rear window by holding down a button on the key fob. I thought the design of the Alty fob was very nicely done, as well.
Finally (geez, too long already, but please bear with me for a tad longer), I decided to compare the performance with a '01 Maxima SE Anniversary Edition (fully loaded with everything). The Max looked every bit a solid and very refined car. This car felt very familiar in my hands. Though peppy, the 3.0 is no match for the 3.5L engine. Clearly, Nissan outdid themselves with the new 3.5L engine, and I can only say that they have a winner, once again, with this engine.
To close: Just MHO, the Maxima is a more solidly built car than the Alty, but the latter is a far better-looking car. And, for looks and engine only, I'd buy the Alty at sticker, and enjoy it for a long time.
Good luck to you all, especially those who are undecided. To current owners, I'd say you have a nice gem in your hands and do not feel bad you paid sticker price.
Sep 23, 2001 (10:51 am)
should have compared it against a 2002 Max SE.
Sep 23, 2001 (12:39 pm)
the 2.5S has cloth, not the 2.5SL, it comes with leather only.
#1390 of 4962 Minivan Maxima
Sep 23, 2001 (1:08 pm)
When I looked at the Altima the salesperson tried to push the huge row of '02 Maximas on his lot. Took a quick look under the rear suspension of one. Same old non-independent beam axle found in basic minivans. Why would anyone want a serious sport sedan that has such a cheap, space-saving, utilitarian rear suspension? New Altima fixes that problem as will the next generation Maxima. I remember the early 90s Maximas that had the right engine, transmission, and fully independent suspensions. Car mags raved. Then Nissan went cheap and the Maxima just became another powerful FWD car without all the right stuff to be a real sport sedan. Too bad. But Altima shows Nissan learned from that mistake!!!
Infiniti did the same thing when they switched to next generation G20 in 1999. The '89-'96 G20 had the fully independent suspension and the later platform went cheap beam axle. Where the first generation got FWD handling raves, no one mentioned favorably the 2nd generation G20s handling. Infiniti isn't making this mistake with the upcoming G35. RWD, serious power, and fully independent suspension.
#1391 of 4962 Road Noise?
Sep 23, 2001 (1:25 pm)
I am interested in trading my boring Camry and getting a cure, so I was interested in the 2002 or 2003 Altima.
Can anyone tell me about the road noise of this car? I am not really serious right now, so I dont want to test drive it, yet..
Can anyone compare the road noise of the 2002 Camry and 2002 Altima? Thanks!
Sep 23, 2001 (1:26 pm)
I'm currently shoping fo a car and I will probably take the Max over the Altima. Why?
Because of the quality in the Max. I don't realy car about the rear suspension. The test drive in the Max was good and comfy. It's a minor fault compared to the carpet AND built quality of the Altima.
I test drove one (altima 3.5SE) yesterday. I was impressed with the road handling BUT was not with the wind noise. Upon further inspection, I noticed that a seal around the windshield was STICKING OUT!!! Very unimpresive in a car that price. It makes me wonder what else they scr!# UP.
Max= Built in Japan.
Altima= Built in USA.
#1393 of 4962 Maxima beam axle
Sep 23, 2001 (1:28 pm)
I definitely agree with you about the beam axle of the Maxima being a huge turn-off. I would buy a Maxima right now if it weren't for the rear suspension, since it's difficult to get an Altima at a reasonable price and Maximas are selling at or below invoice.
Everything I've read says that the Altima outhandles the Maxima by a large amount. That combined with the looks of the Altima has convinced me to wait until dealers are willing to deal on the new Altimas. Hopefully, it won't take too long.
Incidently, I think the reason Altimas aren't moving from some dealer lots is because they won't sell below sticker. The 2002 Camry can be had for close to invoice already!
#1394 of 4962 Depends Upon What You Are Shopping For
Sep 23, 2001 (1:36 pm)
I'm looking for a serious all around affordable sport sedan. Comfy ride is way down on my list of desires. If I want that, then a $20,000 Taurus can deliver in spades. Or I can pay $30,000 for an Avalon. But if I want that sport sedan, then suspension is critical. I can't wait to see what Nissan does with the next generation Maxima. They'll fix the primitive rear and keep her competitive with Altima.
Sep 23, 2001 (2:26 pm)
By that I meant that the rear was not hoping all over the place.
Problem is, I was not that impressed with the Alti. I can get the Altima 3.5 SE for 22,000$US (FULLY LOADED) or the Max for 24,000$US (FULLY LOADED). those dollars are converted from Canadian prices. It IS a great car but, like I said, I was disapointed with a couple of things:
- Carpet tickness: My Mazda 626 has ticker capret and beter fibers.
- Wind noise: How could they not see the piece of ruber (foam?) sticking out of the right handside windshield???
- Leather: Good quality but feels weird to the touch (not as smooth as the Maxima leather)
The Maxima has it's shortcomings to (like you said, suspension ), But the resale value IS there with a max. Not so sure with the Altima (new model?).
In the end, for around the same price, I think I will choose the Max.
P.S.: Rumours has it that the next Maxima (2003,2004) will be a full size car with V8 and ALL-WHEEL DRIVE (freshalloy forums)!