3.5 litre V6 is the engine of choice for earlier Altima models
When it went on sale for its redesigned 2002 iteration, the Nissan Altima became larger, more striking and more powerful than ever. Set on becoming the sportiest sedan in its class, it was available with optional V6 power, numerous packages and upgrades, and a responsive new Nissan ‘FF-L’ chassis.
The larger new-age Altima model carried on until the end of 2006, when the current car hit the market with an even more powerful engine lineup and a new platform. Used family-sedan shoppers after a powerful and fun-to-drive package should definitely put the last-generation Altima at or near the top of their list of prospective test-drives.
Altima came with a 2.5 litre, 175 horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic could be specified, and a sunroof, CD-changer audio system, leather trim and power seats could be had as well. Other up-level features included heated mirrors, automatic lights, tilt and telescopic steering and a universal garage door opener.
Optionally available was Altima’s new 3.5 litre V6 engine, which was rated at 240 to 250 horsepower depending on the year in question. Altima models with the V6 engine got dual exhaust and a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. All Altimas were front wheel drive.
Note that a rare high-performance Altima SE-R model may appear in the used market, too. Built off of the V6 Altima, it added several visual and performance upgrades, including larger wheels and a slight horsepower boost to 260.
Nissan’s nomenclature has more basic Altima models designated with an ‘S’ badge, while mid-range models area given an ‘SE’ trim level. Shoppers after a fully-loaded package are looking for an Altima in the SL trim level.
Countless Altima owners have taken to online forums to discuss what they like and dislike about their vehicles-- as well as their ownership experience.
As expected, most owners say the Altima’s performance, responsiveness and power hooked them after a test-drive, and that they still enjoy these attributes today. Exterior styling is also a strong point, as is the up-level Bose stereo. Finally, most Altima owners in this generation say the car is roomy, comfortable, easy to enter and exit, and easy to see out of.
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