The Nissan Altima is available as a four-door midsize sedan or a two-door coupe. A hybrid version of the sedan is also sold in some markets. Compared to related Nissan models, the Altima is a powerful step up from the Sentra, but it is not considered as luxurious as the Maxima. It has a reputation for being sporty and stylish, while also a practical choice for families and others who rely on factors such as safety and performance.
The Nissan Altima was designed in the U.S. and is manufactured primarily in the U.S. and Japan. Both the 2.5 and 2.5S models have 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engines, while the 3.5SR boasts a V6 engine. There is a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) on the sedan and a six-speed manual transmission or optional CVT on the coupe. The two available coupe models are the 2.5S and the 3.5SR. All of the Nissan Altima trim levels are considered average in terms of fuel economy, as well as for having satisfactory seating capacity and cargo room.
The Nissan Altima sedan has gone through several generations. It debuted in 1993, replacing the Stanza as Nissan's compact sedan. It was not until the 2000 model year that significant changes were made to the Altima, such as adding more horsepower, upgrading the wheels and improving the steering. The third generation Altima (2002-2006) brought more space and stylish upgrades that were well received by critics and consumers alike. Joining the growing market for more energy-efficient vehicles, the Altima hybrid was introduced in 2007. For those drivers who prefer a sportier look without sacrificing consistent performance, the coupe, with its two doors and smaller interior, debuted in 2008.
Luxury features are plentiful on both the Nissan Altima sedan and the coupe. However, while the baseline model might be too plain for the critics, many of the desirable options are bundled in packages with extras that the consumer may not need. Two other common complaints are that it has a cheap-looking interior and limited back seat space. Most people are willing to overlook such details, though, when given luxury options that make up for these minor flaws. Popular option packages include advanced technological features such as a backup camera and a sophisticated sound system.
The Nissan Altima consistently receives awards and accolades from the industry. It was voted the 2002 North American Car of the Year at Detroit's International Auto Show and it received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) five-star, front-impact, crash safety rating in 2010. Along with its assurances of safety, the Altima's sleek style and reliable performance make it a top competitor in its class.
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